AFRICAN countries’ inability to use science and technology to drive development is worrisome, say the continent’s higher institutions’vice-chancellors VCs. How developing nations can harness science, technology and engineering to fast-tract development was the focus of their discussion at the just-concluded sixth African Regional Conference of Vice-Chancellors and Deans of Science, Engineering and Technology (COVIDSET) held at Nike Lake Resort in Enugu State.
The University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN) hosted the conference. It became the first institution in Nigeria to organise the event since the group was founded in 2005 by the African Network of Scientific and Technological Institutions (ANSTI), with the support of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).
In his address, the UNN VC, Prof Benjamin Ozumba, said the event was timely, given the efforts by various countries to join the global race in science, technology and innovation.
“This effort will be realised by joining hands in collaborative projects both within Africa and with those of other nations of the world”, he said.
The VC praised the ANSTI’s Governing Council for giving the UNN an opportunity to host the biennial conference. He said the objective of the event would be achieved if African leaders and policy makers could implement the recommendations made by experts at the previous conferences.
In his remark, chairman of ANSTI’s Governing Council and former VC of University of Nairobi in Kenya, Prof George Magoha, emphasised the need for African governments to invest more in science and technology to engender even development across the continent.
For Africa to attain the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Magoha said there was need for its leaders to prioritise science, technology and engineering education as major driver of economy and development. He expressed confidence that discussions at the conference would yield measurable development outputs.