‘Early Introduction of Financial Literacy and Marketing Courses in Schools Essential’

By Sizwe Dlamini

The Minister of Information Communications and Technology (ICT), Savannah Maziya, has called for the early adoption of financial literacy and marketing courses in schools and has warned EmaSwati that Africa risks moving from being called the “dark continent” to the “closed continent” if it fails to embrace innovative technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI).

The Minister was addressing researchers at the Strengthening Research and Innovation Management Symposia 2023-2024, themed “The Role of Research and Innovation Management in Accelerating Inclusive Multidisciplinary Research and Promoting Research Impact” at the Happy Valley Hotel.

Maziya, a staunch advocate for women’s participation in STEM research highlighted crucial aspects for advancing research in Eswatini including the lack of funding and sponsorship.

“The progress of research in our kingdom is hampered by insufficient funding for researchers. Money is pivotal in research, making financial literacy essential. Therefore, I advocate for the introduction of more financial literacy courses in schools to equip the public with crucial money management skills. Currently, many individuals struggle to manage their finances, including their salaries, due to a lack of financial knowledge. We must improve in this area as a kingdom,” she emphasized.

Furthermore, she urged researchers to bolster their marketing skills to attract sponsors. “Alongside financial literacy, I strongly recommend marketing courses. Researchers must effectively market their work to individuals and companies willing to sponsor their research. Securing sponsorship requires understanding the business perspective; sponsors want to see tangible returns. As researchers, you must be savvy in aligning your research with business interests to attract and maintain sponsorship,” she added.

Addressing complacency among researchers, Maziya cautioned against the rapid advancement of AI.

“While I see talented researchers here, complacency poses a significant risk. The world is rapidly advancing with AI, an algorithm capable of performing complex research tasks. To stay competitive, utilize your skills to publish impactful research papers and journals. Familiarize yourselves with AI to lead innovation, or we risk falling behind and missing valuable opportunities, AI does not care about your qualifications and will do the research without you. And if we ignore AI we risk seeing Africa transforming from the Dark Continent to the Closed continent left by the AI revolution “she warned.

The Minister went on to remind researchers of their duty to utilize education for the benefit of EmaSwati.

“As educated individuals, it’s your responsibility to uplift our people through your knowledge. Whenever I speak publicly I like to say, ‘To whom much is given, much is tested.’ Africa is rich in resources, like minerals under the ground yet we often fail to leverage these natural resources for our development, instead we allow others to come to Africa and take our resources to benefit their continents economically off our minerals, All we do is complain saying other continents are becoming rich with our resources. This needs to stop,” she said.

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