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2007 Annual Report

Science & Technology and Innovations for African Development

Message from the Chair Person

Annual Report 2007In our 2006 Annual Report, I reminded you that historians will remember this century for its commitment to a global partnership and a series of time-bound targets, commonly known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) aimed at improving the socio-economic well-being of humanity by 2015. I reiterated that the UNDP/UNICEF progress report of 2002 on the MDGs showed that progress had been achieved but the Africa's record was poor with little impact to poor people.

We have come to the end of 2007 and I am still convinced that science, technology and innovation (STI) accompanied by appropriate policy is still the answer to help African countries attain the MDGs and achieve sustainable development. We, in Africa, are clearly not on track to meet the MDGs. New global challenges such as climate change and high food prices further threaten food security, economic growth and environmental sustainability in unprecedented proportions. I still believe that Science Technology and Innovation policy and practice remain the missing link in global Development effort. We must rededicate our skills, with proper support, to bridge the Science, Technology and Innovation gap and attain these goals.

The United Nations believes the global economic slowdown will diminish the incomes of the poor; climate change will have a disproportionate impact on the already disadvantaged, high food prices will push millions into poverty especially in sub-Saharan Africa. Innovation processes including concrete and practical steps that governments and international agencies can undertake to bring STI to bear on achieving the MDGs in Africa are therefore necessary at this stage. Because of the cross-cutting nature of STI it has helped to eliminate poverty and hunger and mitigate environmental problems in developed countries and has been credited as a driver for remarkable economic growth in most of the South-East Asia and Asian Pacific countries.

The African Technology Policy Studies (ATPS) has continued to articulate its vision for Africa and its mission to contribute to poverty alleviation through science, technology and innovation (STI) policy research and advocacy. ATPS continues to seek ways to address Africa’s unique development challenges especially within the context of achieving specific social, economic and environmental development targets by 2015. As in previous years, ATPS has attempted to close the loop through outreach, knowledge brokerage, science communication and policy advocacy with the aim of creating a culture of STI policy making in Africa.

As we come to the end of 2007 and look forward to 2008, ATPS has developed its Phase VI Strategic Plan 2008-2011 taking into cognizance the issues discussed above. The ATPS took a participatory approach to strategic goal setting with ATPS National Chapters, ATPS research Associates, relevant stakeholders and other international development partners that are representative of ATPS' milieu.

ATPS will continue to play the role of “the STI knowledge broker” until the (S&T) knowledge and policy gaps in Africa have been bridged and African nation states have become rich in policies that generate substantial investments in science, technology and innovations (STI) for sustainable development. The planned strengthening of ATPS convening power in Africa and beyond through the phenomenal growth in institutional partnerships in Europe, India and America are factors that will enhance the organization's ability to promote STI for Africa’s development. This task becomes easier as more citizens of the region become aware of, utilize and master relevant science technologies to improve their livelihoods and sustain the environment for the foreseeable future.

In this regard, one challenge from ATPS' perspective is how to build new STI capacity in Africa amongst African development stakeholders including, relevant government institutions, ministries and parastatals, S&T institutions of learning, as well as individual development actors and partners. On the other hand, ATPS faces the challenge of becoming an effective knowledge broker to help access and translate existing knowledge in Africa and elsewhere into useable formats for STI development in Africa.

As we conclude our Phase V Strategic Plan 2004 – 2007 implementation and move into the implementation of the Phase VI Strategic Plan, 2008 – 2011, let us face these challenges, find out how to properly blend traditional knowledge with orthodox knowledge especially through Collaborative learning processes that are critical to the success of STI as a catalyst to Africa's development.

Let us leave a legacy of an STI knowledge based economy for Africa to enhance food security, accessible and quality healthcare, sustainable use of ecosystem resources and suitable governance institutions for African development. Let our science, technology and innovations Policy studies today secure a sustainable social, economic and environmental development tomorrow.

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.

I urge you to apply science, innovation and technology (STI) accompanied by appropriate policy to comfortably meet the MDGs and achieve economic growth. Read more

Prof. Norah Olembo
Chairperson, ATPS

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