30 Jun 2016 20:30pm
By Esme Konstantinus
GABORONE, 30 JUN (NAMPA) Ministers responsible for Education, Training, Science, Technology and Innovation in the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) gathered here to deliberate on efforts to transform the regions economies and thereby, eradicate poverty.
Namibia is represented by Minister of Higher Education, Training and Innovation, Dr Itah Kandjii-Murangi, who is accompanied by her Permanent Secretary (PS) Alfred van Kent.
Other delegates include Deputy PS Raimo Naanda as well as National Commission on Research, Science and Technology (NCRST) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Eino Emvula.
When he opened the meeting, the Minister of Infrastructure, Science and Technology in Botswana Nonofo Molefhi said science, technology and skills development are key drivers of economic development and competitiveness.
As SADC we have already recognised that these are important facts in achieving sustainable and equitable socio-economic growth and poverty eradication.
The meeting was also aimed at guiding member states in the Implementation of the Revised Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP) 2015-2020 and Industrialisation Strategy (2015-2063) priorities in relation to education, training, science, technology and innovation.
Skills development, science, technology and innovation are among the strategic interventions of the region to remove the constraints of industrialisation.
The SADC Industrialisation Strategy, he added, recognises that for trade liberalisation to contribute to sustainable and equitable regional development, it must be complimented by the requisite capacities to produce and to do trade in an effective and efficient manner.
The strategy, Molefhi noted, seeks to overcome regional development constraints, and to transform the region progressively from being factor-driven to efficiency-driven.
It further seeks to ultimately attain growth driven by knowledge, innovation and business sophistication.
Molefhi stressed that technological and economic transformation of the SADC region through industrialisation, modernisation, skills development, science and technology, financial strengthening and deeper regional integration is crucial for achievement of that strategy.
It is for this reason that pre-primary and secondary education curricula and investment need to be strengthened to significantly increase the quality of student achievement, particularly in mathematics and science, the minister said.
The RISDP is intended to provide new priorities, targets and timeframes and where necessary, introduce new strategies in light of new developments in the region, continental and global environments.