Study calls for reform of national STI policies
A study published today by the African Academy of Sciences is calling for reform of African national science, technology and innovation policies to augment development that drives progress in achieving Sustainable Development Goals.
The study, Africa Beyond 2030: Leveraging Science and Innovation to Secure Sustainable Development Goals, is based on extensive literature review, surveys and interviews with scientists, policymakers and development partners between 2016 and 2017 and details specific policy measures that countries must-individually and collectively-take to leverage STI to achieve the SDGs.
"We need to bring science and technology to bear on sustainable development priorities to ensure a long term and intergenerational solution-driven agenda for eradicating poverty and improving lives of African people," said Prof Nelson Torto, Executive Director of the African Academy of Sciences.
The United Nations adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in 2015.The SDGs are based on 17 SDGs, including ending poverty, promoting equality and equitable access to global resources, and tackling climate change. They succeeded the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which have been criticised for not demanding evidence-driven by science, technology and innovation. Moreover, implementation of MDGs was insufficiently supported by domestic resources, particularly to achieve health and environmental sustainability targets.
The new study calls for harnessing STI to achieve SDGs and requires policy reform supported by strong budgets, skilled personnel and a legislative monitoring and evaluation component to assess impact. In the past, STI policies have been criticized for short changing M&E frameworks and budgets and failing to incorporate national strategies on sustainable development. These may have resulted in weak government capacity and poor public understanding and ownership.
"The existence of the STI policies demonstrates a political will to advance the sector. There is also a dual commitment to achieve SDGs. Governments must exploit the interface between these two sides of the same coin to promote the equitable distribution of STI benefits and maximise impact of their sustainable development agendas and prom," said Evelyn Namubiru-Mwaura, the AAS' Policy and Strategy Manager.
Other key recommendations of the study are to:
- Leverage domestic funding to support STI to ensure that the science agenda is led and driven by the sustainable development priorities of the Continent.
- Organise pan-African and national science-business-society dialogues to contribute expertise, funding and infrastructure to promote research and innovation in Africa.
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