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On the link between STI & Development: What matters for African nations? EGBETOKUN, Abiodun A. SIYANBOLA, Willie O. National Centre for Technology Management (NACETEM) Federal Ministry of Science and Technology, Nigeria www.nacetem.org
CONTENTS • Introduction • STI & Development: the Link • Making STI more development relevant • Directions for Action • Conclusion
INTRODUCTION • Transition into modern economies will involve considerable investment and use of new knowledge prosecuted mainly through science, technology and innovation (STI). • Most problems in the developing world do not require esoteric advances in knowledge but the effective assimilation, adaptation, use and improvement of existing knowledge • It is the synergy of Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) that leads to economic progress
STI AND DEVELOPMENT: THE LINK (1) • The key cause of the competitive gap between nations and organisations today is knowledge: nations can no longer compete based purely on natural resource and locational advantages. • The economic progress recorded in the 50 leading S&T countries is much higher than in the rest of the world. • While the average wealth per capita in these 50 countries grew by 1.1% between 1986 and 1994, the per capita income of the other 130 countries of the world fell by 1.5% over the same period
STI AND DEVELOPMENT: THE LINK (2) • Most of the developing economies in Asia, Africa, and Latin America have failed to make the needed investments • The measures of national social well-being are generally low for Africa despite the abundant human and natural resources that the continent is endowed with
GDI & HDI FOR SELECTED REGIONS (UNDP, 2005) Not too far for us to go!
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY (S&T) TECHNOLOGY SCIENCE STI 2 DEV: WHICH WAY FOR AFRICA? (1) • OLD PARADIGM: • As a result of the forward & backward linkage, Science and Technology (S&T) is now a hybrid concept. • Innovation is left out
e TECHNOLOGY INNOVATION a b SCIENCE d c STI 2 DEV: WHICH WAY FOR AFRICA? (2) • NEW PARADIGM • a = Science and Technology; • b = Technology and Innovation; • c = Science and Innovation; • d = Science, Technology and Innovation, • e = the National Innovation System (NIS), the domain in which all activities take place
STI 2 DEV: THE NEW PARADIGM EXPLAINED (1) • Domain a typically results in the generation of new/improved/cutting-edge knowledge & methods without regard to economic benefits. • This has the potential to bestow leadership upon any nation but it will not, by any means, translate automatically into observable economic benefits.
STI 2 DEV: THE NEW PARADIGM EXPLAINED (2) • In domain b, the kind of activities that would typically take place would relate to the acquisition of embodied technology and an aggressive pursuit of foreign direct investment (FDI) as a way to drive growth. • The advantages in this domain for African countries are limited by two main factors: • Speed • Institutional deficiencies
STI 2 DEV: THE NEW PARADIGM EXPLAINED (3) • The Science-Innovation link of domain c suggests the creation of new economically useful knowledge in a country. • With the absence of technology, it becomes a particularly difficult and nearly impracticable link, for science will seldom yield any economic benefits in the absence of technology, whether near or remote.
STI 2 DEV: THE NEW PARADIGM EXPLAINED (4) • In d, the triad of science, technology and innovation co-exist. • Every African nation SHOULD aim at this domain • The joining together of science (increasing what we know), technology (applying what we know) and innovation (turning our applied knowledge into economic benefits and promoting the acquisition of new knowledge through learning-by-doing) is more useful than the singular contributions of any of science or technology.
STI 2 DEV: THE NEW PARADIGM EXPLAINED (4_1) • For a nation to withstand competition in this era of globalisation there is need for such to identify its niche areas and build on it by the application of scientific methods. • New technologies and industries may then be built around these areas of core competences. • BRAZIL: Sugar-cane • MALAYSIA: Oil Palm • CHILE: Salmon Fishery etc
CREATE A STRONG REACTOR: THE NIS • The NIS is the domain within which all STI activities take place. • It is the network of institutions/actors that interact to bring about changes • Its strength and tightness determines success • All stakeholders must be active and connected • Education & Research • Funding • Production/Private Sector • Policy Environment
STI 2 DEV: WHAT SHOULD WE DO? S&T in areas of local needs INNOVATION MONEY MONEY IDEAS
MAKING STI MORE DEV RELEVANT • Improved Funding: INCREASE AND ENLARGE • A new approach to University-Industry Linkage: Network partnerships = ACADEMIA + INDUSTRY + GOVT • Promotion of Interdisciplinary Research: CREATE ICoEs • Understanding the link between Science, Politics and Policy
DIRECTIONS FOR IMMEDIATE ACTION • Assess the environment within which African researchers work (organisational climate, work load, experience & attitude towards research) and how this affects their productivity • Development of STI indicators for the continent is long overdue. • An assessment of innovation capability in industry would be very useful.
CONCLUSION • For Africa to effectively position herself in domain d of the model proposed herein, careful attention must be paid to all of these issues. • In all of these areas, the National Centre for Technology Management (NACETEM), Nigeria’s major STI policy research agency is well-posited to lead action and to collaborate. • We train, we research, we collaborate
THANK YOU FOR YOUR ATTENTION • CONTACT • EGBETOKUN, Abiodun A • firstname.lastname@example.org • email@example.com • SIYANBOLA, Willie O. • firstname.lastname@example.org • email@example.com • WEBSITE: www.nacetem.org