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

During the seventh African Regional Forum on Sustainable Development (ARFSD) convened on 1-4  March 2021 in Brazzaville, Congo, a roundtable panel was held to discourse how to harness science, technology, and innovation (STI) to promote a resilient and sustainable recovery from the COVID-19 crisis in Africa. During the roundtable, policymakers called for the development of higher education and technical schools as institutions to leverage science, technology, and innovation. According to the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Regional Director for Southern Africa Hubert Gijzen, ‘We need to put the best brains together and to share knowledge and information to overcome the immense challenges we are facing.’ He further elaborated on the importance of buttressing a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship among students and investing in quality education in science and technology to tackle labour market challenges. Other participants stressed on the youth and gender perspective in designing STI in the different sectoral policies. It was also pointed out how adequate financing and effective coordination between the private sector and research institutions could help STI address most of the developmental challenges in Africa.