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More attention should be given to science and technology that directly affects the lives of ordinary Africans, a leading African UN official has said.

Speaking at a meeting this week in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, K.Y. Amoako, executive secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Africa, criticised science and technology policies in the continent for focusing on high-level experts and researchers.

"So far, science and technology policies in Africa have been too elitist," he said. "Not enough attention has been paid to impacting the daily lives of ordinary people. It is therefore important that we now focus on exploring the ways in which science and technology can empower the poor to make beneficial changes in their own condition."

He urged policy makers and scientists to introduce farmers to "appropriate methods of science and technology", and also called on African nations to make the most of their natural resources.

 "Africa must seriously investigate how it can harness its bountiful mineral, energy and water resources to help underpin its new drive for sustainable modernisation and rural transformation," he said. "In all these areas, the development of human resources, science and technology cannot be over-emphasised."

Delegates from more than 40 countries attended the meeting, 'Making Technology Work for the Poor', which was organised by the Committee on Sustainable Development.

Link to full text of K.Y. Amoako's speech