Rwanda, World Bank host science, technology forum

The Government of Rwanda and the World Bank are co-hosting a high-level forum on Higher Education for Science, Technology and Innovation in Kigali this week.

World Bank says that as Sub-Saharan Africa develops, it is estimated that the continent will need millions of engineers just to reach a single Millennium Development Goal, that of access to safe water and improved sanitation. However, there is a serious shortage of engineers—and also of scientists, health professionals and technicians—in nearly all of Sub-Saharan Africa’s 48 countries.

To help address this gap, the Government of Rwanda, a champion of science and technology, and the World Bank, one of Africa’s largest partners in higher education, are co-hosting a high-level forum on Higher Education for Science, Technology and Innovation in Kigali this week.

Themed Accelerating Africa’s Aspirations, the forum brings together senior representatives from governments, academia, development partners and the private sector. They will discuss priorities and solutions as part of a “big push” to upgrade higher education systems across Africa, making them more relevant to the needs of its fast-growing economies.

H.E. Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda, and Makhtar Diop, World Bank Vice President for Africa, will address public sessions of the forum today. Rwanda’s Minister of Education, Hon. Vincent Biruta and fellow ministers participating in the forum from Ethiopia, Mozambique, Rwanda, Senegal, and Uganda will announce a Call for Action on behalf of the participants, signalling high-level attention to the transformation of African economies through greater access to high-quality education in science, technology- and mathematics-based disciplines. Speeches and high-level panel discussions will be livestreamed through the day at www.livestream.com/worldbankafrica

“What we are gathered here to do has profound implications for young people in Africa,” said Tawhid Nawaz, World Bank Director for Human Development in Africa, addressing ministerial delegations and technical experts today. “Essentially, young people can take advantage of economic opportunities only if they have the right knowledge and skills.”

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