As African economies experience an upward trajectory in economic performance in recent times, a closer examination of the sources of this growth reveals Africa’s over-reliance on natural resources instead of on drivers such as science, technology and innovation. In contrast, these areas contribute sizeably to the growth of developed economies.
To turn things around, Africa must invest in research and higher education. Promoting science and technical learning must feature prominently on national development agendas. Before innovation-driven development can occur however, there needs to be a baseline of human capital capable of creating the knowledge required.
Unfortunately, the logical main contributors to Africa’s innovation-driven growth aspirations – the higher education and research sector (comprising students, academic / research professionals and institutions), is itself struggling and in dire need of attention. Challenges broadly range from financial, infrastructural, skills and competence-related, to inadequate support and policies from government, to mention a few.
In the midst of these challenges however, many examples of world class academic and research excellence abound in Africa. Many such cases of innovation and technological ingenuity exist from within the sector, from students, to academics and researchers and their institutions alike.
Whenever and wherever we come across such examples, we must celebrate and promote these research and academic heroes of Africa who are triumphing against the odds.
At Akada Network, we aim to celebrate such excellence and find solutions that address the challenges.