The third edition of the 2018 Africa STI Forum has kicked off in Egypt on 10 February 2018. The event is co-organized by the African Development Bank (AfDB) as well as the Egyptian Government. The theme chosen for the 2018 edition is "Enhancing the competitiveness of the African private sector and transforming Africa through science, technology, and innovation."
The second edition of the Africa STI Forum took place in 2014 in Morocco and it saw 19 Afrikan Ministers of education, science, technology and innovation in attendance as well as more than 300 participants attending the event.
For the 2018 forum, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi will attend the opening ceremony on 10 February 2018 along with the President of the AfDB, Akinwumi Adesina, and the Egyptian Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, Khaled Abdel Ghaffar. According to the AfDB, the event will give priority to innovation in five areas selected for their great potential to boost and transform the economies of Afrikan countries, namely:
- Climate change
- Pharmaceutical industry
"It is now clear that science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) are crucial, both for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and African Development Bank's High 5 development priorities and for stimulating economic growth and leading to the transformation of African economies. STEM subjects have enormous potential and future prospects for the creation of employment and wealth – an opportunity to be seized by an Africa facing high rates of youth unemployment. However, the continent lags behind other regions in science, technology, and innovation. Although it has 13.8 million students, fewer than 30 percent of them are taking STEM courses," reads a statement from the AfDB announcing the 2018 Africa STI Forum.
It is hoped that the Forum, like many have pointed out before, will not just be a "talk shop" and will result in tangible post-Forum execution and possibly policies to be implemented by various Afrikan governments in support of advancing science, technology and innovation in their respective countries.