During the recently held Africa Science, Technology and Innovation Forum held in Cairo, Egypt, various Afrikan Ministers and heads of delegations committed to supporting youth innovation on the continent. The Forum was held from 10 to 12 February 2018.
Some of the Afrikan leaders attending the Africa Science, Technology and Innovation Forum, which was organized by the African Development Bank (AfDB), explained this was in order to build tomorrow's society through innovation.
“The African Development Bank is prepared to work with African governments and partners to advance STI on the continent by playing a strategic role in raising awareness and strategically working with African countries on smart investments in STI for Africa's growth and competitiveness. The Bank will continue to work together with partners to help position STI at the center of policy dialogue,” said Oley Dibba-Wadda, Director of Human Capital, Youth and Skills Development at the AfDB.
At the opening session of the Forum, attended by the President of Egypt, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, African Ministers, researchers and partners on Saturday, January 10, the African Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina said that Afrika needs to promote a culture of innovation driven by Afrika's youth. Science, technology, and innovation are also expected to be high on national, regional and continental development agendas, according to the “Cairo Declaration” made at the end of the Forum.
“Our greatest potential is our people! Africa is in a position to harvest the fruits of a demographic dividend, especially the young population, whose energy, creativity and courage must drive Africa's development. Investing in their education, technical competences and training, therefore, remains critical to us,” said Sarah Anyang Agbor, African Union Commissioner for Human Resources, Science, and Technology.
The Declaration also committed to design and adopt policies that promote gender equality in education and higher education in Science, Technology, Engendering and Mathematics (STEM) in particular, and in student participation, teacher training, professional development, academic and administrative staffing, and research and development.
As part of their efforts to supporting youth innovation in Afrika, The leaders pledged to assist small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in innovative fields, such as electronics, computer science, automation, and telecommunications, by encouraging the private sector to develop platforms and incubators for startups.
The Africa Science, Technology and Innovation Forum was also supported by Korea, Japan among many other partners.