In our everyday life, we eat science, breath science, and consumed science. Every of what we do has to do with science. The calls we make, mails we send, business we transact, the cars we drive and checking up on our health has to do with science. We can’t deny the vast importance of science and technology in carrying out our daily tasks.
The greatest catalyst for development is the art of science and technology; without which it would be impossible for humans to make an impact on society. Africa as a whole, has been finding its way into tech, most especially has it has to do with improving lives and eradicating poverty. Policy makers are beginning to accept science and technology as one of the paradigm shift needed to implement strategies and birth innovations. Central to Africa’s future growth prospects is the role of science, technology.
Evidence in the economic literature indicates that science, technology and innovation play a significant role in economic growth. Robert Solow in seminal work in 1956 suggested that the determinants of growth are attributed to capital formation, labour, and a composite including managerial skills and organizational culture that he referred to as “technology.” Increased investments in information and communications technology (ICT) have led to improved quality of capital and labour.
With the advent of Science and Technology, people now work directly from their homes using computers, which allows convenience and creates additional income streams for households. Science and technology have improved business operations by automating processes such as payments, electronic money transfer and record keeping.
Through innovations, we now have self-driving cars on our roads which experts believe will make our roads safer and help an ageing population remain independent. While this will help reduce transport-related emissions, it will also benefit those who can’t currently drive because of poor eyesight, epilepsy or some kind of physical impairment.
In urban planning, Science and Technology have improved traffic control by allowing several roads to be viewed and controlled from a single screen. Technology has been integrated into security and law enforcement using surveillance technology, which makes the society more secure. In South Africa, for example, the government was one of the first to use technology to keep track of people. In Kenya, social justice engagement has dominated the digital space.
With so much happening in the African market place, one would have expect homegrown African technology innovations to be adopted by government and corporate organizations but sadly, we keep importing foreign technologies that hardly address the nation’s fundamental problems. It is therefore imperative for policy makers to encourage entrepreneurs by creating an enabling environment that will encourage programmers in science and technology to build innovations that tend to address local problems. Through this, there will be more job opportunities for young people and also contribute to the nation’s growing economy.
In March 2017, WAAW Foundation built a Wind Mill from pipes and motor. This is the organization’s latest invention in promoting homegrown technology and ending the importation of STEM kits.
“I came up with this invention through thorough research. The design passed through series of trial and error before I finally recorded success,” said Christiana Iyaseme, STEM trainer and Operations Manager for WAAW Foundation. Christiana is a First Class graduate of Chemical Engineering from Delta State University, Nigeria, and a WAAW Scholar in year 2004.
“This stunning innovation is in line with WAAW Foundation’s mission to end the importation of our STEM training kits and start manufacturing ours in Africa,” explained Dr. Unoma Okorafor, Founder and CEO of WAAW Foundation.
Critically, it is important to ask if Africa has really faired in promoting science and technology as observed in developed countries. In Nigeria, many government offices are stacked with paper files and it takes a long process for documents to get authorization of the Director General. African leaders, business owners must begin to take a clue from developed countries to study and implement strategies and innovations needed to move the continent forward.
Noting the important role of Science, Technology and Innovation for Africa’s development agenda, the 23rd Ordinary Session of African Union Heads of State and Government Summit, in June 2014, adopted a 10-year Science, Technology and Innovation Strategy for Africa (STISA-2024). The strategy is aimed at supporting the AU Agenda 2063 which has science, technology and innovation as enablers for achieving continental development goals.
As noted by Joseph Atta-Mensah in “The Role of Science, Technology, and Innovation in Africa’s Growth ” many changes are taking place in science and technology policy across the globe. Africa should not stand idle. It has the potential to leap frog and therefore all measures must be taken for Africa to be abreast with the latest scientific findings.
African countries should increase their efforts in improving measures towards scientific advances and technological progress, to spur economic growth and social change.