Expert Group Meeting on governing STI to achieve the targets of the Sustainable Development Goals and the aspirations of the African Union’s Agenda 2063

Science, Technology and Innovation are the three promising keywords to improve economic performance, wealth and social well-being of nations. It is on these three fundamental and mutually reinforcing pillars that hopes, strategies and challenges to ensure the full implementation of both 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Agenda 2063: the Africa we want, are defined.

In this context the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa organized on 2 & 3 August 2017 an expert meeting group on the problematic of «Governing science, technology and innovation to achieve the targets of the Sustainable Development Goals and the aspirations of the African Union’s Agenda 2063».

The two working days in the programme were very intensive and rich, with national reporting experiences. Sessions were chaired by Mr. Kasirim Nwuke, NTIS, Economic Commission for Africa, and Victor Konde, with the participation of the Africain Union Commission represented by Mahama Ouedraogo and Hambani Masheleni of the Human Resources, Science and Technology Department.

The results of the meeting are summarised in this report (PDF).

Background information:

In the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development1, seventeen Sustainable Development Goals (and 169 targets) focusing on science, technology and innovation are planned. Goal 9, for example, calls on countries to “enhance scientific research, upgrade the technological capabilities of industrial sectors in all countries, in particular developing countries, including, by 2030, encouraging innovation and substantially increasing the number of research and development workers per one million people and public and private research and development spending”. Other targets seek to strengthen the domestic research, technological and industrial capacity of developing countries in agricultural and infrastructure development, and for tackling climate change, research and human capital in science, technology, engineering and information and communications technology.

Agenda 2063: The Africa we want calls for more ambitious targets, defined in “Science, Technology and Innovation Strategy for Africa (STISA) 2024”, a medium-term agenda2. Some elements are summarized in the following policy prescriptions reported by3:

  • Immediate full implementation of the AU Science, Technology and Innovation Strategy for Africa (STISA-2024).
  • Strengthen research efforts in: agriculture, health, energy, ICT and infrastructure. Boost competition, facilitate networking and co-operation, strengthen links between science and industry and increase returns to investment in R&D (including private and public funding of research institutions).
  • Encourage African private sector to collaborate with government and academia on research and ensure a more robust, available, and adequately funded system for the provision of extension services, technology transfer agents, and information collection and sharing services.
  • Create science parks (startup, spinoff) as a mechanism to encourage partnership between academia, industry, and government in African countries.
  • Create the necessary environment for health competition in the private for innovation to occur. This is because in Africa, firms invest in innovation and in efficiency-enhancing technology if they can expect sufficient returns and if competition forces them to do so.

Sources

1 www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/sustainable-development-goals/

2 http://www.hsrc.ac.za/uploads/pageContent/5481/Science,%20Technology%20and%20Innovation%20Strategy%20for%20Africa%20-%20Document.pdf

3 The Role of Science, Technology, and Innovation in Africa’s Growth, Joseph Atta-Mensah, https://africaupclose.wilsoncenter.org/category/blog-columns/lessons-from-the-field/