African universities have been urged to increase their recruitment on to science and engineering courses, amid warnings that they remain too focused on the social sciences.
Emmanuel Nnadozie, executive secretary of the African Capacity Building Foundation, warned that the continent could miss the development goals set under the African Union’s Agenda 2063 initiative if the gap in enrolment was not closed.
“Our strategy for Agenda 2063 says that Africa has a gap of 4.3 million engineers alone, not to mention the other categories of expertise in critical technical skills that are needed and… if you have this kind of gap we will never be able to industrialise,” Professor Nnadozie said.
“At the same time, African universities’ enrolment has about 90 per cent of students registering in social sciences, law and humanities and that makes it hard to implement strategies if you don’t have those critical expertise skills that will support the private investments and industries.”
Professor Nnadozie’s remarks, made at the Third Africa Think Tanks Summit in Victoria Falls, were quoted by Zimbabwean newspaper The Standard.
He added that skills were a key barrier to progress on the continent. “The issue of moving beyond designing appropriate policies to making sure that we yield expected results from policies is something that this continent has struggled with for quite some time to accomplish,” he was reported to have said.