Africa needs innovation, academics

ACADEMICS and experts in research from across the globe are meeting in Victoria Falls to try and find solutions to industrial and technical problems facing Africa as a continent.
The University of Zimbabwe (UZ) organised the first ever conference dubbed Africa Conference for Research, Innovation and Development (ACRID 2017), with speakers drawn from across the whole continent.

UZ organised the conference, in partnership with an international professional association based in Belgium, European Alliance for Innovation (EAI), whose bias is on research in science and technology as well as supporting innovation.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development Professor Francis Gudyanga on Tuesday gave a keynote speech where he said Africa faces a serious challenge of brain drain hence the need for innovation to develop human capital.

“Africa currently faces a serious flight of skills ‘brain drain’ and possible answers to this problem could be investment in capacity building and teaching models that utilise modern communication technologies as well as linking north and south,” said Prof Gudyanga.

He called for a multi-disciplinary approach to find solution to the problems and application of innovation in industrial production in the continent, whose majority of population lives in poverty.

Research has shown that especially Sub-Saharan Africa lags in all sectors of the economy with 70 percent living in rural areas, without access to modern energy sources hence living in abject poverty.

Prof Gudyanga said Africa requires capacity building to reverse brain drain as well as promote innovation.
The theme for the conference is “Moving Africa forward through science and engineering, technology and innovation.”
EAI came into being in 2010 and now has 27 000 individual members. There are also more than 250 institutional members.

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