11.01.2018 - UNESCO Office in Harare

Zambia hosts consultative meeting on harnessing STI for socio-economic transformation

Zambia’s Ministry of Science, Technical Education and Vocational Training in collaboration with UNESCO Regional Office for Southern Africa (ROSA) hosted a two day consultative workshop on “Harnessing the Power of the Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) for Sustainable Socio-Economic Development in Zambia”. The workshop ran from 18-19 December 2017 in Lusaka, Zambia.

It brought together experts in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields from Universities, Government and the corporate world and relevant stakeholders and policy makers, to exchange ideas and identify niche areas for capacity development and mobilizing Science, Technology & Innovation (SETI) for Zambia’s sustainable development and socio-economic transformation.

Mr. Chongo, the Chief Officer for Science, delivered a key note address on behalf of the Permanent Secretary for the Department of Science and Technology. He stressed that Zambia needs STI to leapfrog its development and the need to promote the participation of more female scientists in the development agenda.

UNESCO ROSA Senior Programme Specialist for Sciences, Dr. Peggy Oti-Boateng concurred with Mr. Chonga and pointed out the low uptake of STEM subjects in universities as a cause for concern.  She encouraged higher education institutions to make STEM more salable.

The workshop raised pertinent issues on STI in Zambia. Central to the discourse was the need to create a stand-alone Ministry for Science and Technology to drive the STI agenda. Emphasis was also placed on the need for:

  • Credible data to stimulate political commitment, inform decision making and trigger well-placed investments towards the science, technology and innovation development agenda.
  • Increased investments in research and development as well as technology transfer to successfully implement the transition to a robust agricultural economy that promotes value addition through agro processing, marketing and productivity.
  • Foster sub-regional cooperation with countries such as Malawi and Zimbabwe in order to drive a collective development agenda.
  • The Ministry of Higher Education to create STEM schools and promote more enrolments and uptake of STEM disciplines.
  • Policy makers to look at countries within Africa that Zambia can partner with and learn from in terms of the strategies they have used to develop, for example how Zimbabwe developed its infrastructure.

The workshop was attended by Prof Mwase, the Vice Chancellor of the University of Zambia, Prof Simunkanga, the Director General of the Higher Education Authority and Dr Ndakala, the Secretary General for the Zambia National Commission for UNESCO among other participants.

For more information, please contact p.oti-boateng(at)unesco.org; t.murenga(at)unesco.org or m.munamati(at)unesco.org.

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