AEC Voices: Eugene Owusu, UNDP Resident Representative in Ethiopia

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Eugene Owusu, United Nations Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in Ethiopia, speaks on the paradigm shift in our culture that will help promote knowledge and innovation as a crucial potential to transform African society.

“In spite of potentials and recent progress in various areas, the current disturbing Ebola outbreak is casting a dark cloud over the region. We must not let this scourge overshadow the progress the continent has made and the positive trends we are witnessing. We are beginning to see Africa harnessing the transformative power of innovative technology to improve productivity, raise living standard and bridge the communication gap.

“We know that there are significant challenges that confront the continent, which require innovative approaches as well as innovative solutions: there are challenges of jobless growth, vulnerabilities to external shocks and growing youth unemployment. To ensure inclusion and enhance resilience as well as sustain development gains, Africa needs and should significantly invest in knowledge and innovation.

“However, I would note that innovation does not happen by chance, nor in a vacuum. It cannot be legislated. It takes deliberate policy actions, enablers, positive incentives and entrepreneurship to make it happen. To leapfrog and sustain the resurgent Africa requires smart solutions anchored in knowledge and innovation.

“African governments and all national actors must grasp the increasing opportunities that technology and innovation offer to human development and the transformation of the continent.”