South African deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe has called upon African governments to fully invest in research and development in order to promote an African vision of shared growth.
According to him, the policy resolve was an important element for equitable development, sustenance of indigenous knowledge systems and advancing technological changes. He made the call in Dar es Salaam at an official occasion to mark the 20th anniversary since the Solomon Mahlangu Freedom Collage (Somafco) was handed over to the country.
The deputy president said African Academics and scholars were obliged to fuse “western” and African forms of knowledge systems in order to contribute to sustainable and long-term African development.
“We need to be at a forefront of using African knowledge systems in mainstream sciences and information technology studies…it’s a difficult task of course, as it requires to elevate African knowledge system from their permanent banishment to African studies in universities such as Oxford School of African Studies,” he said.
Motlanthe said research and development were important elements of the African vision for reconstruction and development, especially in stimulating industrial capacities.
He said there was no doubt that Africans “can ill-afford” to fail in the indisputable area of knowledge, if is to make any headway.
The South Africa deputy leader noted that strategic investment in various sectors would allow Africans to increasingly play an important role in the development of new applications and technological innovations relevant for the needs of the continent in ensuring a continued multiplier effect on economic growth.
In addressing challenges facing the continent, Motlanthe said African countries should strictly increase efforts in tackling the problem of poor infrastructure, which has been pulling back development of the continent.
The SA deputy leader said at present poor roads, railways and power facilities caused slow down movement of people, goods and services within and between African countries.
As the result, he noted, it becomes easy and cheaper for costal countries to import items from far across the oceans than purchasing them from their neighbors.
Giving anecdote on the Somafco, Tlholo Mohlathe, Head of the Somafco delegation in the country said since 2008, the government and people of South African have initiated different programmes for remembering the historical event in the country.
He said every year there have been essay writing competitions titled with different themes that focus on creating inspiration to young generations.
“Despite handing over all the USD300m assets to the people and government of Tanzania, still as a country, South Africa is responsible for maintaining our social integration and assistances that were formally found by our former presidents,” he said.
The land where the Somafco was built in Mazimbu, was offered to African National Congress with the aim of empowering exiled South Africans with education and the necessary skills in the course of their fight against apartheid.