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African states pledge investments in science, tech to hasten growth  

NAIROBI, (Xinhua) -- Governments across the Sub-Saharan African region will devote more resources towards science, technology and innovations as a means to realize growth and transformation, officials said on Wednesday.

Senior African policymakers and scholars who attended the 4th Partnership for Skills in Applied Sciences, Engineering and Technology (PASET) forum in Nairobi stated the continent’s future prosperity hinges on robust investment in applied sciences, vocational training and home-grown innovations.

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta in a speech read by his Deputy William Ruto stressed the role of science, technology and innovations to hasten sustainable development in Africa.

“This continent has the capacity to leapfrog to new heights of economic growth and inclusive prosperity if we channel additional investments to applied sciences, engineering and technology,” Kenyatta said.

Kenya is among nine African countries that are signatories to PASET, an initiative launched in 2013 with the support of the World Bank to promote skills development in the fields of science, technology and innovations.

Bilateral partners that support the continental initiative to promote applied sciences and engineering include China, Japan, Korea, India and Brazil.

Kenyatta said that developing a critical mass of trained personnel in sciences and engineering will help address Africa’s pressing challenges like poverty, disease and ecological depletion.

“We must promote vocational training and scientific research in order to address skills deficit that hinders industrial progress in this continent,” said Kenyatta.

“Long-term solution to endemic poverty, joblessness, infectious diseases and natural resources-based conflicts lies in harnessing technology and innovations,” he added.

The Kenyan leader hailed renewed commitment by African governments to promote science, technology and innovations in line with the Continental blueprint on socio-economic transformation.

“It is high time we prioritize regulatory reforms and investments in infrastructure that enables innovations to flourish,” said Kenyatta adding that Kenya has set aside 150 million U.S. dollars this financial year to equip technical and vocational training centers.

African governments and their bilateral partners are committed to strengthening the scientific and technical capacity that is critical to accelerate industrial progress.

Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for education, Dr Fred Matiangi said that investments in vocational training alongside critical disciplines like applied sciences, mathematics and engineering will stimulate economic growth in Africa.

“This continent has an opportunity to sustain the current economic growth trajectory by harnessing an under-utilized scientific and technological potential,” Matiangi added.

Multilateral institutions are keen to play a central role in the advancement of scientific and technological revolution in Africa.

The Vice President of Human Development at the World Bank, Keith Hansen said that skills development, infrastructure and visionary leadership are key to revitalize technological progress and innovations in Africa. 



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