Experts call on African countries to invest in R&D for sustainable growth
Leaders and experts have called on African countries to invest in research and development if the continent is to realize sustainable development, industrialization and economic diversification.
Experts who spoke at the fifth African Science, Technology and Innovation Forum held on Sunday and Monday said many nations had underfunded research and development.
Antonio Pedro, acting executive secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa, or ECA, said the allocation for R&D was just 0.5 percent of GDP in most African states. Many countries have fewer than 100 researchers per million inhabitants.
Pedro said investing in research and development would harness technology for a green, inclusive, and resilient Africa.
"To build on the innovative spirit, we need to strengthen the enabling environment through informed policies, increase investment in R&D, and harness the support of the private sector more effectively," he said.
Emma Theofelus, Namibia's deputy minister of information and communication technology, agreed that African countries should increase funding for R&D, particularly in science, technology and innovation.
Jean-Paul Adam, ECA director for technology, climate change and natural resources management, described science and technology as the catalysts of innovation. He said countries need to upscale what they are doing in these areas in the context of Africa.
"We must have human capital development linked to the diaspora to transform innovation in Africa and leverage the opportunity provided by the African Continental Free Trade Area," Adam said.