OPENING SPEECH BY HIS EXCELLENCY PROFESSOR ARTHUR PETER MUTHRIKA AT THE TEN HEADS OF STATE SUMMIT 3 NOVEMBER, 2018 ON EDUCATION, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY IN AFRICA
I would like to welcome Your Excellencies and distinguished delegates to Malawi. Above all, I welcome you to this African Union gathering. We have been given a special mission to champion education, science and technology on the continent.
Your coming demonstrates our collective determination to decide the right education for developing Africa.
As a Global Champion for Education, mandated to represent Africa in financing global education, nothing pleases me more than hosting this Summit.
We are the leadership mandated to show our people the lighted path to the Africa We Want. This Summit must ensure that the African Union must see that path.
We have a common path to our destiny because we share a common past. We share common challenges. And we share a common goal.
Our mission is to ensure that Africa has the right education for African progress. Our goal is to ensure that such education is inclusive, equitable, and desirable quality of education.
We want to promote life-long learning opportunities for our people. This is the education we want for the Africa by 2063. And we want to ensure that the education we want is sustainably financed in the long term.
We all agree that for Africa to develop, we need the right education and skills in science and technology. We also agree with Nelson Mandela when he says, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” Let us also agree.
The Africa we have today is the product of its education systems, or our lack of the same. We can change Africa by changing what we do in education.
As a continent, we have also agreed that we need to move from aid to trade. But we can only trade if we produce goods. That is why we have agreed that Africa needs to industrialise.
We need our education, science and technology to support the Africa-Must-Industrialise Agenda. Therefore, we need our education, science and technology to promote the factors of production.
The three factors of production are: natural resources, capital and labour. In this case, Africa is not a poor continent. We have a lot of assets in our natural resources. Our capital is in our assets.
What we need is to turn our assets into capital. We need education, science and technology that empowers our people to be productive forces of our progress.
Let me again comment on labour as a factor of production that will take us to African industrialization. Industrialisation demands a skilled labour force.
No human society can develop without a skilled labour force. Africa cannot develop without a skilled labour force. That is why we need a focus on skills education.
We need to cultivate scientific, technological and innovation skills in our Youth. Our Youth communities must have access to skills education even though they may not have access university education. We must empower the Youth, including those who do not have access to university education.
Finally, we need a mindset revolution in Africa. We must change the way think about education, science and technology. We do not need education for education’s sake.
We also need to find ways of bridging our African indigenous knowledge systems with science and technology. We must make science and technology part of the African child’s culture and his world.
For too long, we have taught science as if it is a Western subject. Science is not foreign to Africa. We think of technology as an imported practice.
Technology is not to Africa. Science and technology belong here on this continent. We are the origin of science and technology in the world. Even the first university in this world started in Africa.
Our African ancestors in Egypt Tumbuktu, in Kush Kingdom, in Monomotapa Kingdom, and everywhere knew mathematics, medicine, textile, architecture and marine technology, warfare and communication systems.
We are the first continent to teach the world science and technology. The question is: what happened to us? Why are we where we are?
Let us restore the glory of Africa in education, science and technology. This Summit is obviously important in setting the agenda for the rest of Africa.
Let this Summit come up with the visionary recommendations that will be presented to the African Union Assembly. This Summit has a critical role to shape the destiny of Africa.
And it is for us a generation of leaders to find that destiny.
I wish you fruitful discussion.
May God Bless Us All!
And God Bless Africa!