As an agency that publicises the science and technological development in Africa, we laud the Africa Union for launching Science, Technology and Innovation Strategy for Africa 2024 (STISA-2024) which places science, technology and innovation at the epicentre of Africa’s socio-economic development and growth.
The STISA-2024 has been developed during an important period when the African Union was formulating a broader and long-term AU Agenda 2063.
The STISA-2024 is the first of the ten-year incremental phasing strategies to respond to the demand for science, technology and innovation to impact across critical sectors such as agriculture, energy, environment, health, infrastructure development, mining, security and water among others.
The strategy is firmly anchored on six distinct priority areas that contribute to the achievement of the AU Vision. These priority areas are: Eradication of Hunger and Achieving Food Security; Prevention and Control of Diseases; Communication (Physical and Intellectual Mobility); Protection of our Space; Live Together- Build the Society; and Wealth Creation.
The strategy further defines four mutually reinforcing pillars which are prerequisite conditions for its success. These pillars are: building and/or upgrading research infrastructures; enhancing professional and technical competencies; promoting entrepreneurship and innovation; and providing an enabling environment for STI development in the African continent. Continental, regional and national programmes will be designed, implemented and synchronized to ensure that their strategic orientations and pillars are mutually reinforcing, and achieve the envisaged developmental impact as effectively as possible.
The implementation of STISA-2024 will take place at three levels. At the national level, Member States should incorporate this strategy into their National Development Plans. At the regional level, Regional Economic Communities (RECs), regional research institutions, networks and partners should leverage the strategy in designing and coordinating initiatives. At the continental level, the African Union Commission (AUC), NEPAD Agency and their partners should advocate and create awareness, mobilize necessary institutional, human and financial resources, track progress and monitor implementation.
Continental, regional and national targets and indicators will be defined to facilitate comparability of data and regular Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) of the programmes. AOSTI, ASRIC and NEPAD Agency shall put in place a harmonised mechanism that will support Member States and RECs to collect standardised data and report on performance periodically. The analysis of data, annual reports and regular progress reviews will constitute an important management tool of the entire system.
While there are conventional mechanisms for funding Research and Development (R&D) and Innovation, it is essential to establish efficient, effective and coordinated financing mechanisms to implement the strategy. The AUC and NEPAD Agency shall mobilize and coordinate resources for technical support in developing and implementing national and regional plans and priority programmes. AU Member States and RECs will take a lead role in mobilizing public, private and donor resources for the coordinated implementation of national and regional programmes.