News

Africa Regional Science, Technology and Innovation Forum kicks off in Victoria Falls

Part of the delegates at the Forum

The second Africa Regional Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) Forum kicked off in the resort town of Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe on 24 February 2020 with calls for Africa to harness STI for sustainable development.

Officially opening the Forum, Zimbabwe’s Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development, Prof. Amon Murwira, said the importance of science, technology and innovation to human well-being is well known.

The main FOCUS is now on how to develop critical pathways or critical pipelines that make more persons and nations effectively apply Science, Technology and Innovation for modernisation and industrialisation
Minister Amon Murwira

He advocated for Heritage Based Education, Science and Technology Development as the anchor of innovation to deliver relevant goods and services.

..we are saying any new idea is useless unless it solves a real problem
Minister Amon Murwira

Speaking at the same event, UNESCO Regional Director for Southern Africa, Prof. Hubert Gijzen called for strong positioning of science as foundations for the successful implementation of the SDGs and the African Union Agenda 2063. He said there is need for action if the SDG targets are to be met. 

We need to address the severe capacity gap in engineering and STI on the continent,… we need to accelerate women’s participation in science and technology
Prof. Hubert Gijzen, UNESCO Regional Director for Southern Africa

While the World is moving into the 4th Industrial revolution, much of Africa still needs to reap full benefits from the 2nd and 3rd revolutions.

I believe it is high time for a strategy to leapfrog the continent by generating benefits from merging the implementation of the 2nd, 3rd and 4th industrial revolution in the continent. As such, Africa could save significantly on time and resources, by maximising opportunities, and by avoiding immensely expensive mistakes made by others in developing previous industrial revolutions in their continents
Prof. Hubert Gijzen, UNESCO Regional Director for Southern Africa
Learning from the Asian Tigers, I believe it is high time that we unleash the African lions. By investing in STI, R&D and education, Africa will be able to push the rich mineral, natural, cultural and human resources of the continent higher up in the value chain, and as such generate economic growth, jobs and prosperity for all Africans.
Prof. Gijzen

The second Africa Regional Science, Technology and Innovation Forum is designed to meet both the global and continental mandates. It serves as a platform for exploring and facilitating interactions, matchmaking, cooperation and partnerships among the relevant stakeholders, in order to drive technology development and transfer, and create regional innovation networks for co-learning and co-creation, and for sharing of experiences between and among multi-stakeholders. 

Furthermore, it provides a platform to identify and examine technology needs and institutional voids and gaps that should be addressed to enable African countries to fully harness and deploy science, technology and innovation to accelerate the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.