Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) in supporting Africa

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1









Science, Technology and Innovation

(STI)

in supporting
Africa’s industrial Development



Francis Gudyanga
,
Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Science and
Technology
,
ZIMBABWE

fpgudyanga@zarnet.ac.zw




Second Meeting of the Committee on Development Information, Science
&Technology (CODIST
-
II)

Addis Ababa, Ethopia

02


05 May 2011



















2


INTRODUCTION


Modern i
ndustrial development
requires

know
-
how and capacity to adopt, disseminate, and

I
mplement

science and technology

for practical uses. Scientific knowledge, technical skills, and
means to provide

sustainable access to and use of technology are essential. Those societies with a
higher

level of science and technology (S&T) capacity will

be

better able to implement technology
applications

and

to produce their own technological innovation or advance technology to offer better

solutions to their problems.

Technology development, adaptation, acquisition, and application are
among the key factor
s that determine a country’s economic and social well
-
being, prospects for
poverty reduction, and competitiveness in the global economy. Within a knowledge economy

framework where the pillars of education, innovation, and information and

communication
tech
nologies (ICT) occupy a central place, technology development is a

cross
-
cutting factor that
has profound impact on how a country is able to best fulfill its

potential.

Many African countries
are historically associated with natural resources and raw

mater
ials.

Even with this comparative
advantage, except for South Africa, m
ost of the economies have either stagnated or grown
slowly.

Building S&T capacity requires investment in R&D. Funding for the education

and training of
scientists and engineers,
scientific research and technology development

activities, promotion of
technology transfer to commercial applications, and

dissemination of technology into the
marketplace might come from public or private

sources. However, R&D investment does not exist i
n
a vacuum. It must compete with

other spending priorities of the state and of private investors, who
look for opportunities

with high return on investment.
Nonetheless, STI capacity building is an
indispensable tool for achieving these other priority obje
ctives. Hence the need for STI capacity
building and for bringing STI capacity building to the top of the development agenda.

Countries

where there is political instability (external
ly

or internally induced)
and the level of R&D
capacity is extremely low

generally are not attractive places for investment that would promote R&D
capacity

building. Indeed, S&T capacity building is a long
-
term and cumulative process that requires

not only financial investment, but also a host of other inputs and conditions to
establish,

maintain,
and generate benefits for society.

Increasingly, R&D and innovation are pursued in a collaborative
and interactive environment, often embedded in global supply, production, and distribution networks
(Dahlander

and Gann 2007; Howells 2008; OECD 2008a).

This paper summarises the status of Africa’s STI on a comparative global scale. Although Africa is
not homogenous, the challenges and opportunities in most count
ries are similar. It is evident that
African countr
ies can be grouped into three categories in terms of their technological advances.
South Africa is in own group. North Africa is generally more advanced than the rest of Sub
-
Sahara
Africa. However, the disparities between the African countries or African

regions are small
compared to the disparities between Africa as a whole compared to other regions. For the purpose of
this presentation, Africa will be considered as one.


REVIEW OF THE CODIST II CONCEPT PAPER


It is a well researched paper that gives a
relevant and balanced view of the issues that characterise the
status of STI in Africa. It is also very well referenced.

The paper reminds us of previous
declarations by African governments on the importance of science, technology and innovation to
socio
-
economic developments. It also notes that these declarations have not been matched with the
required financial allocations to STI

programmes.


3


REVIEW OF THE KEYNOTE SPEECH



The paper is well structured and gives a broad overview of the status of STI in A
frica against
that of
the rest of the world. The paper draws on recent information of the World Bank and the African
Development Bank. It thus has that economic bias.


In dealing with Africa, the Keynote paper groups North Africa with the rest of the Mid
dle East
leaving Sub
-
Sahara Africa as separate.


In the analysis of the industrial performance of Africa, more data on manufacturing is given than any
other industrial sector. The paper employs the UNIDO Competitive Industrial Performance Index
(CIP), t
he Global Competitive Index (GCI) and the Knowledge Economy Index (KEI) for
comparative analysis. The paper picks also Tunisia in Africa for detailed comparison with India and
Malaysia and draw lessons for the rest of Africa.


The paper arrives as the sam
e conclusion as arrived at using other set of indicators. The conclusion
is that Africa’s industrial performance is dismal. The paper gives detailed definitions of Innovation
and the complex National Innovations Systems to assist policy makers to underst
and these concepts
with a view to making informed policy decisions.


On STI the paper recommends investment in extensive training and research as necessary steps
toward transforming the continent into a knowledge society. He recommends concentrating the
limited resources towards well targeted research.





INDICATORS OF THE
CURRENT STATUS OF AFRICA’S STI


Many studies and reports on the state of science, technology and innovation in Africa have been
published. The
assessment of STI

in
African countries

has been done

on the basis of indicators t
hat
situate a country’s STI

relative to others
.


One such indicator is the
Technology Achievement Index
(TAI)

which is a composite of many indicators that reflect a country’s technological progress and
capacity to

participate in the global technology development networks.

The TAI focuses on four
dimensions of technological capacity, namely,
creation of technology, diffusion of recent
innovations, diffusion of old innovations,
and
human skills.















4


Table
1: List of individual indicators of the Technology Achievement Index (TAI)


Type of
Indicator


Indicator


Unit


Definition



Creation of
Technology


Patents

Patents granted

per 1 000 000
people

Number of patents granted to residents, to
reflect the
current level of invention activities


Royalties



US$ per 1 000
people

Receipts of royalty and license fees from
abroad per capita, so as to reflect the stock of
successful innovations of the past that are still
useful and hence have market value


Diffusion of
recent
innovations


Internet

Internet hosts per

1 000 people

Diffusion of the Internet, which is
indispensable to participation in the network
age


Exports

%

Exports of high and medium technology
products as a share of total goods exports




Diffussion
of old
innovations



Telephones


Telephone lines

per 1 000 people

(log)

Number of telephone lines (mainline and
cellular), which represents old innovation
needed to use newer technologies and is also
pervasive input to a multitude of human
activities


Electricity


KWh per capita

(log)

Electricity consumption, which represen
ts old
innovation needed to use newer technologies
and is also pervasive input to a multitude of
human activities




Human
Skills


Schooling


Y
ears

Mean years of schooling (age 15 and above),
which represents the basic education needed
to develop cognitive skills


University


%

Gross enrolment ratio of tertiary students
enrolled in science, mathematics and
engineering, which reflects the human
skills
needed to create and absorb innovations


The
results show three trends: a table

of great disparities among countries, diversity and

dynamism in
technological progress amon
g developing countries and a table

of technology

hubs superimposed on
countries at differen
t levels of development. The table
of great disparities shows four

group of
countries
(Table 2
),
with TAI values ranging

from 0.744 for Finland to 0.066 for Mozambique.
T
hese countries can be considered

leaders, p
otential leaders, dynamic adopters or marginalized:



Leaders (TAI above 0.5)

topped by Finland, the United States, Sweden and Japan,

this group is at
the cutting edge of technological innovation. Technological

innovation is self
-
sustaining, and these
cou
ntries have high achievements in

technology creation, diffusion and skills. Coming fifth is the
Republic of Korea, and

eighth is Singapore


two countries that have advanced rapidly in
technology in

recent decades. This group is set apart from the rest by i
ts higher invention index,

with
a marked gap between Israel in this group and Spain in the next.



Potential leaders (0.35

0.49)

most of these countries have invested in high levels of

human skills
and have diffused old technologies widely but innovate
little. Each tends

to rank low in one or two
dimensions, such as diffusion of recent innovations or of

old inventions. Most countries in this group
have skill levels comparable to those in

the top group.


5




Dynamic adopters (0.20

0.34)

these countries are
dynamic in the use of new

technology. Most
are developing countries with significantly higher human skills than

the fourth group. Included are
Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, South Africa and Tunisia, among others. Many of these countries
have important h
igh
-
technology

industries and technology hubs, but the diffusion of old inventions is
slow and

incomplete.



Marginalized (below 0.20)

technology diffusion and skill building have a long way

to go in these
countries. Large parts of the population have not

benefited from the

diffusion of old technology.


Table 2: Technology Achievement Index ranking of 67 countries


Leaders

Potential Leaders

Dynamic adopters

Margninalised

Rank

Country

TAI

Rank

Country

TAI

Rank

Country

TAI

Rank

Country

TAI

1

Finland

0.74

18

Spain

0.48

34

Uruguay

0.34

60

Nicaragua

0.19

2

USA

0.73

19

Italy

0.47

34

Thailand

0.34

61

Pakistan

0.17

3

Sweden

0.70

19

Czeck R.

0.47

34

S. Africa

0.34

62

Senegal

0.16

3

Japan

0.70

21

Slovenia

0.46

37

Trinidad &
Tobago

0.33

63

Ghana

0.14

5

Korea,
S.

0.67

21

Hungary

0.46

38

Panama

0.32

64

Kenya

0.13

6

Netherla
nds

0.63

23

Slovakia

0.45

39

Brazil

0.31

65

Tanzania

0.08

7

UK

0.61

24

Greece

0.44

40

Phillipines

0.30

65

Nepal

0.08

8

Canada

0.59

25

Portugal

0.42

40

China

0.30

67

Sudan

0.07

8

Australia

0.59

26

Poland

0.41

42

Bolivia

0.28

6
7

Mozambi
que

0.07

10

Norway

0.58

26

Bulgaria

0.41

43

Peru

0.27

World Average

0.40

10

Germany

0.58

28

Malaysia

0.40

43

Columbia

0.27




12

Ireland

0.57

29

Mexico

0.39

45

Tunisia

0.26




13

New
Zealand

0.55

29

Croatia

0.39

45

Jamaica

0.26




13

Belgium

0.55

31

Romania

0.37

45

Iran

0.26




15

France

0.54

32

Costa
Rica

0.36

48

Paraguay

0.25




15

Austria

0.54

32

Chile

0.36

48

El
Salvador

0.25




17

Israel

0.51




48

Ecuador

0.25










51

Syria

0.24










51

Egypt

0.24










51

Dominica

0.24










54

Zimbabwe

0.22










54

Algeria

0.22










56

Indonesia

0.21










56

Hondurus

0.21










58

Sri Lanka

0.20










58

India

0.20





















6







0
0.5
1
1.5
2
2.5
World
Americas
Europe
Africa
Asia
Oceania
Fig 1. GERD as % of GDP

2002
2007
0
500
1000
1500
2000
2500
3000
3500
4000
4500
Wor;d
Americas
Europe
Africa
Asia
Oceania
Fig. 2 Researchers per million

2002
2007
Column1
0
10
20
30
40
50
60
World
Americas
Europe
Africa
Asia
Oceania
Fig 3. Internet users per 100

2002
2008

7


Fig. 4.

World % share of indicators
starting with the innermost going to the outermost:


1.

World % share of imports of high
-
tech products 2007

2.

World % share of exports of high
-
tech products 2007

3.

World % share of GERD 2007

4.

World % share of researchers 2007

5.

World % s
hare of scientific publications 2008

6.

World % share of

patents 2006

7.

World % share of
GDP

2007





Table 3. World % share of indicators


Region

High
Tech
Imports

High
Tech
Exports

GERD

Researchers

Publications

Patents

GDP

World

100.0

100.0

100.0

100.0

100.0

100.0

100

Americas

21.4

17.7

37.9

25.4

35.3

43.2

31.3

Europe

34.2

36.0

27.4

29.5

42.5

27.8

29.0

Africa

1.4

0.3

0.9

2.2

2.0

0.1

3.9

Asia

41.7

45.8

32.2

40.9

30.7

31.9

34.5

Oceania

1.3

0.2

1.6

2.0

3.4

1.8

1.4

Ranking of regions by the above
indicators

1

2

3

4

5

Asia

Europe

Americas

Africa

Oceania

Asia

Europe

Americas

Africa

Oceania

Americas

Asia

Europe

Oceania

Africa

Asia

Europe

Americas

Africa

Oceania

Europe

Americas

Asia

Oceania

Africa

America

Asia

Europe

Oceania

Africa

Asia

Americas

Europe

Africa

Oceania


Americas
Europe
Africa
Asia
Oceania

8


On the basis of the above STI indictors it is perhaps predictable that Africa is the poorest and most
marginalised continent in the world. It is associated with poverty, food insecurity, diseases,
unemployment, industrial stagnation and poor infrastructur
e. As a result the continent is vulnerable
to foreign interventions and global market fluctuations for its commodities. Other compounding
factors include political instability and conflicts that are internally and/or externally induced,
population growth.


The UNDP Human Development Index is a composite measure of health, education and income.
Countries are ranked according to this index and are grouped as having a Very High Development,
High Human Development, Medium Human Development, and Low Human Deve
lopment. The
Human Development Report of 2010 has assessed 169 countries with 42 or 43 in each of the above
groups. African countries in the respective groups are 0, 3, 12 and 35 thus constituting 0%, 3%, 12%
and 83% in each group, respectively. Thus Af
rican countries dominate in the group having low
human development index.






AFRICA’S COMPARATIVE ADVANTAGES


Natural resources of Africa

Africa

has a large quantity of
natural resources

including oil, diamonds, gold, iron, cobalt,
uranium, copper, baux
ite, silver, petroleum, but also woods and tropical fruits. It has lots of its
natural resources undiscovered or barely tapped. Having a low human density, for a long period of
time Africa has been colonized by more dynamic groups, exploiting African resou
rces. Some
economists have talked about the 'scourge of raw materials', large quantities of rare raw materials
putting Africa under heavy pressures and tensions, leading to wars and slow development.



African oil

African oil takes growing importance, mainly after the 2003 oil crisis and recent
oil reserves

discoveries. Sudan and Nigeria are two of the main oil producers. Oil is provided by both continental
a
nd offshore productions.

Very High HDI
High HDI
Medium HDI
Low HDI
%African
0
7
29
83
0
10
20
30
40
50
60
70
80
90
Fig 5: % African countries in HDI ranking
groups


9


Five countries dominate Africa's upstream oil production. Together they account for 85% of the
continent's oil production and are, in order of decreasing output, Nigeria, Libya, Algeria, Egypt and
Angola. Other oil producing countr
ies are Gabon, Congo, Cameroon, Tunisia, Equatorial Guinea, the
Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Cote d'Ivoire. Exploration is taking place in a number of
other countries that aim to increase their output or become first time producers. Included in th
is list
are Chad, Sudan, Namibia, South Africa and Madagascar while
Mozambique

and
Tanzania

are
potential gas producers.
[1]


Ores

Ore resources in Africa are abundant, and extremely more so nowadays as other continents are
beginning to face depletion of resources.

The
Mineral industry of
Africa

is one of the largest
mineral industries

in the world. Africa is the second biggest continent, with 30 million km²
of land,
which implies large quantities of resources. For many African countries,
mineral exploration

and
production constitute significant parts of their economies and remain keys to future
economic
growth. Africa is richly endowed with mineral reserves and ranks first or second in quantity of world
reserves of
bauxite
,
cobalt
, industrial
diamond
,
phosphate rock
,
platinum
-
group m
etals (PGM)
,
vermiculite
, and
zirconium
.
[1]

Gold

mining is Africa's main mining resource.


African mineral reserves rank 1st or 2nd for bauxite, cobalt, diamonds, phosphate rocks, platinum
-
group metals (PGM), vermiculite, and zirconium.
[3]

Many other minerals are also present in quantity.
The 2005 share of world production from African soil is the following

:
bauxite

9%;
aluminium

5%;
chromite

44%;
cobalt

57%;
copper

5%;
gold

21%;
iron ore

4%;
steel

2%;
lead

(Pb) 3%;
manganese

39%;
[4]

zinc

2%;
cement

4%; natural
diamond

46%;
graphite

2%;
phosphate rock

31%;
coal

5%;
mineral fuels

(including coal) &
petroleum

13%;
uranium

16%.
[5]





The minerals
resources offer two opportunities to African countries. The African countries can insist
that companies that wish to access the mineral resources should invest in a number of STI
programmes and projects. They could be required to fund university departme
nts of mining, geology
and metallurgy. This could be in the form of building the infrastructure, providing scholarships,
offering training, funding research done locally.

0
10
20
30
40
50
60
70
Fig 6: Africa's % share of selected world
mineral resources


10


Secondly, African countries can act in concert to form cartels around certain commodities like
platinum, diamond, cobalt, chromite etc for which African countries collectively have the significant
share of world’s commodities in question.


Fresh water

Afri
ca contains many lakes and rivers, allowing in some small fishing industry. The deep rivers of
Africa have significant hydroelectric value. Lake Victoria is Africa's 2nd biggest lake. Lake Volta in
Ghana is the world's largest artificial lake.


Ocean

The A
tlantic and Indian Oceans on Africa's coast allow further enterprises such as: fishing, mining,
and offshore oil drilling. Its coastlines are teeming with fish and other sea life.


STI
LESSONS FROM OTHER COUNTRIES


STI policies must be harmonised with

other policies such as trade policy and

Industrial Policy, the
latter being

any selective government intervention to promote the development of specific
sectors
.
There are lessons to learn from industrial and innovation policies of other countries
such a
s China and India to get insights into their rapid catch
-
up strategies.

They also illustrate
contrasting development strategies


China a more traditional labour intensive export strategy,
India a new knowledge intensive service export strategy.


I
ndustri
al policy and infant industry protection have been important in the development o
f both
China and India, and it can be argued that

they would not be the strong global players they are

today

if they had not had some industrial policy.

African countries are
, by and large,
in the catch
up phase

like China and India two decades or so

ago. Three

issues
seem to be critical:
how were
they able to avoid having their industries become permanent infants, what was the role of lax
intellectual property protection, and

to what extent will they be able to go beyond imitation to
technology development.


The following
Industrial Policy

interventions were implemente
d individually
:
Direct state
ownership
;
Selective credit allocation
;
Favourable tax treatment to specific
industries
;
Tariff and
non
-
tariff barriers to imports
;
Restrictions on FDI
;
Local content requirements
;
Special IPR
policies
;
Government procurement
;
Promotion of large domestic firms
; a
void
ing

permanent
infant industries especially by trying to develop
indeg
inously only; rather develop

broad and
sophisticated industry for the long term
; and
Encourage SMEs: reserve by law certain products
to small industries
.


This was complemented
by other interventions and programmes as follows
:

Massive investment
in Hi
gher Eduction

(China); invest
ment

in a small number of elite engineering & management
schools (India)
;
Manufacturing hub of the world (China); Major offshore service centre (India)
through outsourcing
of knowledge
-
based services.


Strategies for tapping in
to global knowledge

include
d

Trade, FDI, technology licensing, copying
and reverse engineering
;
Foreign education and training
; a
ccessing information in print and
internet
; large market pull; and
Technology parks
that attract

Diaspora has attracted them ba
ck
;



11


Increase in s
pending on R&D

is needed for Multinational companies (MNCs) to
do R&D locally to
adapt their goods and services to the domestic market;

in addition MNCs increasingly set up
R&D centres aimed at developing products and services for the glo
bal market: cost
-
effectiveness of hiring relatively low
-
wage scientist and engineers
.


While the above strategies can be adapted and adopted for Africa there are c
hallenges

that
were/are not experienced by India and China.

The emergence of India and China
on the world
stage are pre
-
emptying some traditional development advice to African countries because of
the
first mover
advantages and economic scale.

Competitive Chinese exports are reducing the
price of labour intensive manufacturing goods to the world
as a whole. This is putting pressure
on other exporters of labour intensive manufacturers. Africa is feeling the heat especially in the
textile industry.

China is resource scarce. It needs to import commodities and thereby raising the
prices of commoditie
s. This has created a windfall for many African countries. This creates a
false sense of optimism. Commodity prices are cynical and they will fall sooner or later. Unless
the Africa
n

countries invest these temporary windfalls wisely in strengthening ec
onomic and
institutional regimes, in education and innovations capabilities much tougher times awaits us.



Technological development is one of India’s drivers for the strong economic growth. This is due to
(i) increase in GERD especially from the private

sector (ii) public R&D strongly supported
especially in high
-
tech areas such as space science, ICT, pharmaceuticals. Also R&D has become
more commercial and market
-
driven; (iii) increase in the quality and quantity of scientists; tertiary
institutions foc
ussing on science and engineering have increased (iv) increase of a number of foreign
R&D centres by MNCs! (v) Indian companies investing abroad and acquiring important technology
-
based companies in medium
-
tech and high
-
tech sectors.


The Chinese
Governmen
t has issued a series of innovation policies with a view to establishing an
enterprise
-
centred national innovation system and making China an innovation
-
driven nation by
2020. Capacity building has become the core of the country’s nationa
l strategies with
eight thrusts:
(i) a boost for investment in R&D (ii) tax incentives for investment in STI (iii) a government
procurement policy to promote innovation (iv) innovation based on assimilating imported advanced
technology (v) capacity
-
building in generating an
d protecting IPRs (vi) building national
infrastructure and platforms for STI (vii) cultivating and utilising talents for STI (viii) supporting
endogenous innovation via financial measures.


Challenges posed by China and India

Although the rapid growth of
China offers export opportunities for manufactured goods, raw
materials and commodities, components and capital goods from Africa challenges from both
China and India persist for a variety of reasons. Both China and India still have

low labour
intensive e
xports;
they enjoy economies of scale beyond any individual African country.
The
development of
Africa’s
regional institutions and infrastructure brings economies of scale and
may unleash major economic benefits. The strengthening of the regional economic

entities
(COMESA, EAC, ECOWAS, IGAD, SADC and AU itself) is vital.

Both China and India are already
well integrated into global supply and distribution chains thro
ugh MNCs and their vast
diaspora.
They are therefore moving the technology ladder by expor
ting more technology intensive
goods. For Africa it is probably too late to break into the ICT enabled service market given
India’s very strong headstart.




12


Other challenges facing Africa


The other challenges to Africa include tighter international trade

regulations which India and
China previously broke; now the degree of flexibility has been substantially reduced. There is
also pressure to reduce tariff and non
-
tariff barriers to imports as a result of trade policy
liberalisation encouraged by GATT. T
here are also stronger rules about subsidies and other
indirect support to special industries as well as stronger teeth in the enforcement of IPR
regulations. The whole global system has become more demanding; the market economy is a
much more global mark
et because of reduction in transport, communication costs, tariff and
non
-
tariff
barriers. India and China have l
arge economies of scale in purchasing, branding,
advertising and distribution. Critical mass of highly educated professionals are powering rapi
d
move up the technology ladder to become important global players. There huge investments in
ICT; China in the hardware and India in the software



AFRICA’S
OPTIONS
FOR

INNOVATION
-
BASED

INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT


World trade in higher value
-
added products
and services and especially in high tech has been
growing much faster than trade in raw materials that still dominate African exports.

Africa’s share of
global trade is still marginal, being about 3% (ADB, 2009). Most countries continue to be
predominantly

producers of raw materials: agricultural, mineral commodities and oil.


At the Political level

African countries have to nurture p
olitical stability

to ensure continuous uninterrupted growth. There
is need for p
olitical
commitment

and leadership

in STI.
African countries will need to design and
implement
informed
policies, as well as create institutional arrangements, which promote the
development and application of S&T to solving specific problems related to each of the MDGs.

There should be p
olicy consistencies without arbitrary policy reversals

as
shifting priorities disturb
programme execution.


STI p
olicy
must be harmonised

with other policies
. S
trong political leadership is necessary

in order
to bring about better integration of cross
-
cutt
ing STI policies with overall development policies,
including economic, financial, budgetary, fiscal, labour, agricultural, industrial a
nd micro
-
enterprise
development.

STI should move from the periphery to the centre of the development policy process
and

pervade all relev
ant policy areas.

STI may require the appointment of high
-
profile, credible and
respected S&T advisors to the Head of State. There is need to weave all STI programmes and
activities into a single national system.

African countries must design and implement i
ndustrial/trade
policy

that intervene

in support of innovations

Investment in all levels of Education

and capacity building

Perimeters of international competitiveness are increasingly S&T
-
based

If Africa aspir
es to build a
sustainable knowledge economy and become world player in STI we must build strong foundations
in primary and second
ary

level education and our systems need to develop to make this happen.
Interest in science must be stimulated at an early stage and fostered throughout the educational
system.




13


Primary School Education

At primary level, the introduction of science into the

curriculum must be accompanied by in
-
service
training of teachers. However, the link between the primary and secondary cycles needs to be
st
rengthened. In the colleges of e
ducation more emphasis needs to be placed on science teaching
methodologies and on
awareness of scientific issues. These issues will have to be addressed in the
context of the primary science curriculum.

Secondary School Education

At
secondary level the

syllabus
must be

based on a more investigative approach

especially in physics
and chemistry
balancing the content of the science curriculum in the dir
ection of problem solving
and providing

technical assistance for schools to facilitate practical coursework.

Higher Education

Higher education performs a number

of societal functions, including developing human capital,
building the knowledge base (through research and knowledge development), and disseminating,
using, and maintaining knowledge (
OECD

2008
).

S&E higher education provides the advanced skills
needed for a competitive workforce and, particularly in the case of graduate S&E education, the
research capability necessary for innovation.

Quality and diversified higher education and training strongly oriented towards the acquisition of
knowledge, reinforcement of critical skills and competences for utilization of scientific and
technological know
-
how is indispensable.
Higher edu
cation (toge
ther with key

research institutes) is
the engine

room of the system of innovation. The general

approach has

to be

to develop the higher

education system as the focal point for learning, scholarship, research and innovation.

There are
considerable merits in

this approach. Talented, educated people are central to

the knowledge society
and the higher education system is the wellspring of advanced skills

and learning.

There is need to
renew and strengthen un
i
versity programmes, enhancing quality and delivering

an even more
flexible and adaptable labour force, with a lifelong capacity to react to change and innovation;

We
must continue to focus on widening participation, lifelong learning and flexible educational
provision, making the learning resources of the u
niversity available to a wider group throughout their
working and professional lives;

Postgraduate and Postdoctoral Education

Advanced research and postgraduate and postdoctoral education have vital

spinoff benefits for the
quality of teaching and learning

at undergraduate level. A higher

education system which is strongly
research and innovation oriented has the potential for

mutually beneficial interaction with the
enterprise sector.


World

class research and world class people are at the heart of the sys
tem

of innovation. Without
scientific and technological talent, groundbreaking

innovation is nearly

impossible. Organisations
without the necessary talent are

confined to adapting other people’s ideas and technology: following,
rather than leading.

Incremental innovation is valuable, but of itself will not reshape Africa’s

14


economy for the

challenges of the tw
enty first century. B
uilding a good research system requires
dedication, persistence and sustained commitment.

Specifically there is need to in
vest at the
postgraduate and postdoctoral level in order
to provide a new cohort of graduates at the doctoral and

postdoctoral level

who are Africa’s
future innovat
ors and knowledge entrepreneurs.

Consideration must be given to e
stablish
ing

mechanisms by w
hich primary and seco
ndary education
is linked to

higher education

and postgraduate level

providing an educational continuum with better
public

understanding of
,

and interest in
,

research and innovation, which will in turn ensure greater

participation in these areas at
the higher education and postgraduate level.

The impact of the research base on the economy is measured by its two key outputs
:

highly educated
people and new knowledge
.

It is e
ssential, therefore, that African
countries pl
ace a particular
emphasis on

quality
-

both in terms of the research work itself and also by achieving the critical mass
of

people and infrastructure to support that research.

Every effort must be made

to ensure that the
system is truly competitive in term
s of sustainability, scale,

coherence and qua
lity. In striving for
innovation

we have two overarching goals:

t
o build up a s
ustainable system of

research teams in
terms of people

and supporting infrastructure.

Highly skilled people are key

to the creation, commercialization, and diffusion of innovation.
Doctorate holders are not only the most qualified in terms of educational attainment, but they are
also specifically trained to conduct research.

Two indicators are most telling. First, in
many African
countries,

faculty positions are being filled

by professors who have only a bachelors or masters
degree.

Across Africa t
he extent to which bachelor degree holders make up an important part of the

professoriate, and the large proportion of Mast
er’s holders, is a clear indication that the
continent
needs more qualified staff, if the teaching and research mandates of universities are to be

enhanced.

The role of research in

universities is both to create

new knowledge and to educate students who wi
ll
become

the future generations of researchers and teachers. Doctoral scientists and

engineers in
academia

are an important aspect of academic

R&D, as they generally engage in both research and teaching.

The shortage of doctoral degree holders also limits

the extent to which high quality

docto
rate
students can be trained.


Second, as faculty members age and begin to retire, many universities will
lose some of their

most experienced, and academically qualified, teaching staff.

With inevitable
retirement
of

elderly academics
, and public universities catering to the vast majority of students, it

is
clear that the future

will be very challenging for staff replenishment to meet the needs of

students as
a significant percentage

of current staff in those institutions
.
In fact the fact that public

and private
universities depend on staff members who are passed their retirement ages is a clear manifestation
that it is imperative to cultivate a requisite number of new generation
of
academics to sustain the
mandate of these

institutions.






15




Researcher Careers

Human resources, in the form of sufficient numbers of suitably educated, high quality

people, are
essential to the achievement of the objectives for the research base. This
has

implications both for
education at all levels up to and including undergraduate (to ensure

a ‘pipeline’ of people interested
in and qualified for a ca
reer in science or engineering
) as

well as for the country’s ability to attract
mobile international r
esearch talent. One factor

which impinges on both these issues is the
availability of an attractive career structure for

people interested in doing research. The development
of more visible career paths will

make science more attractive and h
as the potenti
al to give Africa

a
competitive advantage

in the international market for top researchers.

The increase in

investment in research, together with the progress

made towards the development of
a state of the art infrastructure and the

growing integration of h
igher education research with
enterprise and sectoral research,

provide the foun
dations for Africa

as a highly stimulating place to
conduct

re
search. Unfortunately Africa presently

does not yet have a sufficiently high profile as a
location

of choice for w
orld class research. This makes the recruitment of the best researchers
and
our own diaspora
from

abroad a continuing challenge.


Investment in R&D

Africa has to build and fund

institutions
that have capacity for innovations
.
Science and Technology
infrastructures must be strengthened
.


Appropriate r
emuneration to curb brain drain

is a necessary price
.
“The problems of an applied
nature which have special relevance to African countries will not be tackled by chemists in
laboratories in the industria
lized countries. They can only be tackled in the African countries, where
the major part of the qualified scientific manpower that can engage in any kind of research at
present is in the universities.”

-

F. G. Torto, Head, Dept. of Chemistry, Univ. of
Ghana in the ’60s

0
10000
20000
30000
40000
50000
60000
70000
80000
90000
Americas
Europe
Africa
Asia
Oceania
Fig 7: Earned S&E Doctorates in 2006


16


Given Africa’s rich natural resources i
t is
strategic to fund R&D in
niche areas

that have prospects of
leapfrogging such as Biotechnology, ICT, Materials research (with nanotechnology bias), renewable
energy especially solar given the lo
ng hours of sunshine in most African countries.


Building Africa’s Capacity for material sciences

(Flagship project under CPA)

The poor state of Africa’s infrastructure (e.g. roads, energy, telecommunications, rails and houses) is
a major impediment to eco
nomic and social development. It undermines the continent’s efforts to
stimulate the emergence and growth of industries, including small and medium scale enterprises. The
lack of good infrastructure is also one of the sources of low foreign direct investme
nt in and
technology transfer to many African countries.


The development of new and improvement of existing infrastructure is dependent on economic,

structural and ecological factors. Most of the continent’s economies are not capable of developing
and sus
taining large infrastructures that are developed using foreign materials. The costs of
constructing and maintaining roads, rails and houses are relatively high in many African countries
mainly because of over
-
reliance on foreign materials. In addition some
, if not most, of the imported
materials are not suited to Africa’s tropical and semi
-
tropical conditions. The use of unsuitable
imported materials to develop infrastructure in Africa not only increases the burden on national
budgets but may also cause irr
eversible environmental damage.


There is relatively weak scientific and technical capacity for materials research in most African

countries. Few institutions on the continent have the physical and human capacities to conduct
research and develop new mater
ials. To address this challenge, African leaders have agreed on
activities that build endogenous scientific and technical capacities to conduct research and innovation
in materials. The first NEPAD Ministerial Conference on Science and Technology adopted a

flagship
programme for materials research.


This proposed programme aims at building Africa’s capacity to engage in materials research and
related

technology development. Its overall objective is to strengthen the existing African network on
materials

res
earch. One of the projects was the
Strengthening the African Materials Research
Society
.
The African Materials Research Society (Africa
-
MRS) was formed in December 2002 in
Dakar,

Senegal.


The African
-
MRS is the only continental network dedicated to
materials science
and technology

development
.

Its main objectives are:

• To promote excellence in all aspects of materials research in Africa

• To act as a networking centre to stimulate multi
-
disciplinary collaboration between researchers

on
the continent
.

• To strengthen national and cross
-
border linkages between governmental science desks, research

organisations, manufacturing industry and higher education for appropriate policy development.

• To encourage high
-
level human resource development in materia
ls science.

• To identify and stimulate international linkages that will act to both broaden and deepen the

skills and competence base for materials research in Africa.


The Africa
-
MRS
Conference

in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe 11
-
16 December 2011

The
Africa
-
MRS

conference series
, has its origins in the August 2000‘US
-
Africa Materials
Workshop’, held in Pretoria, South Africa with an overarching objective of developing materials
research capacity in Africa. Building on this initiative, on 12 December 20
02, the Africa
-
MRS was
officially launched in Dakar. Subsequent biennial Africa MRS International Conferences where held
in South Africa (2003), Morocco (2005), Tanzania (2007) and Nigeria (2009). The 6th Africa
-
MRS
biennial Conference will be held in the
picturesque Victoria Falls, in

Zimbabwe from 11
-
16
December, 2011. In a true reflection of the multidisciplinary nature of materials research, the

17


Victoria Falls Conference will have a balanced focus on current and emerging materials research
themes, including some of special interest t
o Africa. Key international champions in the various
fields will discuss recent breakthroughs and future R&D directions. The conference will also provide
an important opportunity for scientific and policy dialogue, as well as continental & intercontinental

networking and exchange of ideas. It is hoped that the conference will help define priorities,
challenges, and perspectives for materials research in Africa and globally.


Six schools and workshops are planned, which will bring international students fac
e
-
to
-
face with
various champions in the different areas of materials research and also provide a platform for
discourse between material scientists and policy makers. The conference places a special emphasis
on students presenting their research findings.


Themes for the 6th Africa
-
MRS Conference:

1. Materials Education and Networking
:
Teaching of materials science and engineering;
Curriculum development; Web/internet and distance learning; Research and teaching collaborations
.
2. Nanomaterials and Nanotec
hnology
:
Nanoparticles/nanomaterials synthesis; Functionalisation
of nanomaterials; Applications of Nanotechnology
.
3
. Basic Sciences of Materials
:
Synthesis of
materials; Characterisation of materials; Crystal structure of materials; Properties of materia
ls; Laser
production and applications; Material degradation, including wear and corrosion; Computational
Materials Science (Theory and Simulation)
.
4
. Materials for Energy and Sustainability:

Energy
storage

batteries, supercapacitors; Solar energy; Photovo
ltaic energy; Solar thermal; CO2 and other
gases sequestration; Catalysis; Other renewable energy: biofuels, wind, water, etc.
5
. Infrastructure
Materials
:
Cement and Concrete materials, including; research needs and opportunities; Sustainable
construction
materials; Infrastructure materials durability/reliability
.
6
. Raw Materials
Beneficiation and Mineral Processing
:
Extraction and processing of materials; Foundry
Technology, Physical Metallurgy, etc.; Materials recycling/above ground mining
.
7
. Materials
for
Life, Health and the Environment:

Biomaterials; Nanomedicine; Water

treatment/purification,
transport, storage; Nanotoxicology
-

safety and health issues; Environmental remediation and
stewardship
.
8
. F
rontiers of Materials Research:
In addition to sev
eral high level talks, we will
hold separate sessions on polymers, organics, composites, ceramics, lasses,

metals, oxides, alloys,
nitrides, etc.


Workshops and Schools:

(
1
)
. Bridging the R&D
-

Commercialisation Chasm

(
2
)

Crystallography
Workshop

(3)

School of Biomaterials

(
4
)

African Materials Science and Engineering Network

(AMSEN) Workshop

(
5
)
. Energy Tutorial/Workshop

(
6
)
. Workshop for African Governments and
International Organization Officials Involved in Science and Technology.


RECOMMENDATIONS


1.

At the p
olitical level

Strong
political

commitment and visionary leadership of STI
l

at national level

to work in
concert

with other policy makers

at regional and continental level;
political stability; policy
interventions in support of STI.

2.

Investment
in Capacity Building


Primary Education
,
Secondary Education
,
Tertiary Education
,
Postgraduate

level Education

3.

Investment in R&D especially in niche areas

Increase GERD as a percentage of GDP to 1%

4.

Support Africa
Materials

Research Society

programme
s

This
a flagship programme under the Consolidated Plan of Action adopted by AU.