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15.04.2007 General News

Invest to prevent brain drain - African leaders urged

By GNA

African leaders have been urged to put in place attractive incentive packages for scientists in order to revert the current brain drain that has plagued the Continent.

Mr Venancio Massinge, Mozambican Minister of Science and Technology said this at the end of the two-day stakeholders consultative workshop on Higher Education Science and Technology in Accra at the weekend.

"We need to reward and improve the conditions of service of scientists on the Continent so that they would stay in their respective countries and contribute in the revolution of science and technology."

He stressed: "If appropriate policies are put in place we would be able to revert the brain drain and change that to brain gain. "

The workshop organised by African Development Bank (ADB) in partnership with the Association of African Universities (AAU) workshop attracted 60 participants drawn from the Continent.

They deliberated on the role of institutions of higher education in matching the demand and supply for skilled workers and other topics like: "Reinvigorating Higher Education and Promoting Economic Growth," "Co-ordinating Regional Approaches in Higher Education, Science and Technology Capacity Building," and "Designing Policies to Revert Brain Drain."

Mr Massinge expressed regret that the Continent is largely contributing to the training of most scientists who are poached by the developed nations, which he said did not augur well for the growth of the Continent.

He said India, which used to be one of the poorest nations of the world had advanced in Information, Communication and Technology and attributed the feat to Indian scientists who decided to return home and support the development of science and technology.

Mr Massinge lauded countries that are devoting percentages of their Gross Domestic Products and budgets for Science and Technology Education, and said it was worthy of emulation.

He suggested the need for Africa to explore atomic energy, which has a lot of benefits including energy and water supply, agricultural and health purposes.

"We need to look at renewable energy and waves of our water bodies as sources of energy for our people," he said.

Mrs Zeinab El-Bakri Vice President of ADB who chaired the function, expressed optimism that the contributions offered by the stakeholders would assist the Continent to revitalise higher education, science and technology.

She said contemporary technologies presented higher education with the largest plat form to disseminate knowledge to a large number of people.

Mrs El-Bakri said distance education techniques were also providing increased access to learning opportunities at all levels.

“We should aim for the establishment of higher education systems that are harmonised across the Continent in terms of qualification frameworks, quality bench marks and equivalency measures, which will contribute to regional integration."

Prof Akilagpa Sawyerr, Secretary-General, AAU suggested the need for the Continent to draw up programmes that are aimed at hunting for human resources abroad.

Source: GNA

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