Science, technology and innovation will be at the heart of Africa’s recovery from the devastating coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and the continent’s ability to create sustainable jobs, according to Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), Vera Songwe. In remarks at the beginning of a five-day virtual COVID-19 Africa Innovation and Investment Forum 2020, Songwe said Africa needs innovations to drive homegrown solutions out of the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic recession it has triggered the world over.
“We need investments in innovation, science and technology to understand how we can protect our citizens and also as a way of growing out of this crisis. STI will be at the heart of Africa’s recovery and its ability to create sustainable jobs that is why for a very long time ECA has been talking of the importance also of intellectual property rights to protect the innovations of Africa’s youth,” she said. Songwe said the current costs of IP registrations on the continent were prohibitive and not rewarding innovation. “This is not a strategy for growth,” said the ECA Executive Secretary, adding; “As we talk of science, technology and innovation, we also need to make sure that our policymakers ensure that our technological platforms are robust.”