Displaying 1-20 of 24 key documents
Source: UNU-MERIT | June, 2011
This paper describes two case studies of smallholder farms in South Africa to assess the processes involved in agricultural innovation carried out jointly with farmers. It highlights the importance of experimentation and cooperation for cash crop and subsistence farmers, and reviews current policies to evaluate how grassroots innovation is being supported in South Africa.
The paper points to inadequate policy support for grassroots innovation. It outlines the characteristics of innovation systems including social contexts, learning cycles and self-reflection, and discusses intellectual property rights. The authors identify triggers for innovation, including the potential to cut down on labour, and suggest that policymakers and local communities need to engage in cooperative activities to create an enabling environment for grassroots innovation. Policy suggestions include creating links between formal and informal research and viewing collaboration as a key indicator of success.
Source: Climate Change Adaptation and Development Initiative (CC DARE), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)
This paper suggests that research-based, small-scale interventions that help farming systems adapt to climate change can guide progress towards achieving food security and addressing the food crisis in the Horn of Africa.
It outlines lessons learnt from the Climate Change Adaptation and Development Programme jointly implemented by the UN Environment Programme and the UN Development Programme for Sub-Saharan Africa.
The authors argue for a shift away from top-down, corporate approaches to agricultural research and practice, in favour of a democratic approach that involves giving more decision-making power to local people, including farmers and indigenous people. Small-scale initiatives reduce tillage, protect the soil surface and alternate cereal crops with legumes that enrich the soil.
The paper suggests that communicating food security solutions to the public can help balance vested interests and level the field in favour of small producers. Managed effectively, the current drought in the Horn of Africa offers a window of opportunity to re-establish food security as a global priority.
Source: World Agroforestry Centre | April 2011
This report synthesises the results of a review of 104 studies on gender and the adoption of agroforestry in Africa, and aims to identify strategies that challenge gender imbalances in development initiatives. It explores women's participation in agroforestry, including their ability to manage agroforestry practices, access to agroforestry information, and how they benefit from agroforestry.
The results highlight the substantial benefits that agroforestry can offer to rural women in Africa, mainly because it requires fewer resources than alternative enterprises. But women's participation is low, with limited access to information and markets, and a mixed record of successful management of agroforestry technologies.
The report provides several technological, policy and institutional recommendations for improving the efficiency of women's participation in agroforestry. They include domesticating important tree species, and ensuring that women have access to market information and microfinance. The report concludes by suggesting further research in areas such as measuring the income that women generate from agroforestry, and identifying the key ingredients of success stories across Africa.
Source: International Food Policy Research Institute | February 2011
This report gives an overview of the challenges facing many African countries that have renewed their commitment to agricultural research and development (R&D). It outlines levels of staffing and public spending on agricultural R&D, country-specific analyses on what drives R&D growth, and an overview of funding sources.
New data presented in the report show that public spending on agricultural R&D and capacity levels — such as infrastructure and agricultural researchers — have increased since the 1990s in Sub-Saharan Africa. But a handful of countries account for this trend, with many others still dependent on external funding.
This report outlines key areas that governments, donors and other stakeholders must address to improve prospects for agricultural R&D. These include decades of underinvestment, challenges in human resource capacity and regional cooperation.
Source: Thomson Reuters | April 2010
This report, published by Thomson Reuters, uses a collection of data to provide an overview of the patterns of research activity in Africa. The authors note the drain of talent away from the continent and suggest that this is partly due to a chronic lack of investment in research.
The authors identify networks of collaboration both within and beyond the continent but conclude that it is unclear whether these networks reflect long-term research links, or current research interests.
Source: Council on Health Research for Development | May 2010
This report, endorsed by the African Ministerial Conference on Science and Technology, analyses the obstacles to providing better access to, and ensuring local production of, medicines in low- and middle-income African countries.
It presents a map of innovation and access activities across the continent and offers a planning tool — the Pharmaceutical Innovation Framework and Grid — to help countries do self-assessments, develop strategies, build capacity and partnerships and improve access to essential medicines.
This report, from the Network for the Coordination and Advancement of Sub-Saharan Africa-EU Science & Technology Cooperation (CAAST–Net), aims to promote cooperation in science and technology between Europe and Sub-Saharan Africa.
The authors argue that Africa must build up a domestic knowledge base and Europe must help transfer technology. In this regard, they evaluate European-African partnerships and African participation in both the EU Framework Programmes and the European Development Fund.
Source: World Bank | 2009
This World Bank report examines higher education in Sub-Saharan Africa, asking how it can stimulate economic growth in the region. Drawing on international experience and regional case studies, the authors argue that there is an urgent need for countries in Sub-Saharan Africa to invest in human capital and knowledge — and therefore higher education — to create a viable and growth-promoting industrial system, and cope with threats such as disease, population growth and climate change.
They discuss how and why human capital investment can lead to socioeconomic growth and review current practices in Sub-Saharan Africa. The authors propose a number of good practices to help countries in the region strengthen their higher education systems quickly and effectively.
Recommendations include developing a national strategy for developing human resources, reforming funding mechanisms for higher education, giving institutions decision-making powers, encouraging diversity and developing postgraduate programs to boost local research capacity.
Source: ACU | June 2005
This paper from the Association of Commonwealth Universities outlines the commitments and activities made by major international partners — specifically the G8 countries — to developing African higher education between 2000 and 2004.
Projects are analysed by topic — from human resources development to HIV/AIDS to science and technology — and region. The authors highlight trends in donors' strategies for supporting African higher education, presenting development portfolios and case studies from France, Germany, Scandinavia, the United Kingdom and the United States, among others. They suggest improvements in aid delivery, including collaboration between donors and increased communication about individual donor strategies. They also call for more networking and collaboration across higher education institutions within Africa, while noting that these face financial constraints.
The authors conclude that there is a particular need for donors to provide more support to science and technology projects — as a crucial driver of socioeconomic development.
Source: South African Journal of Science | December 2008
This paper examines the relative costs of research in South Africa and the apparent disparity in researchers' salaries. A 2004–2005 research and development survey provides data on the unit cost of research across higher education institutions (HEIs), science councils and the business sector. Analysis shows that research costs and salaries are highest in the business sector and lowest in HEIs, although the differences are not as wide as expected. Similarly, overhead costs are lowest in HEIs and highest in the business sector.
But the authors emphasise that while HEIs may provide the cheapest research — based on cost per hour — this does not mean that they necessarily provide the cheapest 'cost per deliverable', i.e. value to the client.
The authors call for more regular and detailed data to better understand the researcher labour market. They propose an annual salary survey focused on public sector researchers and a common pricing model for all institutions performing public research.
Source: International Development Research Centre | 1995
This book examines African science and technology policies, using a number of case studies from different sectors and countries. The key theme is that technology is central to development. The authors' stress that African countries must create an enabling macroeconomic environment, combined with effective technology policies, if the continent is to develop its own technological capabilities. The interaction between these two should facilitate technological learning, the building of appropriate institutions and effective technological management for industry and agriculture, both of which are important sources of income and employment in much of sub-Saharan Africa.
Source: UN University, Institute for New Technologies | 2005
This paper argues that conventional approaches to development and industrialisation are not appropriate for analysing poverty in sub-Saharan Africa because they disregard domestic technological progress and learning efforts.
Instead, the author suggests, a new approach based on innovation system creation, is needed for economic diversification and poverty reduction. This should focus on developing human capital, physical infrastructure and formal institutions to ensure that firms in sub-Saharan Africa can acquire, adapt and change technology.
Source: African Technology Policy Studies Network | 2002
This article assesses the status of scientific and technological capabilities in sub-Saharan Africa. In particular, it examines science and technology indicators and research priorities and discusses the strengths and weaknesses of science and technology organisations.
The author recommends that sub-Saharan countries be helped to build capacity in database management, to build a standardised framework across the region for science indicators. Donor agencies should build capacity through tailor-made training programmes or support for national courses, and should also use screening agencies to evaluate promising research results. Lastly, the author suggests that a policy framework that stimulates technical change within firms and encourages training at all levels from managers to technicians is needed.
Source: Burgundy School of Business and Management | 2002
This paper examines the accumulation of technological capabilities through interactive learning between foreign firms in South Africa and local businesses. It asks how collaborative learning can help develop technological capability and how it can be encouraged in South African industry.
The authors stress the role of trade policies in opening up the South African market, which has led to restructured industrial networks as firms improve or close down in the face of foreign competition. They conclude that the experience and capability of local multinational subsidiaries are key determinants of collaborative learning and that, although institutional support in South Africa is lacking, initiatives undertaken by individual firms can enhance learning among local businesses.
Source: UN University, Institute for New Technologies | 2001
This article looks at the factors affecting the technological development and export performance in a sample of garment enterprises in Mauritius.
It reviews the literature on technological capabilities in developing countries and examines market-oriented policies and firm performance, using an econometric analysis to identify the characteristics of successful enterprises.
The author concludes that it is large firms with strong technical manpower, high training expenditures and external technical assistance that have led export growth in the industry. Foreign ownership is also thought to have a positive effect on export performance.
Source: The Africa–Canada–UK Exploration: Building Science and Technology Capacity with African Partners | 2005
This paper examines the role of North-South partnerships in building scientific and technological capabilities in Africa. It reviews current definitions of North-South collaborations, provides new thinking on what such partnership's objectives should be, and presents case studies illustrating how partnerships in Africa have been developed on the ground.
The author stresses the importance of organisations beyond those involved in research and education and makes policy recommendations based on the evidence presented.
Source: Open University Research Centre on Innovation, Knowledge and Development | 2005
This working paper examines science and technology capacity building in Africa through international partnerships.
It presents success cases, including the Biosciences East and Central Africa centre of excellence, the African Economics Research Consortium and the East Coast Fever Vaccine Project, among others. The authors discuss the implications of such initiatives for new interventions to develop capabilities in Africa. One conclusion is the need to "focus on innovation and the shaping of social and economic need, not on the 'push' of science and technology alone".
Source: Globelics | 2005
This paper maps African countries' knowledge base through patent applications and publications. It shows South Africa as academically, and technically, the strongest country of the continent. The number of publications is growing in other African countries, but patenting remains limited all-round.
The paper ends on a positive note, arguing that African countries already possess the basis for knowledge-driven development.
Source: World Bank | 2006
This paper looks at how private support institutions influence the growth of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in sub-Saharan Africa. It examines the factors stimulating the development of such institutions, as well as the approach's limitations and the policy implications.
The authors argue that sub-Saharan African SMEs deal with market failures and weak public institutions by developing private governance systems in the form of long-term business networks. The support provided by these networks raises the technological performance of network 'insiders'. But they also impact local firms outside the network, who have little access to productive resources and become excluded from business transactions.
The authors recommend policy reform to encourage cooperation between firms, mitigate the adverse effects of networks on local companies and develop formal institutions to help govern market exchange.
Source: African Development Bank | 2006
This article, by Harvard University's Calestous Juma, presents the case for a new approach to economic development in Africa focusing on the role of knowledge as a basis for growth.
Juma says that implementing such a vision means developing infrastructure, investing in technological capabilities, fostering business development and increasing Africa's participation in global trade.