Professor Etienne E. Ehile, the Secretary General of the Association of African Universities (AAU), has called for deeper collaboration between industry and educational institutions.
"There seems to be a huge gap between industries, education sector and policy makers, and this is retarding the development of Africa”, Prof Ehile said.
He said it is important for a stronger collaboration among these three agents of development to ensure the sustainable advancement of Africa.
Prof Ehile made these remarks at the opening ceremony of the African Research and Innovation Summit 2017, an initiative organised by the AAU to provide an opportunity to build stronger partnership between industry, academia and government for sustainable development.
The event held under the theme: “Promoting Research and Innovation in African Higher education”; is part of activities leading to the celebration of the golden jubilee and 14th general conference of the AAU which will be climaxed in Accra, from 5th to 8th June.
It would create a platform for students in higher education institutions on the continent to share their research proposals, findings, innovations and best practices in the areas of science, technology, education, health and agriculture with industry players and other stakeholders, for funding.
Prof Ehile said research and innovations in the areas of science, technology, education, health and agriculture are the driving wheels of every growing economy; adding that "such areas also provide the basis for industrialization and sustainable development in society”
The General Secretary said for every country to develop and tap into all its resources there is a need to focus more on applied research, which have direct benefit to industry and the various sectors of development.
He proposed the establishment of a research repository which will house all research problems of industry, where students can visit to select their research topics as part of their academic work.
Mr Kingsley Aboagye Gyedu, the Deputy Minister of Health, who launched the event, commended AAU for wakening up to the realization that the Continent needs to link these three agents to be able to facilitate the development of Africa.
He said youth unemployment has been one of the biggest challenges for most African leaders adding that no reliably workable policy can be formed by anybody without solid scientific objective research methods.
The Deputy Minister therefore, endorsed the call made by Professor Ehile concerning the establishment of a research repository, adding that “I will carry this very important suggestion to my Minister and through him to the cabinet, so government will do its best to support AAU in this regard”.
In his remarks, Mr Emmanuel Asigri, the Chief Executive Officer of the National Youth Authority (NYA), also called on industry players to help shape the youth in the various tertiary institutions to get to devise new ways of looking at job availability.
Mr Asigri said across the continent there were so many agencies that have come to the realization that it is very paramount to place our focus on youth development, particularly in the area of job creation.
He expressed the hope that young people would take the opportunity to embrace these new initiatives and innovations that are coming up.