he African Union (AU) High Level Panel on Emerging Technologies (APET) on
June 8, 2018 launched three reports on emerging technologies setting the
pace for Africa to advance its socio-economic development agenda and
position itself as a frontrunner in the 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR). The
reports, launched at the Africa Innovation Summit held in Kigali, Rwanda,
focus on malaria control and elimination, increasing Africa's agricultural
productivity and enhancing Africa's enegy security.
The reports - Gene Drives for Malaria Control and Elimination in Africa;
Drones on the Horizon: Transforming Africa's Agriculture; and Micro-grids:
Empowering Communities and Enabling Transformation in Africa will serve as
valuable resources in unpacking emerging technologies and building a culture
of science, technology and innovation in Africa. Speaking on behalf of
Rwandan President and Chair of the African Union Paul Kagame, CEO of Rwanda
Development Board Clare Akamanzi commended the High Level Panel for the
achievement of this milestone and reiterated President Kagame's government's
commitment. She urged other Member States to harness emerging technologies
for accelerated socio-economic transformation of the continent.
Speaking during the launch, APET Chair Prof. Yaye Gassama emphasized the
need to streamline regulatory systems in order to ensure timely access and
effectiveness of these technologies. She also said there are perceived risks
associated with the technologies and called for further research with full
participation of African scientists, policy makers and with active
engagement of the target communities.
One report, Gene Drives for Malaria Control and Elimination in Africa,
examines the use of gene drive technology for the control and elimination of
malaria in Africa. Gene drive technology has been identified as a potential
new option to augment existing interventions in pursuance of achieving the
African Union Agenda 2063. According to the World Health Organization (WHO),
the African continent is the most affected by malaria, with 90% of the
world's 216 million cases in 2016 recorded in sub-Saharan Africa.