The Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) capacity building workshop opened in Pretoria on 4th December 2019.
The workshop aims to further reinforce capacities of policy-makers of SADC countries in formulating and analysing effective, inclusive and gender transformative STI policies and also increase knowledge and awareness among SADC Parliamentarians on the importance of STI in advancing socio-economic development and growth.
Speaking at the opening, UNESCO Regional Office for Southern Africa Science Specialist, Martiale Zebaze-Kana, who was representing the Regional Director for Southern Africa, Hubert Gijzen, said it was high time to unleash Africa’s full potential.
“It high time we unleash Africa’s full potential – by investing in science, technology and innovation with the aim to eradicate poverty, and to push the rich natural, mineral, human and cultural resources of the continent higher up in the value chain, thus generating economic growth, jobs and prosperity for all people in SADC,” he said.
He reiterated UNESCO’s commitment to continued cooperation in STI promotion for SADC’s sustainable development.
African governments are increasingly recognizing the need to invest in STI capacities in order to respond to the continental and regional socioeconomic challenges they face and to achieve sustainable development goals (SDGs). A clear demonstration is the adoption by the 23rd Ordinary Session of the Assembly of African Union Heads of State and Government in June 2014 of the STI Strategy for Africa -2024 (STISA-2024).
The global Agenda 2030 and African Union (AU) Agenda 2063 provide an opportunity for member states to revise or develop robust STI policies in meeting the targets and aspirations through harnessing the power of STI. The SADC Protocol on STI of 2008 has now entered into force with its overall objective to foster co-operation and promote the development, transfer and mastery of STI in member states.
Building on the SADC Parliamentarians and the High Level Capacity Building Workshop in STI Policy and SDGs held in Pretoria last year, UNESCO in partnership with SADC Secretariat and SADC Parliamentary Forum and South Africa’s Department of Science Innovation organized this three-day capacity strengthening workshop for parliamentarians and policy-makers to strengthen inclusive and gender transformative STI systems in SADC countries.
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