Last month’s 71st United National General Assembly (UNGA) meeting in New York brought together leaders from all over the world. A highlight of the gathering? The 4th Annual Global First Ladies and Business Summit, during which African Union Commission (AUC) chairperson Dr. Nkosana Dlamini-Zuma delivered an inspiring keynote address on the future of Africa. What did she have to say? Let’s take a closer look.
Supporting Growth in Africa
With Africa experiencing rapid growth and urbanization, it’s also in need of greater infrastructure across everything from health and transport to energy and education. Essential to this rising demand? Greater STEM training for the continent’s youth — particularly regarding the empowerment of girls and women.
Already, initiatives are underway to boost teaching and learning in this critical area. Last year, the AUC and the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS) joined forces to sign a Memorandum of Understanding prioritizing STEM education on the continent.
About Agenda 2063
Dr. Dlamini-Zuma’s speech was keenly aligned with Agenda 2063, “a global strategy to optimize use of Africa’s resources for the benefits of all Africans.” According to a report from The Herald, “Dr. Dlamini-Zuma “reiterated the importance of the infrastructure sectors and said that they require scientific, research and professional skills, at different levels, including entrepreneurship such that opportunities can be transformed into business ideas, based on the needs and markets in towns, communities and cities.”
One country lauded for getting it right? Zimbabwe, which has committed to paying the tuition and board of all public school students who register for STEM courses in 2016 as part of its overall objective of facilitating human capital. Said higher education minister Jonathan Moyo, “Available evidence supports the view that currently sustainable socio-economic transformation is driven by investing in STEM disciplines.”
Africa’s leaders insist that other countries must also make STEM investment a priority — not as a nicety, but as a necessity if Africa is to survive the challenges ahead.
Original post: Master Studies