African governments need to embrace S&T for development

Photo credit: SciDevNet

Mauritian president calls for embracing of S&T

“It is time to tackle mediocrity in science and technology.” – President Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, Mauritius

by Sam Otieno

Speed read

  • Sub-Saharan Africa produces only about one per cent of global research ouput
  • An expert has urged African governments and the private sector to support STI
  • A policymaker says R&D initiatives could help Africa address development issues

African governments and the private sector need to embrace science, technology and research for development, according to President Ameenah Gurib-Fakim of Mauritius.

In a speech Gurib-Fakim delivered during the launch of the Alliance for Accelerating Excellence in Science in Africa (AESA) this month (10 September) in Kenya, she noted that there are research and development challenges in Sub-Saharan Africa.

She said that a yawning gap in research capacity still exists in Sub-Saharan Africa, with the region accounting for less than one per cent of the world’s research output despite having 12 per cent of the global population.
“Our collective challenge is to reduce brain drain and accelerate brain gain because about one-third of qualified scientists and engineers who were born and trained in developing countries [have] moved to industrialised countries,” she said.  “Ten per cent of the total science and technology workforce in the United States is of foreign origin, while in Australia it is as high as 25 per cent”

Read the full article: SciDevNet

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Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.