Dakar (Senegal), 26 Mar 2017 (ACBF) – “Africa’s remarkable economic growth over the past two decades is a source of hope but the continent cannot sustain and improve upon this trend without reinforcing the key catalyzers of science, technology and innovation (STI),” said the Executive Secretary of the African Capacity Building Foundation – Prof. Emmanuel Nnadozie – in a message being conveyed to worldwide audiences this week to mark a multi-location launch of the 6th edition of the Africa Capacity Report (ACR 2017). This year’s Report to be found online on www.acbf-pact.org was today presented to a wide array of audiences during events of the African Development Week 2017 in the Senegalese capital.
According to ACR 2017, STI has become even more critical for Africa after the adoption of the continent’s long-term development blueprint, Agenda 2063, the commitment to the UN Sustainable Development Goals and Africa’s own industrialization strategy.
Interestingly, Agenda 2063 is underpinned by STI as the engine of sustainable growth and economic transformation – a fact that led to the adoption of a 10-year Science, Technology and Innovation Strategy for Africa (STISA-2024) by AU leaders in June 2014. This makes the theme of ACR 2017 – “Building Capacity for Science, Technology and Innovation for Africa’s Transformation” – very timely indeed.
The report which is based on surveys carried out in 44 countries across the continent makes a clear case for better ways of pursuing financing for development through STI, developing regional strategies for the development of the sector; revolutionizing capacity development; and, investing substantially in higher education/research with the right tools. In fact, the publication says African countries must commit to honoring the one per cent of GDP pledge for research and development (R&D) investment they made in 1980 and 2005, and even take it further, to around three per cent of GDP.
Currently, Africa accounts for about 5 per cent of global GDP, but is responsible for only 1.3 per cent of global expenditure on R&D. As a result, Africa remains disadvantaged on overall STI effort due to the low investment in STI capacity development. But for the continent to become competitive globally and close its development gap with the rest of the world, African governments must plug the STI investment gap.
Also speaking in Dakar as he paced through the Report, Dr. Stephen Karingi who heads the Capacity Development Division of the UN Economic Commission for Africa, remarked that “this is a report that African countries should appropriate in coming to terms with capacity gaps most especially in making use of science, technology, mathematics and engineering because these areas are critical for making progress in infrastructure and in driving industrialization.” He praised ACBF for its support to ECA and other African institutions in its campaign for human and institutional capacity development.
To Prof. Nnadozie “The African Capacity Building Foundation remains committed to coordinating STI capacity development on the continent by building strategic partnerships as part of its 2017–2021 Strategy in support of the African Union Commission’s work in ensuring that STI is indeed the enabler in implementing Agenda 2063.”
Meanwhile multi location launches of the Report have been scheduled for 28 March 2017 in Harare (Zimbabwe), Accra (Ghana), Abuja (Nigeria), Addis Ababa (Ethiopia), Dar es Salaam (Tanzania), Kigali (Rwanda), Lomé (Togo), Rabat (Morocco), Yaounde (Cameroon) and Stockholm in Sweden.
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About the African Capacity Building Foundation
Established in 1991, ACBF builds human and institutional capacity for good governance and economic development in Africa. To date the Foundation has empowered people in governments, parliaments, civil society, private sector and higher education institutions in more than 45 countries and 6 regional economic communities. ACBF supports capacity development across Africa through mobilization and leveraging of resources for capacity development; grants, investments and fund management; knowledge services; promoting innovation in capacity development and capacity development advisory services. The establishment of ACBF was in response to the severity of Africa’s capacity needs, and the challenges of investing in indigenous human capital and institutions in Africa. ACBF interventions are premised on four principles: the centrality of capacity to the development process in Africa; the critical role of a partnership and demand-driven approach in tackling capacity challenges; African ownership and leadership in the capacity development process; and a systematic, sequenced and coordinated approach to the capacity development process that pays attention to capacity retention and utilization. For further information go to: www.acbf-pact.org