2006 Annual Report
Innovation SystemsMessage from the Executive Director
Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) is lagging behind and is off target in meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by the set deadline of 2015.The sluggish achievement of these goals, however, is not due to lack of commitment, as most SSA countries have integrated the MDGs into their national development frameworks. The tardiness, however, is due to inadequate capacity and poor institutional support systems within the continent.
The President of the African Academy of Sciences, Mohamed H. A. Hassan, in an editorial published in Science Magazine, the world's leading journal of original scientific research and global news, stated that in the early 1960s and the early 1970s, science departments in many African universities, including the University of Lagos in Nigeria, Dar-es-Salaam in Tanzania, Accra in Ghana, and Khartoum in Sudan, were among the finest and regarded as beacons of progress in the developing world. However, he explained that presently these departments face a myriad of problems such that they are unable to meet even minimal departmental responsibilities, a situation that has had a grave impact on Africa's socio-economic development.
I have no doubt that we all appreciate the fundamental role science innovation and technology can play, particularly through the National Systems of Innovation (NIS), in achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and ultimately Africa's socio-economic development.
The 2003 NEPAD Ministerial Conference on Science and Technology endorsed the role of science, technology and innovation (ST&I) for development by stressing that all African countries should introduce comprehensive national STI policies that emphasize NIS.
NIS is the technology and information flow crucial for the development and diffusion of new technologies within a nation and is facilitated by a network of intricate relationships amongst actors in the system including enterprises, universities, policy makers and government research institutions.
The African Technology Policy Studies Network (ATPS), in line with its vision to act as a knowledge broker between the various actors in the S&T technology policy process, brings together top academicians, policy makers, researchers and scientists in the continent to deliberate on the relevance and implications of the to Africa's socio-economic development. During meetings and conferences, the network members get the opportunity to exchange knowledge and ideas while raising African perspectives on using innovation systems to attain national and international development goals.
I trust that the ATPS Network can identify institutional knowledge and policy gaps that hinder the efficiency of science and innovation policy in Africa and identify training needs for African innovation actors to better apply S&T innovation systems to meet the MDGs. ATPS is wholly committed to improving the quality of technology policy making in SSA and to strengthen the region's, institutional capacity for the management of technological development.
Dr Osita Ogbu
Former Executive Director, ATPS