African leaders and researchers deliberate on emerging paradigms, technologies and innovations

African leaders and researchers deliberate on emerging paradigms, technologies and innovations for sustainable development at the African Technology Policy Studies Network (ATPS) conference 2012.The conference is the most inclusive event held each year to discuss Africa’s Science, Technology and Innovation trends and development Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, November 22, 2012-African leaders and scholars from 29 countries from Africa, Australia, Europe, United States of America, India and Africans in the Diaspora gathered in Addis Ababa from November 19 to22 to deliberate on emerging paradigms, technologies and innovations for sustainable development in a post Rio+20 world.

Organized every year by ATPS (www.atpsnet.org) in collaboration with its partners, the conference was hosted at the new Africa Union Commission under the theme “Emerging Paradigms, Technologies and Innovations for Sustainable Development: Global Imperatives and African realities”.

The conference and workshops reflected on a post-Rio+20 futures for Africa.

The optimism that the Rio+20 conference outcomes was expected to deliver greater global commitment to sustainable development and encourage countries of the global north to step up development assistance to African countries was well placed.

To make good use of the global commitments to sustainable development in Africa, African countries will need strategic transformative reforms in its Science, Technology and Innovation(STI) knowledge structures, institutions and governance structures, Agricultural and resources systems research and policy, intra-Africa cooperation, knowledge circulation and networks and development pathways that enhance transitions towards wealth creation for inclusive green growth and development on the continent.

“Without aggressive policies and commitment to build endogenous capacities on the continent, Africa will remain a knowledge consumer not a knowledge producer in the third industrial revolution,” said Prof. Kevin Urama, the Executive Director of the ATPS.

Though Africa’s scientific capacities and Gross Domestic Products (GDP) growth have improved during the past decade, technological and innovation capacities remain low and the requisite institutional and governance infrastructures are only just emerging. “Whereas there are pockets of success in application of STI including the mobile telephony and telecommunications, among other fields, which significantly contributed to the sustained economic growth in the continent during the past decade, the continent generally lags behind her peers in skills and competencies required to fully reap the benefits afforded by STI for its
development,” he said.

ATPS further maintains that Africa cannot afford to remain recluse of the emerging global realities and social, economic and environmental challenges,neither should she remain a global consumer of knowledge, technologies and innovations in the new global economy.

“There is need for Africa to build home-grown technologies and innovations for sustainable development on the continent,” said Prof. Shaukat Abdulrazak the Chair of the ATPS Board and Chief Executive Officer/Secretary of the Kenya’s National Council for Science and Technology.

Africa’s growth if not driven by a diversified production structure essentially in manufacturing that would deliver quality jobs and raise incomes, would remain trepid, fragile and susceptible to negative shocks.

“Unfortunately, Africa’s initial attempts were not very successful. Rather than re-strategize, Africa and those advising Africa abandoned this strategy completely in spite of its being responsible for the basic industrial structure that currently exist,” said Prof. Osita Ogbu, the director of the Institute for Development Studies based at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka.

About the 2012 ATPS international conference and workshop: The overall purpose of the conference is to critically examine the current conditions, barriers and opportunities based on this year’s theme and to provide options for transitions to more inclusive sustainable development in Africa. It is expected that African policy makers, private sector and civil society appraised of the
cons and pros of alternative development pathways and policy choices.

Source: ATPSN – Press Release – 22 November 2012