Africa is a continent with a booming customer base, aspirations for entrepreneurship, and indigenous innovation. However, a crucial sector for economic development in Africa, science and technology development has long been underfunded and ignored in many of the continent’s nations. Some economists believe that the continent’s underdevelopment is partly due to the widening technological and scientific divide between Africa and the rest of the globe (Mutume, 2022).

As a result, the heads of state on the continent have vehemently advocated for the allocation of funding to enhance scientific and technological developments in their nations and revitalize higher-level education. Additionally, many multinational corporations consider Africa an ideal location for the next wave of scientific investment and innovation.

The topic of science and technology development for sustainable economic growth was heavily debated after the summit of the political body of Africa in January 2007.  This essay will go into great length regarding the reasons behind the underdevelopment of science and technology on the African continent, as well as the solutions to this problem.

Firstly, the development of science and technology is underfunded in the African continent. Though it produces 2.3% of the world’s gross domestic product, Sub-Saharan Africa only accounts for 0.4% of the world’s research and development spending (R&D) (Dickson, 2022). Since it boosts all economic sectors, the field of science and technology development might need additional support. It would benefit from a sustained ramp-up and consistent investment. Following this, heads of state “seriously urged” all AU nations to devote at least 1% of their GDP to research and development by 2020 during a summit of the continent’s political body in January 2007.

Second, the majority of African nations have inadequate literacy rates. While it might seem evident that nations that disregard higher education cannot excel in science and technology, many African nations have been doing just that (Tasamba, 2022). Rural residents, guardians of indigenous knowledge, students, academic researchers, and business and government representatives contribute knowledge and ideas to this revolution. Therefore, it is advantageous if everyone involved has the knowledge and skills to complete this activity.

African nations have adopted a strategy to advance the advancement of science and technology through the establishment of solid institutions dedicated to the production and application of knowledge, the development of Africa’s talent pool, the creation of supportive policy environments, and the embracement of nurturing, and exploitation of regional diversity. Additionally, it has committed to rebuilding modern laboratories and technical schools aimed at knowledge creation and application to revive African institutions, many of which have fallen due to declining funding over the past few decades.

Another significant obstacle to advancing science and technology in Africa is brain drain or the exodus of highly qualified individuals to other regions. Due to the opening of global employment marketplaces, skilled workers can now migrate from their home nations to places where their abilities are in high demand (Ngwe’, 2022). The departure of some of the continent’s greatest brains has highly negative impacts that limit our ability to advance in the science and technology sector.

However, African nations are implementing remittance policies that, at any cost, are proving futile as long as governments do not combat the primary causes of emigration. Also, attempting to reverse the brain drain and increase brain circulation can open the door to new kinds of collaboration, paths for African nations’ growth, and forms of influence that can benefit from global socialization.

Another obstacle to developing science and technology on the continent is the shortage of women in science. Women and girls continue to participate in STEM at the worldwide average rate in Africa. The persistence of gender inequality prevents women and girls in science from realizing their potential and making a meaningful contribution to solving development problems (Nzuve, 2022). Due to the scarcity of female scientists, it is challenging to address issues of gender and the reality that women bear the burdens of climatic disasters frequently and disproportionately.

In addition, because there are so few women in leadership roles in academic and research institutions, their ability to set priorities for research agendas is severely hampered. Additional funding should be directed into the training and mentorship required to pursue leadership roles in science occupations if women and girls fully participate in STEM fields. Furthermore, it is crucial to create a climate at work that helps STEM employees balance their personal and professional lives.

The scientific revolution in Africa must begin from the ground up. More than just fervent pledges from heads of state are required if Africa is to develop a sustainable science and technology infrastructure. In many of the forums, there is a lively discussion of suggestions from all across the continent for how this might be accomplished.

The heads of state are also working to establish the circumstances required for effectively incorporating science and technology into development policies and reviving tertiary education. Additionally, a growing number of multinational corporations are beginning to view Africa as an ideal location for the next wave of scientific innovation and investment.

References:

Dickson, D. (2022). Retrieved 8 July 2022, from https://www.scidev.net/global/editorials/africa-s-scientific-revolution-must-start-at-the-roots/#:~:text=Africa%27s%20scientific%20revolution%20must% 20start%20at%20the%20roots,than%20just%20enthusiastic% 20promises%20from%20heads%20of%20state.

Mutume, G. (2022). Africa aims for a scientific revolution. Africa Renewal. Retrieved 8 July 2022, from https://www.un.org/africarenewal/magazine/october-2007/africa-aims-scientific-revolution.

Ngwe’, L. (2022). African brain drain: is there an alternative?. UNESCO. Retrieved 8 July 2022, from https://en.unesco.org/courier/january-march-2018/african-brain-drain-there-alternative.

Tasamba, J. (2022). African countries push for higher literacy. Aa.com.tr. Retrieved 8 July 2022, from https://www.aa.com.tr/en/africa/african-countries-push-for-higher-literacy/1618099#:~:text=Literacy%20rates%20in%20African%20countries%20are%20estimated%20at,in%20 the%20Ethiopian%20capital%2C%20Addis%20Ababa%20last%20May.

Nzuve, L. (2022). Women in STEM: Promoting women’s participation in science in Africa. SEI. Retrieved 8 July 2022, from https://www.sei.org/featured/women-in-stem-promoting-womens-participation-in-science-in-africa/.

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