KIGALI, Aug. 23 (Xinhua) -- Scientists have called on African governments to increase investments in science and technology to break the cycle of poverty as Africa focuses on achieving Agenda 2063.
They made the call on Tuesday during the first annual regional science and technology meeting in the Rwandan, Capital Kigali.
It focuses on developing a guiding framework for the development and application of science, technology and innovation to accelerate the socioeconomic development in the region.
Agenda 2063 is the African continent approach to effectively learn from the lessons of the past, build on the progress and strategically exploit all possible opportunities available to ensure positive socioeconomic transformation within the next 50 years.
Rwanda hosts the forum from August 22nd to 26th under the theme: "Science, technology and innovation for socioeconomic development, regional integration and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals."
It has brought together scientists, scholars, international research partners, policymakers and entrepreneurs, and civil society, from Africa and beyond.
"African governments should consider investing massively in science and technology in order to achieve tangible social and economic transformation on the continent," said Gertrude Ngabirano, executive secretary of East African Science and Technology Commission (EASTECO).
"In the developed world, countries that have invested in education, science and technology have managed to break the cycle of poverty," said Ngabirano.
She told the meeting that the entire continent of Africa is blessed with rich resources, but due to inadequate knowledge in science and technology, resources remain largely unexplored leaving Africans in dire poverty.
The meeting organized by EASTECO, Rwanda's National Commission of Science and Technology (NCST), and the Science Granting Councils Initiative in Sub-Saharan Africa (SGCI) will provide a platform to participants to share knowledge on how to transform Africa using the power of science and technology.
According to Ignace Gatare, Director General of Rwanda National Commission of Science and Technology, science, technology and innovation can provide answers to the challenges of the global technology evolution.
"Africa still lags behind other regions of the world when it comes to the development of science and technology but it can be overcome with clear vision, commitment and firm determination," he added.
Gatare called for a critical look at regional and international cooperation for implementing collaborative science and technology projects.
The meeting highlighted a number of critical challenges facing the development of science and technology in Africa, including low science and technology capacity, low investment in research, poor infrastructural development and a lack of access to helpful scientific ideas.
Emilia Afonso Nhalevilo, vice-president of Africa engagement, Southern African Research and Innovation Management Association (SARIMA), called for the need for science and technology to be more gender responsive as Africa is yet to fully exploit the great potentials of using science and technology as an engine of growth and development.
"Science and technology in Africa is largely dominated by males, we need to support the inclusion of females as African governments increase their spending on science, technology and innovation," she said.