People are seen near water containers in Barmil in this recently taken handout photo released on July 21, 2011. A wide swathe of east Africa, including Kenya and Ethiopia, has been hit by years of severe drought and the United Nations says two regions of southern Somalia are suffering the worst famine for 20 years, with 3.7 million people facing starvation. In the village of Barmil, people wait for water because their wells are dry. They are dependent on donations and a water truck which comes and fills the town water tank up. Many walk 6 hours each way to fetch water. REUTERS/Jakob Dall/Danish Red Cross/Handout (KENYA - Tags: ENVIRONMENT HEALTH) FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS. MANDATORY CREDIT

Deputy Director-General, Technology Innovation at South Africa’s Department of Science and Technology, Mr. Mmboneni Muofhe, has said that African states needed to sharpen their policies to create real jobs to drive economic growth.
Speaking at the Africa Regional Forum on Sustainable Development (ARFSD 5) that took place Tuesday at the Palais des Congrès de la Palmeraie in Marrakech, Morocco, Muofhe stated: “We need to sharpen our policies for inclusive education that can create real jobs that can drive growth at a much higher rate than what we are currently experiencing; and we need partnerships with the private sector if we are to go to that next level.”
The session raised opportunities for scaling up actions considering the role of STI in accelerating efforts to achieve the SDGs under review by ARFSD5. These SDGs are: SDG 4 (quality education); SDG 8 (decent work and economic growth); SDG 10 (reduced inequalities); SDG 13 (climate action); SDG 16 (peace, justice and strong institutions); and SDG 17 (partnerships for the Goals).
The high-level meeting was largely agreed that Africa will not make much progress if it does not change its education curricula to meet current technological trends; does not reskill its youth and use them as its driving force for development, especially through STI.
Africa, he said, has a long way to go to ensure inclusive development and that no-one is left behind by development hence need for governments to embrace new technologies to leapfrog.
Ethiopia’s Science and Education Minister, Mr. Afework Kassu Gizaw, said his country is working hard to become an industrial powerhouse in Africa, backed by strengthened economic and communications technology policies.
He shared with participants what his country is doing through its National Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) Policy to invest in STI infrastructure and youth innovation through relevant, quality education, among other programmes.
Egypt’s Deputy Scientific Research Minister, Yasser R. Abdel-Fattah, also spoke about his country’s efforts through scientific research and innovation to achieve sustainable development.
Egypt seeks excellence in higher education and scientific research, he said, adding his country was aiming to be one of the best 30 economies globally by 2030.
“We aim to be a creative and innovative society producing science, technology, and knowledge, within a comprehensive system ensuring the developmental value of knowledge and innovation and using their outputs to face challenges and meet national objectives,” said Mr. Abdel-Fattah.
African Institute for Economic Development and Planning (IDEP) Director, Ms. Karima Bounemra Soltane, said Africa needs to tap into opportunities provided by STI to create new opportunities for its populace, especially its youth, if it is to create new jobs that can foster growth and ensure there is sustainable development.
Participants noted that government policies on the continent were increasingly recognising the role of science, technology and innovation in accelerating sustainable development but much more needed to be done.
The African Science, Technology and Innovation Forum, organized by the Department of Science and Technology of the Government of the Republic of South Africa and the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), allowed participants to discuss how STI can help the continent to achieve sustainable development and Africa’s Agenda 2063.

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