“Government has identified the need to fix this mismatch and we are realigning our education system to place more emphasis on technical, vocational and allied skills as a matter of urgency,” he said. Mr Osafo-Maafo was speaking at the opening of the 26th Board of Governors Meeting of the African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF), the African Union's Specialised Agency for Capacity Development. The two-day meeting, being held in collaboration with the Government, is on the theme: “Enhancing Access to and Absorption of Development Resources in Africa.”
Mr Osafo-Maafo said many African countries were facing similar issues with their educational training and the situation needed to be tackled without delay. He said Africa must address the challenge of inadequate capacity to ensure its socio-economic transformation and become a more prominent global player. He said capital and capacity building were the pillars for development adding; “As a continent, we have taken the easier routes over the years, getting loans and exporting raw materials. These have not expanded our economies to create the jobs we need for our youthful population.”
Mr Osafo-Maafo urged the ACBF to scale up its success stories by building collaboration with other strategic institutions, which would enhance capacity both at the policy development and implementation levels. Mr Thomas Kwesi Quartey, the Deputy Chairperson of the African Union Commission, called for support from all governments, development partners and key stakeholders to ensure concrete outcomes and advancement of capacity development.
He said Africa had grown a little tired of seeing its children desperately trying to cross the Sahara on foot and getting drowned in the Mediterranean Sea, all in the hope of an El-Dorado in Europe, which was non-existent. “We need our children here, but to be able to do that we need to have them all properly educated, cultured in science and technology so that they begin to appreciate the importance of what we have here in Africa and what we can do for this Continent,” Mr Quartey said.
Professor Emmanuel Nnadozie, the Executive Secretary of ACBF, said the Foundation must go beyond the resource access challenge to finding solutions to the use of resources acquired. He said for ACBF to effectively deliver on its capacity building mandate, there was the need for political and financial support of African governments and cooperating partners. Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, the Minister of Finance, lauded ACBF for its contribution to the strengthening of the institutional and human capacities as well as the socio-economic transformation of countries.
This, he said, was done through financial investments, knowledge production and sharing, and technical assistance, which were record breaking. The meeting would share experiences and practices on the use of Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) for socio-economic transformation and innovative ways of financing STI. The ACBF Board of Governors will review the work of the Foundation in 2016, especially what it laid out to achieve within its current five-year strategy (2017 to 2021).
The strategy aims to support the emergence of skilled people and strong institutions to transform Africa, which is developed around four principal goals. These are effective delivery of continental development priorities such as Agenda 2063; supporting countries to achieve tangible development results; enhancing the ability of the private sector and civil society to contribute to sustainable development; and leveraging knowledge and learning to increase development effectiveness.