African leaders urged to help mobilise tech, science


Macky Sall, President of Senegal has urged African governments to remove restrictions within their science and technology ecosystems.

Speaking at the Next Einstein Forum (NEF) Global Gathering 2018 hosted recently in Kigali, Sall announced that his government is revising legislation which prevents foreign scientists and technical experts from teaching and conducting researches in the country's universities.

"Africa needs to change the laws that are bringing about various types of limitations. Science is not restricted, it is highly mobile and we should make legal provisions for mobility for African scientists since no science is restricted to somewhere," he said.

Rwanda's President and head of the African Union, Paul Kagame, added that efforts are being made at the AU level to address the various barriers that are restricting the free movement of scientists across Africa.

"This concept is similar to the recently launched African continental free trade market that aims to create one African market. We have committees working on coming up with approaches on how to also achieve this in the science and technology space," said Kagame said.

Rwanda has set aside 42% of its budget for education, the President added. He recommended African countries invest more in developing intellectual manpower to help the continent's technology and science landscape achieve goals.

Sall also revealed the various efforts that Senegal has taken in recent times to boost science and technology in the country including the 'One Laptop per Child' Initiative and the Virtual University project.

The Virtual University project is funded by a US$5.2 million loan announced by the African Development Bank (AfDB) in 2014. The project is an arm of an African Virtual University network involving Zambia, Senegal, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Mozambique and others. Its goal is to provide African students with greater access to higher education.