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Mauritius ex-President says Africa falling behind in science, technology

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Professor Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, former President of Mauritius and Laureate of the 2007 L’Oréal-UNESCO Prize for Women in Science, has said that Africa is falling well behind the rest of the world in science, technology, and innovation (STI).

She was speaking at the African Export-Import Bank’s (Afreximbank) fifth annual Babacar Ndiaye Lecture on “the importance of science, technology and innovation in the transformation of African economies”.

Professor Gurib-Fakim said only 0.1% of all patent applications are registered in Africa, compared to 65% in Asia and 25% in North America.

Africa is also responsible for only 2% of the world’s research output and 1% of research spending.

Furthermore, the laggards in Africa have 11 researchers per million people whilst the best performing countries in the world, such as South Korea and Denmark had between 7,000-8,000 scientists and researchers per million people.

Prof Gurib-Fakim called on African leaders to close the region’s science and technology gap to take full advantage of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

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