|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Secretary-General, in message, stresses importance of science, technology in Africa’s
efforts to alleviate poverty, achieve sustainable industrial development
Following is UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s message for Africa Industrialization Day, observed 20 November:
The theme of this year’s observance of Africa Industrialization Day is “Technology and Innovation for Industry -- Investing in People Is Investing in the Future”. It underscores the importance of science, technology and human resources in supporting Africa’s efforts to alleviate poverty and achieve sustainable industrial development.
Africa is endowed with abundant natural resources and, in recent years, many African countries have experienced sustained economic growth. Yet the continent is still lagging behind other regions in our global endeavour to reach the Millennium Development Goals -- our common vision for creating a better world for all in the twenty-first century.
At the midpoint in the race to achieve the Goals by 2015, many African countries are not on track to halve extreme poverty, reduce maternal mortality, reverse the spread of AIDS and reach the other development targets. And due to lack of capacity to transform much of its raw materials into finished products, Africa continues to export its resources with little or no value added, leading to loss of job opportunities. Where value is added, these African products are subject to many tariff and non-tariff barriers in the major Western markets.
One of the most effective channels for eradicating poverty, creating wealth and enhancing competitiveness is through the acquisition, adaptation and application of relevant technologies. The New Partnership for Africa’s Development, under the auspices of the African Union, is making commendable efforts to provide a high-level platform for developing policies and setting priorities on science, technology and innovation for Africa’s socio-economic transformation.
Africa’s Science and Technology Consolidated Plan of Action, endorsed by the African Union earlier this year, is an important step forward. The challenge now is to move forward with implementation. That means improving infrastructure for research and development and increasing the number of scientists, technicians and engineers on the continent. It means improving regional cooperation and building strong political and civil society constituencies supporting the promotion of science and technology in Africa.
On this Africa Industrialization Day, let us reaffirm our commitment to supporting the various efforts aimed at harnessing science and technology in support of the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals in Africa. The United Nations system, including the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, will continue to support these efforts.
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