A local think tank has urged African scholars to embrace innovation in research in bid to unlock the continent’s potential by providing sustainable development solutions.
During a recent forum held in Nairobi for scholars that was organised by the African Centre for Technology Studies (ACTS) in collaboration with the University of Sussex, Agriculture Principal Secretary Hamadi Boga said the country was keen to ensure research plays a key role in the government’s Big Four agenda.
“African researchers need to ensure that its researchers take a key role in ensuring top quality research is produced as owners of research often control the knowledge systems,” said Mr Bogo.
Mr Boga also urged young people to engage in research, saying collaboration with the political system is key to ensure success.
“We need to critically re-package and sustain conversations on innovative research methodologies for Kenya,” he added.
The head of the climate change programme at ACTS, Dr Joanes Atela, said effective engagement on sustainable development remains a key landmark policy and a critical development agenda.
“In Kenya, young scholars continue to develop innovative platforms that offer significant opportunities for the research agenda that seeks to enhance the development trajectory of the country,” he said.
The scientists called for more evidence-based research, which is says is the key to unlocking solutions to the country’s challenges.
Dr Richard Munang, the United Nations Environment Africa Regional Climate Change Programme coordinator, said that the findings on climate change should be critically addressed as global warming was worsening hence the need to take the Paris agreement on climate change seriously.
“Research should not be isolated from mainstream development as has been currently observed as is the case of Kenya’s Big four agenda which has a deafening silence on role of research,” said Dr Munang.
The environmental expert said some the challenges faced in embracing innovative research can be resolved through incentives and partnerships.
University of Sussex’s don David Ockwell emphasised the importance of collaborations across the continent, saying it offers cross-learning opportunities on meaningful developments.
“These joint learnings offer novel ideas for innovative platforms that are effective for collaborations which also enhance policy uptake across the world. Evidence-based research is key to unlocking solutions that the various continents continue to face,” added Dr Adrian Ely from University of Sussex.
This meeting was convened after a three-year project called the Pathways Network, funded by the International Science Council.
The project examined how different people understand problems and imagine new solutions. In Kenya, the project looked at how mobile-enabled payments for solar power could work for poor people, exploring the barriers and opportunities for change in policy and practice.