Brazzaville, 27 February 2021 (ECA) – The just-ended third African Regional Science, Technology and Innovation Forum (ARSTI2021), which was held in the Congolese capital and online, saw several innovative young Africans, among 200 who took part in a bootcamp, create software projects and print objects in 3D.
They learned basic techniques in Science, Technology and Innovation (STI), artificial intelligence and robotics.
Convinced that young Africans were more interested in social sciences, the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), UNESCO, and other partners initiated the bootcamp to arouse interest in scientific and technological careers among young people on the continent.
It is a question of imparting practical knowledge to the youths, so as to let them easily find professional niches in the future, according to the Executive Secretary of the ECA, Ms. Vera Songwe.
"The STI sessions remain important for girls and boys, because if they are the ones who would find an effective cure for malaria tomorrow, it would be a relief for the whole continent," she said.
Ms. Songwe encouraged exchanges between knowledge institutions and African universities to mobilize the entire continent around developing STI.
During the four-day bootcamp, young innovators, mainly from African high schools and universities, linked theory to practice.
After the training, many succeeded in creating software and printing objects in 3D.
"I am now able to create big data software that allows the management of telephone, banking, Internet and other data," said Claude Candide Moukala, a student in Master 2 mathematics.
Training young people in STI is also seen as essential by Salah Khaled, who heads the Central Africa Office of UNESCO.
“The bootcamp brings together young people to give them pre-requisites. The ultimate idea is to generate enthusiasm among these young people for scientific professions so that they become ambassadors of STI in their respective environments," he noted.
Congo hosted ARSTI2021 after Morocco in 2019 and Zimbabwe in 2020. The country will chair this Forum until 2022.
The Congolese government hailed the efforts of partners, in particular ECA and UNESCO for their involvement in STI training for young people who represent the future of the African continent.
For Martin Parfait Aimé Coussoud Mavoungou, Congolese Minister of Scientific Research and Technological Innovation, “STI will play a decisive role in creating conditions conducive to the rapid transition of our countries to the status of emerging economies, and constitutes a driving force for achieving the sustainable development goals.”
"Higher education institutions and public and private research organizations are essential to reach the stage of innovation required to enhance productivity, the development of value chains and competitiveness," he said.
Mr. Coussoud Mavoungou recognized the private sector as "a key partner in making STI an effective and sustainable instrument for the development of Africa".
The Forum allowed participants to also discuss how STI can help the continent to achieve the sustainable development goals and Africa’s Agenda 2063.
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