Research, Dev’t Key to Africa’s Industrialization & Economic Diversification: ECA

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Addis Ababa February 27/2023 /ENA/ Investing in research and development by African countries will deliver sustainable industrialization and economic diversification on the continent, says Antonio Pedro, Acting Executive Secretary Economic Commission for Africa (ECA).

This will enable the continent harness technology for a green, inclusive and resilient Africa, it was indicated.

Pedro was speaking at the opening of the Fifth African Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) Forum 2023, a side event ahead of upcoming 9th Africa Regional Forum on Sustainable Development (ARFSD) in Niemey, Niger, according to ECA.

The theme of this year’s Forum is “Accelerating development and diffusion of emerging technologies”.

 “To build on the innovative spirit, we need to strengthen the enabling environment through informed policies, increase investment in the research and development, and harness the support of the private sector more effectively,” noted the ECA acting executive secretary.

He added that Africa should be at the forefront of a green transformation to accelerate growth, diversify economies and deliver on the SDGs and Agenda 2063.

“One key opportunity for us lies in the renewable energy market. The value in this market in 2020 was estimated at 881.7 billion USD and is projected to reach 1,977.6 billion USD by 2030.”

He said that ECA and its partners have completed the STI Policy Design and Implementation Guide, which countries can use irrespective of the policy implementation cycle.

Director of the UNESCO Regional Office for West Africa Dimitri Sanga said for his part that to have open science in Africa, there is need to promote open access to publications and to scientific data, have transparency of peer review, and the participatory science.

“UNESCO has developed the recommendation on open science. This recommendation was adopted by Member States in 2021 and we are currently working with Member States for its implementation,” he said.

“I am optimistic about the results of our work, which should contribute fully to enable Africa to be a resilient, green and prosperous continent.”

Similarly, African Union Commissioner for Education, Science, Technology and Innovation, Mohamed Belhocine, said that digital skills, science and technology are important to build digital transformation in Africa.

Accordingly, the results of the two-day STI side event will feed into the work of the African Regional Forum on Sustainable Development that will begin on 28 February to 2 March in Niamey, Niger.

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