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Ban Ki-moon Stresses Role Of Sci-Tech In Africa

Ban Ki-moon stresses role of science and technology in Africa's development

Marking Africa Industrialization Day today, United Nations officials stressed the importance of science, technology and human resources in supporting the continent's efforts to alleviate poverty and achieve sustainable development.

"One of the most effective channels for eradicating poverty, creating wealth and enhancing competitiveness is through the acquisition, adaptation and application of relevant technologies," said Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in his message for the Day.

He noted that although Africa is endowed with abundant natural resources and many African countries have recently experienced sustained economic growth, the continent is "still lagging behind other regions" in attempting to reach the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) - the set of ambitious global targets to slash poverty, hunger, disease and illiteracy, all by 2015.

"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," he added.

He urged support for the various efforts aimed at harnessing science and technology in support of the attainment of the MDGs in Africa.

In his message on the Day, General Assembly President Srgjan Kerim drew attention to the recent announcement by the World Bank that African economies are now growing at the steady rates needed to reduce poverty and attract more foreign direct investment. But he pointed out that Sub-Saharan Africa's share of world industrial output remains stagnant at less than 1 per cent.

"The underlying reasons for this should be addressed, including the continent's infrastructure gap and cost of doing business, which can be two to three times higher than Asia," he said.

The General Assembly President also emphasized that industrial development everywhere should be environmentally sustainable. "There is clearly a need for greater innovation to develop affordable low-carbon technologies" to address climate change, he said.

He called for a renewed commitment "to sustainable economic growth and development in Africa through industrial and technological development, technology-transfer, trade and investment, so that the continent might be able to attain the MDGs by 2015."


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