The global development paradigm is shifting to knowledge-based economy which requires the creation of a critical mass of knowledge producers and users. Many African countries have fast growing economies supported by natural resource reserves and growing youth population of 60%. Africa’s capacity to compete on the global market depends on her ability to innovate using science engineering technology and innovation (SETI) to transform its natural and human resource capability into value added goods, processes and services. This requires harnessing the potential of its youth through education and skills training and high level research and innovation to create a critical mass of experts in STI and providing equal opportunities and shared prosperity for both men and women.
Evidence abounds that there are few scientists and engineers in Africa compared to other developing economies such as Malaysia with even fewer being women (UNESCO Report, 2013). The low participation of young people in SETI can be attributed to low investment of governments in higher education and S&T universities, obsolete, non-responsive and non-market oriented curricula thus limiting employment opportunities, and low remunerations for scientists and engineers among others. The post 2015 sustainable development agenda reiterates the importance of STI for sustainable economic development and shared prosperity. And it is imperative for Universities to develop market oriented curricula to enhance youth employability, and create the critical mass of experts to drive Africa’s sustainable socio-economic transformation post 2015. Issues of challenges and opportunities of gender in science will be deliberated on and recommendations made for action.... READ MORE