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African policymakers advised to invest in science, technology and innovation for labor market competitiveness

3 March, 2021
African Policymakers Advised to Invest in Science, Technology and Innovation for Labor Market Competitiveness

Brazzaville, 03 March 2021 (ECA) - The African labour market is marked by skills mismatch, especially in the informal sector. One out of every three working-age persons in Africa lacks the necessary skills to secure a decent job or achieve high productivity. 

To address that challenge, a call to build the capacity of higher learning and technical schools as institutions that must be leading in science, technology and innovation was made at the ongoing seventh session of the African Regional Forum on Sustainable Development (ARFSD) which is being held from March 1 to 4, in Brazzaville (Congo).

Ms Christina Duarte, Special Adviser on Africa to UN Secretary‑General said that science and technology is an enabler that has proved efficient in turning the COVID-19 disruptions into opportunities and to strengthen the human capital.

According to Hubert Gijzen, UNESCO Regional Director for Southern Africa, almost 50 per cent of university graduates in Africa fail to get a job that corresponds to their studies. 

Gijzen said that creating a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship among the students, the necessity to invest in quality education in science and technology and the need for collaboration are all important address the problem of the labour market. 

“We need to put the best brains together and to share knowledge and information to overcome the immense challenges we are facing”, he noted.

Ms Hendrina Chalwe Doroba, Division Manager, Education, Human Capital and Employment at African Development Bank Group (AfDB) said that there is a critical need for policymakers to ensure that we have the right skills needed if we are to actively contribute to the development of the sustainable solutions of our continent.

“The COVID -19 pandemic intensified the need for Africa to invest in science and technology and innovation for the continent to be able to develop homegrown solutions for our local challenges” explained Ms Doroba.

Ms Wilhemina Quaye, the Director for the Science and Technology Policy Research Institute of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research in Ghana stressed the need to have a very strong youth and gender perspective in thinking and planning as science, technology and innovation are mainstreamed in all the sectorial policies. 

Ms Quaye said that science, technology and innovation could be leveraged as an answer to address most of the developmental challenges on the continent if adequate financing and effective coordination between the private sector and research institutions are in place.

Experts were discussing at a roundtable panel on leveraging science, technology, innovation and digital transformation for a resilient and sustainable recovery from the COVID-19 crisis and realising the decade of action in Africa was organized 


Issued by:

Communications Section

Economic Commission for Africa

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Addis Ababa


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