UNECA chief urges Africa to tap into tech, innovation

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UN Economic Commission for Africa’s (UNECA) Executive Secretary, Vera Songwe, has called on African countries to tap into the potential presented through science, technology, and innovation as Africa’s blueprint for accelerated development.

The UNECA chief called for the establishment of an African Technology Development and Transfer Network to spur innovation and accelerate development on the continent, according to a UNECA statement released on Wednesday.

An African Technology Development and Transfer Network could identify emerging technologies, anticipate needs and encourage the sharing of knowledge across the continent, Xinhua news agency reported citing Songwe.

“We need to build sound scientific, technological and innovation foundations to enable science, technology and innovation to deliver. As we have witnessed recently, many of our countries needed support to build capacities to test for Covid,” she said.

“As global supply chains collapsed, Africa’s over-reliance on imported medical supplies left the continent vulnerable in many aspects, and Africa was forced to innovate,” Songwe added.

The UNECA co-hosted the 4th Africa Science, Technology, and Innovation (STI) Forum ahead of the eighth Africa Regional Forum on Sustainable Development (ARFSD8), slated from March 3 to 5 in Kigali, Rwanda under the theme “Building Forward Better: A Green, Inclusive and Resilient Africa Poised to Achieve the 2030 Agenda and Agenda 2063”.

The Africa STI Forum, which is a collaborative multi-stakeholder forum on science, technology and innovation for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), established pursuant to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development as part of the Technology Facilitation Mechanism.

The mechanism was established under the Addis Ababa Action Agenda and was launched by the 2030 Agenda to support the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals.

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