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Science, Technology, and Innovation in Africa

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Catalysts to Reshape Africa's Sustainable Development Trajectory

WASHINGTON - Amzeal -- According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) Economic Development Report for Africa (2021), thirty-four percent (34%) of African households are poor, living in some of the world's most unequal societies with a regional Gini index of 0.40. According to the report, several African Union Member States have yet to develop efficient ways to support long-term growth and raise living conditions for the majority of citizens who remain impoverished. The present rise of the 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR) holds immense potential for improving Africa's sustainable development trajectory by creating more employment opportunities and promoting a level of entrepreneurship that reduce poverty.

According to the Brookings Institute's Foresight Africa report of 2020, mobile technologies and services have created 1.7 million direct jobs, both formal and informal, contributing $144 billion in economic value or 8.5 percent of Sub-Saharan Africa's Gross domestic product (GDP), and $15.6 billion in tax revenue to the government. From the above, it is important to highlight the report findings that digitisation has solved information asymmetry issues in both the financial system and labor market. As consequence, this  has resulted in an increased efficiency, certainty, and security in an environment where information flow is vital for economic growth and job creation.

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Against this backdrop, investing in Science, Innovation, and Technology (STI) is critical for Africa to achieve both Agenda 2063 and the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development. This is more evident as far as research and development is concerned for being one of the three segments of science and technology in addition to education and training as well as scientific and technological services. Research and innovation aim to boost the continent's socio-economic development in the current knowledge-based and innovation led-economy. Consequently, investing in STI is a prerequisite for moving forward with the implementation of frameworks like the Science, Technology, and Innovation Strategies for Africa (STISA-2024) and the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) among others, which promote the attainment of both continental and global development goals.  STISA-2024 supports a target pledged in the Lagos Plan of Action of 1980 requiring to all AU member States to spend at least 1% of their GDP to research. This should also entail capacitating national science and technology commissions and councils, including other institutions that operate as performers of research across African Union member states to keep up with the changing digital environment brought on by 4IR.

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Seleman Yusuph Kitenge - AUDA-NEPAD)

Source: www.manchesterglobalsolutions.com
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