KIGALI, March 26 (Xinhua) -- Scientists attending the Next Einstein Forum (NEF) global gathering 2018 in the Rwandan capital Kigali on Monday said science and technology have to be at the driving seat for Africa to achieve accelerated social and economic development.
They made the remarks while speaking at the opening of NEF conference, held from March 26 to 28. The conference focuses on highlighting the contributions of Africa's scientists and innovators to the global scientific community.
"Africa should not stand idle in the wake of global technological advances. Science and technology has the potential to build vibrant social and economic growth on the continent," said Thierry Zomahoun, president and chief executive of the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS).
He said Africa should not only be consumers of global technology, but also inventors and managers of technologies.
African governments should focus more on investing in science, technology and research coupled with required infrastructure such as road network, research and technology incubation centers as well as electricity rollout among others for technological innovation to thrive, said Zomahoun, who is also the chairperson of NEF.
African countries should increase their efforts in improving measures towards scientific advances and technological progress, to spur economic growth and social change, according to Johannes Fruehauf, president and executive director of U.S. based biotechnology facility LabCentral.
Advancement in technology will help Africa to break down the barriers to social and economic change, said Lucy Quist, president of African Institute for Mathematical Sciences' Ghana branch.
The most serious challenges hindering the development of science and technology in Africa include inadequate infrastructure and lack of strong political will to promote science and technology, she said.
Adequate math and science proficiency is a prerequisite for a nation to attain high-income status and the gains in health and well-being go along with it, said Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda.
Launched in 2013, NEF is an initiative of the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences in partnership with Robert Bosch Stiftung, a German charitable institution, which serves as a platform to connect science, society and policy in Africa and the rest of the world.