ATPS Holds Its 2016 Stakeholders’ Forum
The African Technology Policy Studies Network (ATPS) held its 2016 Stakeholders’ Forum on 29th July to review its current Phase VII Plan (2013-2018) and align it with Science, Technology and Innovation Strategy for Africa (STISA 2024) and the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) so as to serve its numerous stakeholders’ better.
Mr. Chuma Ikenze, ATPS Board Member presented the proposed new strategic plan which aims to use Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) to address problems in Agriculture, Food and Nutrition, Health, Environment and Climate Change, and Energy. He noted those key sectors as critical to sustenance of livelihoods as they also align with priority areas and goals of STISA and SDGs respectively. With over two decades of experience working in STI policy and development, ATPS is well placed to support inpiduals, institutions, governments, and private sectors by building their capacities to deploy STI across the sectors to achieve sustainable development. Mr. Chuma also identified five cross -cutting components across the identified sectors which include: STI policy research, policymaking and advocacy; training, sensitization and capacity building; youth and gender empowerment; knowledge brokerage, facilitation of adoption and commercialization of STI initiatives; intra-Africa and global collaborations and partnerships.
Another ATPS Board Member, Dr. Peggy Oti Boateng, lauded ATPS for reviewing the current plan to align it with STISA 2024 which was developed by the African Union with the objective of accelerating Africa’s transition to an innovation-led, knowledge based economy within the overall framework of the AU Agenda 2063. She emphasized on the need for African countries to drive their agenda through STI, SDGs and Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education. On the issue of climate change, Dr. Boateng emphasized on the need to build resilience capacities and risk preparedness among vulnerable groups including farmers and city dwellers. African countries should not wait for disasters to happen before they can take action. We should not be reactive in our adaptation and mitigation efforts, rather, we should make adequate plans and preparations against anticipated impacts of climate change. ATPS can support this effort through awareness creation and capacity building of relevant stakeholders to equip them with the requisite knowledge and skills to accomplish adaptation and mitigation actions. There is need for data and evidence that will support policies and implementation in this regards.
Dr. Nicholas Ozor, ATPS Executive Director highlighted the achievement of ATPS for the period 2013-2016. He noted that since his appointment as the Executive Director in August 2014 he and his team have been working tirelessly to accomplish two major objectives. One, to rebuild and strengthen relationships between ATPS and its stakeholders including the national chapters, donors, partners, staff and ex-staff, the entire members of the ATPS network, and the general public that ATPS is meant to serve in the continent and beyond and two, to raise funds to implement ATPS activities as contained in the ATPS Strategic Plan Document 2013-2018. Dr. Ozor noted that he has been consistently reforming the structure, governance, and effectiveness of the ATPS to deliver optimally on its mandate. In 2015, four new members namely Mr. Chuma Ikenze, Dr. Peggy Oti-Boateng, Dr. El Tayeb Mustafa, and Prof. Banji Oyelaran-Oyeyinka were appointed to serve as ATPS Board Members so as to strengthen the delivery of ATPS mandate through strategic guidance and advice. ATPS was also accredited as an implementing partner of the African Union Commission for the STISA 2024 leading to a close working relationship with the Commission. Dr. Ozor and his team have also renewed and strengthened relationships with previous donors, partners, staff and ex-staff and this has continued to boost the image and integrity of ATPS. Few months after his appointment, he was able to restore the full diplomatic status for the ATPS in the host country, Kenya. In order to improve communication between the ATPS and its stakeholders, he rebranded ATPS newsletter, the Technopolicy Africa, which is published every three months to showcase significant achievements, activities and challenges faced during the period.
ATPS also emerged tops for the second time in a row as the best Think Tank in Africa despite various difficulties the organization has faced in the past few years. The ranking was done by the University of Pennsylvania under the Think Tank and Civil Societies Program. ATPS emerged as the best managed Think Tank in Africa, best advocacy campaign Think Tank, best networked Think Tank in Africa, Think Tank with the most significant impact on public policy, best institutional collaboration involving two or more Think Tanks, Top Science and Technology Think Tank in Africa, Think Tank with the most innovative policy ideas/proposals, and Think Tank with the best use of internet in Africa.
Funding the ATPS was among the top agenda during the Stakeholders’ Forum. Participants urged ATPS to increase its brand visibility to the public by participating in forums, inviting potential donors to workshops so that they are aware of the role and potential of the ATPS. In addition, ATPS should involve the media in its activities and come up with a good documentary to highlight its work and achievements to the public.
Dr. Ozor further reported that the ATPS now has a new chapter in Namibia and Tanzania. He pointed out that efforts are under way to revitalize ailing chapters as well as appoint new coordinators for some ATPS chapters in some countries. He urged the ATPS National Chapter coordinators to once again become active and source funds to implement STI programs and activities in their respective chapters. They can liaise with the Secretariat to achieve this feat. He requested those who have not been in contact with their members in their respective countries and sub-regions to reactivate communications with them and reorganize the leadership towards achieving high efficiency and effectiveness in the ATPS Network at national, sub-regional and regional levels.
In response, delegates to the Stakeholders’ Forum commended the current leadership of Dr. Ozor and his team at the ATPS and pledged their full support to the team to enable it achieve the mission, vision and objectives of the ATPS. They confirmed the relevance of ATPS as a pioneer institution in Africa that is promoting STI policy research development on the continent and noted that every ATPS stakeholder has a role to play to accomplish this mandate