First Africa Forum on Science Technology and Innovations in Nairobi / “Africa on the Move – Showcasing Africa's Innovations”
PARIS, France, March 28, 2012/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- The first Africa Forum on Science, Technology and Innovations will take place from 1 to 3 April in Nairobi. Hosted by the Government of Kenya, it will include an Experts' Meeting (1 - 2 April) and a Ministerial Conference (3 April), and will highlight the need to invest in this key sector to foster sustainable growth and development and provide job opportunities for youth and women.
The Forum will look at achievements made in this domain across the continent, highlighting best practices and policies. It will also seek to reinforce North-South and South-South cooperation, partnerships between the private and public sectors and cooperation between institutions of higher education
The event is organized by UNESCO with the African Union Commission (AU), the African Development Bank (AfDB), the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), the Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA) and the Kenyan Ministry of Higher Education Science and Technology.
Participants include experts, scientists, decision makers, youth, academics, representatives of the private sector and civil society. They will address subjects such as the need for graduates to have the skills required by employers, how funding can be increased for African research and development, and innovative ways to improve youth employment
The Ministerial Conference will be opened by the President of Kenya, Mwai Kibaki, the Director-General of UNESCO Irina Bokova, the President of the African Development Bank Donald Kaberuka, the Chairperson of the African Union Commission Jean Ping and the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa Aboulie Janneh.
According to UNESCO's Science Report 2010, research and development (R&D) in Africa attracts significantly less public funding than other sectors such as education or health. Only some 0.3% of GDP is dedicated to R&D on average across the continent. This is seven times less than the investment made in industrialised countries.
The Report shows that education is another obstacle. Access to higher education remains limited, and in 2008 enrolment was below 4 % in one country out of four. Moreover, the report observes that brain drain is severely affecting the continent: in 2009, the Network of African Science Academies estimated that at least one-third of Africa's scientists and technology graduates were living and working in developed countries.