Uganda’s Minister for Science, Technology and Innovation, Dr. Monica Musenero has challenged the youth across East Africa operating start-ups to aim for mass production at industrial levels.
Dr. Musenero issued this inspirational call earlier this week, while delivering her speech during the first East African Youth Innovation Forum 2022, held at Hotel Africana Kampala, for which she was the host.
The Forum which was organized under the auspices of the East African Science and Technology Commission (EASTECO) in close collaboration with other stakeholders in Science,Technology and the Innovation space was tailored around the theme, “Unlocking Youth Development Potential Through Innovations”.
It attracted a vast number of youth innovators across East Africa, more than 37 keynote speakers, personnel from the academia, East African youth leaders and ambassadors, high-end policy makers, permanent secretaries, members of the diplomatic corp, executive secretaries from various institutions, judicial officers, personnel from security agencies and the civil society.
“In order to massively transform the society, we need industries, industries which do not produce small pieces, we are looking at innovations for industry which are going to become industrial processes in the future,” Dr Musenero asserted.
Dr. Musenero implored young innovators to think differently, due to the fact that they are catalysers of change in communities, which is brought about by actualizing economic revolution through moving from subsistence into value-added knowledge production systems.
“When you step forward as an innovator, you step forwad as a leader, so you can’t be thinking so small for yourself. So we want you to question yourself, what am I doing, how many people is it going to impact globally?” Dr. Musenero further advised.
East African Community youth Ambassadors discuss innovations during the Forum
“Africa must stop delegating thinking, let us start thinking, not to think superficially, think audaciously, think outside the box.”
Hon. Musenero also the presidential advisor on infectious diseases urged young innovators to embrace technology transfer and development to support production practices, through inventions beginning from thought processes which improve value chains, hence development of intellectual property.
Rt. Hon. Rebecca Kadaga, Uganda’s First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of East African Affairs, who was the event’s chief guest was represented by the Commissioner for Social affairs in Uganda’s Ministry for East African affairs Edward Sebina.
She earnestly implored the youth across the East African region to utilize the ground-breaking infrastructure put in place by respective governments in several universities and other institutions of higher learning to facilitate research initiatives.
Hon. Kadaga also urged the youth to embrace digital transformation through utilization of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) infrastructure in place as a fundamental tool to leverage for happiness in as far as success in innovation is concerned.
Worth noting, she called upon stakeholders in the innovation arena to commit more resources and system needs such as infrastructure, which will work in tandem with a favorable legal environment vital for the successful implementation of inventions.
Young start-up owners were also inspired to have knowledge of their communities’ ecosystems, embrace cross boarder enterprises, and appreciate diversity in cultures in order to emerge triumphant in the innovation space.
The Forum also featured a panel of youth ambassadors emanating from five states that make up East Africa. These vibrant leaders elaborated at length how youngsters in the innovation space can leverage the existing technological infrastructure to stimulate innovations and also pushed for a favorable legal policy that can breed creativity in the field of science.
For instance; Wairimu Manyara, EAC Youth Ambassador to Kenya said that the youth have to be at the heart of all science and technology initiatives for economic transformation to be felt, since they form 80% of the population in the East African community.
She also called up on governments in the region to craft favorable legal systems that can facilitate young innovators to have access to a robust market for their finished products throughout the globe, and also tax holidays for young start-ups.
On his part, Mabile Jothdit, the EAC youth Ambassador for Republic of South Sudan said, “We must revist our carriculum to institute practical work, identify talented people in the region and use their ideas to create a product that can be used sustainably, create spaces that are appropriate for innovations.”
The Forum provided a fertile ground for identification, promotion and growth of special talents in science and technology, with particular emphasis given to youth considering other cross-cutting issues that are in the innovation space.
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