Harare, 12 February 2018 – Over 300 experts and government officials from across Africa, including the Executive Secretary of the African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF), Prof Emmanuel Nnadozie, are attending the Third Africa Forum on Science, Technology, and Innovation (STI), which ends in the Egyptian capital, Cairo, on 12 February.
Convened over three days (10-12 February) by the African Development Bank (AfDB) and its partners, the Forum’s overall objective is to accelerate investments in higher education, science and research in Africa as a way of contributing to the knowledge economy that drives today’s “fourth industrial revolution”.
The Africa STI Forum series is part of the implementation of the AfDB’s Ten-Year Strategy 2013-2022 and its Human Capital Strategy 2014-2018, both of which are key components ofthe implementation of the AU Agenda 2063 and the Strategy for Science, Technology and Innovation for Africa (STISA-2024). The Forum also plays a critical role in achieving the AfDB’s High Fives priorities.
This year’s Forum in Cairo is building on two previous ones held in Kenya (2012) and Morocco (2014). More specifically, it provides space for participants to (i) showcase experiences, products and ideas on best practices in promoting STI in Africa with lessons learned from industrialized countries such as Japan and South Korea; (ii) discuss evolving strategies and partnership frameworks for developing relevant STI programs through education systems and public private partnerships (PPPs) to leapfrog opportunities offered by the fourth industrial revolution; and (iii) generate political dialogue as well as new project ideas among STI policy makers, funding partners, and other stakeholders.
Apart from being one of the main speakers, the head of ACBF, Prof Nnadozie, was among a panel of distinguished experts that lauched the AfDB’s flagship publication, African Economic Outlook 2018 Report whose focus is on developing infrastracture to support inclusive and resilient African economies. Another ACBF official, Dr Thomas Munthali, the Director for Knowledge and Learning, was also the discussant of the third day’s plenary session on “Strengthening Regional Collaboration on STI, Education and Research Networks.”
ACBF took the opportunity to share its expertise and knowledge earned over its 27 years of existance on the importance of developing the requisite capacities for STI, in order to steer Africa’s industrialization and transformation. The Executive Secretary echoed the need for inclusive capacity building programs that seek to ensure that women and girls are equally capacitated and invloved in driving Science Technology and Innovation.
The Foundation took the opportunity to share with the imminent participants at the Foum the vast work it has done in fostering STI in Africa, especially with strong support for programs in universities and other institutions of higher learning, including the African University of Science and Technology (AUST) in Abuja, Nigeria. The university was established in 2007 following an appeal by South Africa’s then President, Nelson Mandela, to the World Bank and the AU to work together to create strong pan-African centres of excellence to improve the continent’s capacity in science and technology. AUST has the high honour of being the first to be established in the network of what is now known as the “Nelson Mandela African Institutes of Science and Technology (NM-AISTs)”. ACBF’s support to the university has been immensurable and has been in sync with the goals of the AfDB’s Africa STI Forum series.Africa’s industrialization is high on ACBF’s agenda. The Foundation recognizes STI as the fundamental driving force behind Africa’s pursuit for economic transformation from natural- resource-based development to innovation-led and knowledge-driven economic development. More importantly, the Foundation advocates for African States to strategically invest and develop the critical technical skills needed for Africa’s industrialization. This is with the understanding that without the necessary human capital, Innovation in Africa will remain an unfulfilled dream. The opening of the Forum was graced by Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah El Sisi, while Dr Akinwumi Ayodeji Adesina, the AfBD president, delivered the keynote speech.
Participants came from all across Africa, including ministers of higher education and scientific research, top officials from development partners, foundations, entrepreneurs, scientists, researchers, Regional Economic Communities (RECs), and representatives of Centers of Excellence.
ACBF also took the opportunity to showcase its work in buiding the knowledge and capacities in STI and express its readiness to continue coordinating efforts in this area as the specialised Agency of the African Union on capacity development.
For more information, please contact:
The African Capacity Building Foundation
+263-4 304663, 304622, 332002, 332014; Ext. 273
ABOUT the African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF)
The African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF), is the African Union’s Specialized Agency for Capacity Development.
Having spearheaded and robustly coordinated capacity development programs worth over 700 million US dollars across 45 countries and 8 regional economic communities (RECs) in Africa since 1991, ACBF has gathered the requisite experience that makes it the go-to institution for expert knowledge and human resources to advise and support African countries, regional economic communities and institutions on decisive steps to take to develop the practical skills urgently required for the continent’s economic transformation.
Evidence from our cutting-edge work (constituting hundreds of knowledge publications) and the work of several partners show that Africa's development efforts are being hobbled by severe capacity deficits often in the form of shortage of critical skills, deficits in leadership, inhibiting mindsets and weak institutions. The continent’s practical skills shortage is acute in key areas such as Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) and Agriculture.
At ACBF, we will continue using our unmatched track record in managing financial facilities for development, our vast knowledge gathering experience thanks to the exceptional skills mix of our core staff as well as our strong strategic partnerships and networks to help countries and institutions identify their capacity needs, advise them on how to plug these capacity weaknesses and on where to find the knowledge and resources to develop the requisite capacity resources, effectively use them and retain them to achieve their short and long-term development objectives.
ACBF’s vision is an Africa capable of achieving its own development.
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