STI News

  • Reverse the brain drain, says President

    The President of Kenya Mwai Kibaki has called on academic and research institutions as well as the private sector in Africa to put the policies and the infrastructure in place that will attract and retain top-notch scientists. “[M]uch more needs to be done to ensure Africa becomes a global hub for innovations,” he said.

    Kibaki was opening a conference of African Ministers responsible for  Science Technology and Innovation (STI) in Nairobi, Kenya as part of the first African Forum on STI.
    Before speaking the President and First Lady, Lucy Kibaki, toured Africa on the Move, an exhibition of about 40 innovations, the majority from Kenya, that forms part of the forum. He said for Africa to compete in the global market it needed technologies that would set of the continent's industrial revolution.

  • Focus on climate change, renewable energy

    Countries lacked political commitment to draft national action plans and set up monitoring frameworks dealing with renewable energy and climate change. Increasing the political will was therefore a key challenge that had to be overcome to seize opportunities to create a future in which there was food, water and health security. This came to the fore in a discussion on renewable energy and climate change as part of a session at the first African Forum on Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) in Nairobi, Kenya. Those attending the session also called for capacity building targets and training and support for the provisioning of sustainable energy infrastructure in rural areas.

  • Reshaping the higher education sector

    Higher education in Africa has registered impressive growth in the last two decades. The number of institutions has increased and the existing ones expanded. Student enrollments have sky-rocketed, constraining available infrastructure, resources and staff. The dominant role public universities played in the initial decades of independence, has been breached with the entry of private universities and colleges into the arena. With this expansion came issues of access and equity, financing, relevance of curriculum offerings, quality and a decline of research capacity and output.

    However, the capacity of most African states to articulate policies and strategies for reforms and to implement them is often lacking. A number of countries on the continent are currently termed fragile or failed states, meaning they have a limited capacity to drive their development agenda, let alone scientific and technological innovations.

  • Potential for homegrown health innovation huge

    Support the innovation pipeline.

    This was the call from approximately 25 health experts who gathered in Nairobi, Kenya to discuss how Science, Technology, and Innovation (STI) could be better harnessed to address health challenges in Africa. The meeting was part of the first African STI Forum.

    Confronted with the question on the initiatives that were needed to connect existing STI resources and partners into a ''collective action system” capable of solving specific challenges in health, the group's first choice was the innovation chain.

  • A road map for youth development

    Curricula designed to meet labour needs, well-governed mechanisms to connect ICT with youth and financial institutions and entrepreneurship education throughout the education system could help to revolutionize youth employment in Africa. This was the conclusion of participants who discussed youth employment during Africa's first forum on STI in Keyna, Nairobi. 

    Those present were searching for an answer on the question: What mechanisms or initiatives are needed to connect existing STI resources and partners into a collective action system capable of solving specific challenges in youth and employment?

  • Amazing Africa or Africa on the edge?

    The relevance of collaboration between government, academia, research, industry and civil society for the sake of development cannot be overstated, says Sara Farley. It is essential for progress.

    No longer can domains of knowledge – agronomy, biology, architecture, mechanical engineering, hydrology, zoology exist in silos. The challenges of today – silo-busting – are however complex.Those who succeed in tackling them are the solvers of what the Global Knowledge Initiative (GKI) calls - “The Collaboration Era”. In contrast to old notions of scientific discovery and technological advance, today's reigning theory of innovation is defined by linkages, interactions and cooperation. Dubbed the “innovation system” this framework offers a way of identifying and conceptualizing innovation at a function of an enabling background, actors, the interactions between them and the outputs of solutions produced. The questions we must ask ourselves is: how much does Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) matter for Africa's future and what are the costs of low participation in global collaborative innovation networks?