African governments have been advised to increase investment in science, technology and innovation (STI) to improve productivity and create jobs to its people. However, to realise impact of STI, good research management must be enforced for efficient use of resources especially invested from tax payers. This was the message at the Regional Science Granting Council (RSGC) meeting in-country workshop jointly organised by New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) and Southern African Research and Innovation Management Association (SARIMA) from 11th to 15th September 2017, Dar es Salaam. The RSGC brought participants from Central, West and East Africa to exchange knowledge and share experiences on STI.
Africa Union initiative – NEPAD Agency, Head of Research and Statistics Cluster, Dr Tichaona Mangwende, emphasized the above in Dar es Salaam on Wednesday 6 September 2017, at a joint RSGC meeting. According to Dr Mangwende, investing in STI is very important because it helps in generating wealthy and employment. "For any country to produce more there must be labour, capital and land, but sometimes you can have all the three but still fail to produce or less produce less," he said. In view of this, he explained the only way to achieve productivity was to improve STI. This would also help the countries to attain middle income status.
Dr Mangwende remarked that STI was not a new thing – it has been in existence for a long time but unfortunately most African countries fail to embrace and utilise the innovation accordingly.
Dr Ereck Chakauya, Network Manager for NEPAD SANBio, also shared some regional experiences in translating knowledge products into usable products that can improve people’s livelihoods.
The meeting was officially opened by Dr Hassan Mshinda, Director General of the Tanzania Commission for Science and Technology (COSTECH), who acknowledged that Tanzania has already started increasing investment into science but it is upon the scientists to demonstrate to government what the targeted 1% GDP investment on Research and Development (R&D) could possibly achieve on the ground.