AFRICAN ministers have come up with a Cairo Declaration which has committed various important things for the betterment of continent, particularly youth.
According to Reuters, the Declaration was announced at the end of the Forum on science, technology, and innovation which held in the Egyptian capital of Cairo this week.
At the opening session of the meeting, attended by the President of Egypt, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, African Ministers, researchers and partners, the African Development Bank (AfDB) President Akinwumi Adesina said: “Africa needs to promote a culture of innovation driven by Africa’s youth.”
AfDB said in a statement that the Forum pledged to support the development of an African Education Fund to attract sustainable financing in collaboration with the African Development Bank, the Islamic Development Bank, and other financial institutions.
It said 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 start-ups.
The Declaration also committed to design and adopt policies that support 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.
“AfDB 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,” said Oley Dibba-Wadda, Director of Human Capital, Youth and Skills Development at the African Development Bank.
“The Bank will continue to work together with partners to help position STI at the center of policy dialogue.”
On her part, Sarah Anyang Agbor, African Union Commissioner for Human Resources, Science, and Technology said the Cairo Declaration would help reframe and re-orient the regional body’s programmes and policies.
“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,” she said.
She regretted that, despite the promise by Africa’s leaders to increase research and development expenditures to at least 1percent of Growth Domestic Product, many were still not yet committed.