Displaying 1-20 of 27 key documents
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: 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: South Centre | February 2009
This book, published by the intergovernmental organisation South Centre, presents a collection of articles on intellectual property (IP) restrictions and access to knowledge for developing countries.
An outcome of the South Centre Innovation and Access to Knowledge Programme, the book responds to pressure from IP owners to increase control over knowledge in different forms including digital platforms.
The first part describes how IP restrictions challenge access to knowledge by setting out the norms, common goods and public authorities' responsibilities.
The second section describes recent developments in policy discussions including proposed World Intellectual Property Organization treaties and multilateral efforts to extend copyright limitations and exceptions.
The final part makes practical suggestions for moving forward, such as using open access or tapping into Internet technology.
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 Centre | December 2008
This paper challenges the idea that patent counts provide reliable indicators of innovation in cross-country assessments. The authors argue that national differences in patent systems — how and why patents are granted and standards of examination — make comparisons across countries difficult at best, inaccurate at worst.
They urge readers to be cautious in interpreting the World Intellectual Property Organization findings that suggest the geography of innovation is changing — based on a sharp rise in patent counts in north-east Asia. The authors' own analysis of Chinese patent applications and legal frameworks in Brazil, India, Europe and the United States shows wide differences in the value of patents across regions.
They recommend developing a proper set of indicators for monitoring innovation capacities, particularly in developing countries.
Source: Nature Reviews | January, 2004
Vaccination for infectious diseases is a vital method of prophylaxis, and has transformed modern medicine. By contrast, research into vaccines against chronic diseases has been less successful, in part because of the increased complexity involved.
In this opinion piece, the authors outline the prospects for the development of chronic disease vaccines. These might not need to rely on the traditional method of inducing the body to produce antibodies, but rather on introducing monoclonal antibodies against specific proteins — this has so far worked well against Crohn's disease and rheumatoid arthritis.
The authors outline key hurdles in developing a successful therapeutic vaccine. Safety and efficacy are two obvious ones, but there is a third that is unique to vaccines for chronic diseases. Because these vaccines would block bodily chemicals — such as cytokines or hormones — it would not be acceptable for a vaccine to induce a life-long block (unlike a malaria vaccine, for example, where a lifelong block would be ideal).
These might be particularly useful in developing countries, say the authors. Because prophylaxis with vaccines is already a familiar concept, there should be no problem with patients' compliance, and judicious partnerships between public and private organisations could mean the vaccines are produced cheaply.
Source: UNESCO | 1998
This study was prepared for the UNESCO Cairo Office. The key objective was to collect a wide array of data and statistics on R&D systems across the Arab states.
The study was motivated by the attempts of several Arab countries to balance the need to invest in R&D systems with their rapidly depleting resources during the 1990s.
These attempts focused on: diversifying the funding base of R&D activities; maximising linkages between industry and business enterprises and R&D performing institutions; optimising the relevance of R&D activities to client demand; increasing competitiveness among institutions for funds; and institutionalising R&D activities as an economic operation.
The study provides data on the organisation of R&D systems, R&D performing units, trends and levels of funding, full-time researchers, and R&D disparities between Arab countries.
This document provides important — and rare — background data on R&D systems across an important sub-section of the OIC member states and may be valuable for science, technology and innovation policy-makers from these countries seeking to better understand the structure and contribution of R&D in their economies.
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: 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: African Technology Policy Studies Network | 2004
This article evaluates scientific and technological capabilities in sub-Saharan Africa. It also reviews past and present capacity building initiatives at national and regional scales, highlighting the enabling and limiting factors of both. The author asks what lessons can be learnt from previous efforts and discusses the implications for the region's policymakers.
The author draws a bleak picture of sub-Saharan scientific and technological capacity, concluding that the region has not developed the capabilities it needs to compete in the global economy.
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.
Source: African Technology Policy Studies Network | 2004
This paper discusses the factors affecting African countries' limited participation in global trade. It points to indicators of global exclusion and describes the institutions, human capital and physical and technical infrastructure present in Africa.
The author argues that Africa's low technological base is due to a lack of dynamic institutions and skilled workers, combined with commodity-based trade systems rather than factory-based industry supported by research and development.
Source: UN Industrial Development Organization | 2001
This article is a background paper to the UN Industrial Development Organization's World Industrial Report 2002-2003. It describes manufacturing technological capabilities and industrial performance in sub-Saharan countries and discusses their limitations.
The article includes a review of the factors contributing to poor industrial and technological performance in sub-Saharan Africa, including limited access to foreign technology, inadequate investment in technical skills and technological effort, and limited development of the underlying institutional framework.
Source: African Technology Policy Studies Network | 2003
The Technopolicy Brief Series discusses issues relevant to research, development and innovation in Africa.
The documents cover capability development, technology policy and intellectual property rights, and consider the implications of globalisation for African science.