UNECA calls for enhanced investment in science, technology to drive innovation


The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) has called for African countries to accelerate investment in science and technology to drive innovation on the continent.

Director of the Economic Commission for Africa Sub-regional Office for Southern Africa (SRO-SA), Eunice Kamwendo, said increased investment in science, technology and innovation was key to driving Africa’s growth and development.

Read more: Africa must not miss out on digital economy, time to act is now —UNECA Secretary, Pedro

She said science, technology and innovation promised significant and positive outcomes as countries move towards a more coherent knowledge society.

Kamwendo stressed that this drive should be supported with investments in human capital, creation of strong linkages and coordination among science, technology and innovation stakeholders.

She said this in is speech read on her behalf by Isatou Gaye Chief, Subregional Initiatives Section ECA Subregional Office for Southern Africa at the African Youth Sustainable Development Goals Innovation Award in Lusaka on Thursday.

This was held on the sides of the Fifth African Youth Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Summit .

Kamwendo said science, technology and innovation have a strong potential to drive sustainable development but only if backed by a strong entrepreneurial capacity.

“According to definitions of ‘invention’ and ‘innovation’, it is the capacity to introduce the product to the market and obtain paying customers that in the final analysis, count,” Ms Gaye said.

Nanko Madu, Director of Programmes at AfriLabs, noted the need to nurture youth-led entrepreneurship and enhance the capacities of the youths to harness science, technology and innovation to embrace new and emerging opportunities.

“Africa is at cross roads as it faces formidable challenges and unparalleled opportunities, with a rapidly growing population, a youthful demographic, and the imperatives of sustainable development at the forefront,” Ms Madu said

She added that there was need to harness innovation, empower the youth, and drive structural transformation as it was more pressing than ever before.

“We need a new breed of African entrepreneurs to allow the continent to overcome its challenges through STI – to resolve energy issues with solar powered solutions; to enhance access to medical services through telemedicine and new devices,” Madu said.

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