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2009 Annual Report

Message from the Executive Director

This report presents a summary of the Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) capacity building activities of ATPS for the period 01 January 2009 to 31 December 2009. In line with its vision, ATPS has continued to act as an STI knowledge broker amongst key actors fromAnnual Report 2009 the quadruple helix (experts in academic institutions and other knowledge communities, policy makers, the private sector actors and the civil society) in the continent to deliberate on and prioritize Africa’s response to global challenges. 

Through the STI capacity building activities carried out in the year 2009, the ATPS network members and stake holders had the opportunity to share their experiences and knowledge whilst raising Africa’s perspectives on STI capacity development needs (knowledge basis and infrastructure; knowledge circulation and networks; knowledge conditions and policies) to ensure effective valorization of science and technology into innovations for African development. This report is organized under the topics of thematic and non-thematic (facilitative) priorities of the ATPS Phase VI Strategic Plan, 2008 – 2012.These include:

   1. Thematic Research and Research Capacity Building;

   2. International Cooperation and Partnerships;

   3. Youth and Gender Empowerment;

   4. STI Training and Sensitisation;

   5. STI Communication and Stakeholder Dialogue; and;

   6. STI Outreach, Knowledge Brokerage, Knowledge Circulation and Policy Dialogue.

The report also presents a brief summary of the continued governance reforms undertaken by ATPS to strengthen its capacity to achieve the strategic objectives of its Phase VI Strategic Plan, 2008 – 2012.

The report also presents a brief summary of the continued governance reforms undertaken by ATPS to strengthen its capacity to achieve the strategic objectives of its Phase VI Strategic Plan, 2008 – 2012. The ATPS launched several new thematic and facilitative programs in 2009. They include: The Climate Sense Program (CSP);the Women Innovation Challenge (WE CAN) Program and an interim steering committee for the Phase VI program - African Women Forum for Science and Technology (AWFST); The Youth Innovation Challenge (Y I CAN) Program under the auspices of the ATPS African Youth Forum for Science and Technology (AYFST); anew regional program on Strengthening National Intellectual Property Rights Policy and Legal Frameworks in Eastern and Southern Africa - Traditional knowledge (TK) Access and benefit Sharing for effective IP systems;Agricultural Innovations for Climate Change Adaptation; Indigenous and Emerging Technologies for Climate Change Adaptation, etc.

A number of small grants and regional studies on selected STI policy priorities of member country chapters were also commissioned during the period. These include: two regional grants on Agricultural Innovations for Climate Change Adaptation; ten small grants case studies on Indigenous and Emerging Technologies for Climate Change Adaptation;and four national case studies on intellectual property rights. In 2009, the ATPS strengthened her role as a knowledge broker and policy advocate on several subjects, providing training and policy support services to several stakeholders including Parliamentarians, and heads of relevant State institutions, researchers and university networks, as well as private sector networks in the continent.

Notable amongst the training andpolicy support services provided in 2009, are a sensitisation workshop for Parliamentarians of the Republic of Kenya and the training of relevant ministries and state agencies in the Federal Republic of Nigeria, leading tothe launch of the National System of Innovation (NSI) Steering Committee to foster innovation through inter-ministerial and inter-agency collaboration inthe Federal Republic of Nigeria. These activities were amongst the strategic policy engagements of the ATPS in 2009 with significant impacts on policy direction on the related subjects. ATPS also forged strategic partnerships with several state institutions and international organisations with global mandates in STI related subjects including, the United Nations Environment Program(UNEP), UNESCO, British Council (BC), World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF-EARPO),and other key national state institutions such as National Councils for S&T; University Commissions; regional University Networks and Private Sector Networks. Most of these partnerships are guided by Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) and have enhanced ATPS’s capacity for effective knowledge brokerage, knowledge valorisation and policy advocacy both in Africa and globally.

The period also saw the ATPS expand its donor base with ten grants received during the period from previous and new donor partners. In addition to the support towards the implementation of the ATPS Phase VI Plan received from the Directorate-General for International Cooperation (DGIS) of the Royal Dutch Government in April, 2009;the Rockefeller Foundation, Welcome Trust, the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the United Nations Environment Program, and UNESCO are amongst key supporters of ATPS activities during the year.

Through the support of donor partners, ATPS was able to implement most of its planned STI capacity building activities during the period. The period saw the demand for ATPS’s STI capacity building and knowledge-sharing activities expand both in terms of scale and geographic coverage as African countries strove to respond to the triple challenges of the global financial crisis, global poverty and global climate change.Therefore, much remains to be done in 2010 and onwards as demand increases and bilateral interests on the continent by developed and emerging economies such as China and India grows. ATPS therefore welcomes more support from the long-standing international partners and other partners who have an interest in“building Africa’s STI capacity today for sustainable development tomorrow”.

STI is much needed now, more than ever. The triple challenges of climate change, global financial crisis and persistent global poverty are interlinked and mutually exacerbating. It is time that we act collectively and do things differently to address this elusive challenge. The shape and form of the “goal post for sustainable development” is ever changing. We can no longer pride ourselves in specialization and division of labour which shaped disciplinary research over the past decades, or even pretend that good science alone can achieve development. The increase in the number of Nobel Prize awards in Economics and the proliferation of Wall Street Experts in globalization and free market principles could not prevent the global financial crisis, neither has the proliferation of special science expertise in poverty alleviation reduced the population of world citizens living in absolute poverty, especially in Africa. While good science and disciplinary specialization remain important for in-depth understanding of phenomena, and in fact, are indispensable in evidence based policy-making, the systemic and dynamic nature of the challenges we face means that trans-disciplinary approaches, systems thinking and innovation must be taken more seriously than before. Recent work by the ATPS and European and Indian partners on socialization of science and technology in Africa, Europe and India points to evidence that “Innovation does not happen in the mainstream but through the interaction amongst key actors in the innovation system, including policy-makers, science experts, private sector actors and the civil society(including rural communities). We have branded this relationship as the“quadruple helix” and the DNA for development. “Multi-lateral collaboration breeds innovation, while binomial relationships lead to knowledge dependence”.

The period also saw the consolidation and strengthening of the ATPS secretariat staff base and the rotation/renewal and strengthening of ATPS’s Board. Prof Samuel Wangwe tookover as the Chair of the Board and new Board Committees were formed. New board members representing relevant state institutions, the academia and the private sector were also appointed.

Finally, I want to express my deepest appreciation to the ATPS Board, ATPS secretariat staff, National Coordinators, the network membership, our donors and all our stakeholders for all their efforts. We look forward to receiving your continued support in 2010.

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African Technology Policy Studies Network | 2009 Annual Report

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