By Patricia Kapulula
Malawi President Peter Mutharika has emphasized on the need for African countries to promote lifelong learning opportunities for its people in science and technology to support the Africa-Must-Industrialize-Agenda.
He made the remarks in Lilongwe on Saturday when he opened the First Extra Ordinary Summit of the Committee of 10 Heads of State and Government (C10) Championing Education, Science and Technology in Africa.
He said for Africa to develop there is need for right education and skills in science and technology through adequate and sustainably financed education, sector in the long term.
Mutharika noted that education in Africa should be reviewed by changing what the current set up in the sector.
“The Africa we have today is the product of its education systems or our lack of the same. We can change Africa by changing what we do in education,” he said.
The Malawi leader observed that Africa needs education, science and technology to support the Africa-Must-Industrialize-Agenda and promote the three factors of production.
He pointed out that there are three factors of production in the education such natural resources, capital and labour which need to put into use.
The Malawi leader observed that Africa needs to turn these assets into capital and as such, education, science and technology are needed to empower people to be productive forces of progress.
“Labour as a factor of production will take us to African industrialization which demands a skilled labour force. We need to cultivate scientific, technological and innovation skills,” he said.
African Union Commission (AUC) Commissioner for Human Resources, Science and Technology, Prof Sarah Anyang Agbor said Africa needs to put in place concrete measures that would harness the demographic dividend in science, research, technology and innovation.
“We need to explore opportunities that would advance development in line with the Agenda 2063,” she said.
Agbor appealed to the private sector to be well represented in this field by offering internship programmes in science and technology in order for the continent to see positive changes.
Prime Minister of Senegal, Mahammed Boun Abdalla Dionne said there is need for Africa to create a science and innovative society in order to promote such issues at the continental level.
“Africa needs to invest in science and technology in areas where these exist. We need to give resources to translate ambitions into reality,” he said.
Dionne observed that countries could not progress in their development efforts without significant increase in scientific production hence the need to invest in science, technology, research and innovation.
The Senegalese Prime Minister bemoaned funding levels in the education sector saying it poses a threat to the development of science and technology.
“Investing in education and training is vital but then constraint is funding and this is a major challenge. If we are to progress in science and technology, there is need to invest in this through adequate funding,” he said.
Prior to the heads of State and Government Summit, Ministers of Education met on Friday whose meeting prepared the groundwork for the President’s meeting.