“Science, technology and innovation as well as human resource development are critical in Africa, a continent, which has the biggest potential on earth”, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said at the Science and Technology in Society (STS) forum held in Yokohama, as part of TICAD 7.
Established in 2004, the Forum aims at strengthening cooperation between Japan and Africa in science, technology, and innovation.
“South Africa endorses the focus on science, technology, and innovation as a priority theme for TICAD 7, given its great potential to accelerate African development through mutually beneficial partnerships with Japan, South-African President, Cyril Ramaphosa told participants. “The STS forum has successfully changed global discourse on the role of science in development, we seek the forum’s support in changing the discourse on the role of Africa in science and innovation,” concluded.
“Let’s be visionary. Let’s be bold. Let’s support concrete initiatives to boost science, technology, and innovation in Africa,” Akinwumi Adesina.
Akinwumi Adesina, president of the African Development Bank Group, shared insights on the Bank’s work and support to train and develop the next generation of scientists. Since 2005 the Bank has provided financing of over $2 billion to support education, resulting in educational opportunities for 6 million students.
“We are proud of our investment in supporting the establishment of the Regional Center of Excellence in Kigali in conjunction with the Carnegie Mellon University, which is providing world-class Masters degree training in ICT. I am delighted that all the students that have graduated from the university have 100% employment, including setting up their businesses,” said Adesina.
The Bank has supported the establishment of ICT digital parks in Senegal and Cape Verde and is working with the Rockefeller Foundation, Microsoft, Facebook, LinkedIn and Safaricom to establish coding centers in several countries.
Adesina offered some key areas to prioritize in science and technology, including the establishment of regional centers of excellence; the urgent need to increase the share of GDP devoted to science and technology and close the gender gap in higher education.
“Let’s be visionary. Let’s be bold. Let’s support concrete initiatives to boost science, technology, and innovation in Africa,” he concluded.
Ministers for Science and Technology, Ambassadors, executives of international and national Agencies and business in Africa and Japan also attended the Forum.
TICAD 7 runs until 30 August in Yokohama, Japan.