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African leaders push for knowledge-based economy
2018/03/28

African economies need to transition to knowledge-based ones to sustain rapid economic development and growth, African leaders said here on Tuesday.

"It is common sense that there is no development if there is no science and technology. We want to base our economies on science and technology in order to have knowledge-based economies in Africa," said Macky Sall, president of Senegal, at a presidential panel of the Next Einstein Forum (NEF).

He said major advanced economies across the globe are knowledge-based, and have demonstrated that investing in technology, research and innovation lead to sustained growth and positive social and economic outcomes.

Rwanda hosts the March 26-28 NEF, which focuses on highlighting the contributions of Africa's scientists and innovators to the global scientific community.

Rwandan president Paul Kagame emphasized that a knowledge-based economy is the foundation of creativity and innovation which feeds into wealth creation and prosperity for all.

"In Africa we need to invest more in science and technology education for our young people to be able to invent and innovate. Knowledge-based economy is in line with the Africa we want," he said.

Africa needs to understand the role science and technology have played in shaping the future and prosperity of developed economies, said Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, South African minister of science and technology.

"If we want to reach a certain level of excellence, we need a very solid quality base of the education system that will propel Africa into knowledge-based continent," she added.

In June 2014, the 23rd Ordinary Session of the African Union (AU) adopted a Science, Technology and Innovation Strategy for Africa (STISA-2024).

The strategy banks on science, technology and innovation as enablers for achieving continental development goals and is part of a long-ranging plan to accelerate Africa's shift to an innovation-led, knowledge-based economy, according to the AU.

This year's NEF has brought together about 1,600 participants, including scientists, researchers, students, and government officials.

Launched in 2013, the NEF is an initiative of the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences in partnership with Robert Bosch Stiftung, a German charity institution, which serves as a platform to connect science, society and policy in Africa and the rest of the world.

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