Fund science to achieve sustainable development - Daily Nation

Fund science to achieve sustainable development

Fund science to achieve sustainable development

Experts say that prioritising innovation will eradicate poverty

The African Academy of Sciences is calling for reformed national science, technology and innovation (STI) policies to eradicate poverty and boost standards of living in Africa.

In a study titled Africa Beyond 2030: Leveraging Science and Innovation to Secure Sustainable Development Goals, the academy asked African states to prioritise science and technology in seeking long-term solutions to the problem of poverty on the continent.

“We need to prioritise science and technology on our sustainable development agenda and programmes to ensure long-term solutions to eradicate poverty and improve the lives of African people,” said Prof Nelson Torto, the executive director of the African Academy of Sciences.

The study calls for policy reform supported by strong budgets and skilled personnel for science, technology and innovation programmes. The academy also calls for monitoring to assess the impact of such policies on development.

 “In the past, science, technology and innovation policies have been criticised for failing to incorporate national strategies on sustainable development. This led to poor public understanding and ownership of the programmes,” says the report.

AAS Policy and Strategy Manager Evelyn Namubiru-Mwaura said African states could take advantage of the favourable political and policy climate towards sustainable development goals to promote the advancement of science, technology and innovation.

“The existence of science, technology and innovation policies demonstrate political will to advance the sector and a dual commitment to achieve sustainable development goals.

“Governments must exploit the interface between these two sides of the same coin to promote the equitable distribution of benefits and maximise the impact of their sustainable development programmes,” said Ms Namubiru-Mwaura.

Other key recommendations of the study are to influence domestic funding to support science, technology and innovation and to ensure that the science agenda is led and driven by the sustainable development priorities of the continent.

The academy also called on member states to organise and facilitate discussions between Pan-African and national science and business sector players to contribute expertise, funding and infrastructure to promote research and innovation in Africa.

The AAS is a Pan-African organisation headquartered in Kenya, which aims to drive sustainable development in Africa through science, technology and innovation.

Its mandate is to pursue excellence by recognising scholars and achievers, and to provide advisory functions for shaping the continent’s strategies and policies.

The institute also awards grants to researchers carrying out studies on resolving various problems in the continent including the understanding and eradicating of common diseases.

AAS is also tasked with implementing key science, technology and innovation programmes that have an impact on development challenges through the Alliance for Accelerating Excellence in Science in Africa (AESA) programme.