We encourage you to republish this article online and in print, it’s free under our creative commons attribution license, but please follow some simple guidelines:
  1. You have to credit our authors.
  2. You have to credit SciDev.Net — where possible include our logo with a link back to the original article.
  3. You can simply run the first few lines of the article and then add: “Read the full article on SciDev.Net” containing a link back to the original article.
  4. If you want to also take images published in this story you will need to confirm with the original source if you're licensed to use them.
  5. The easiest way to get the article on your site is to embed the code below.
For more information view our media page and republishing guidelines.

The full article is available here as HTML.

Press Ctrl-C to copy

[CAPE TOWN] A ten-member panel has been appointed by the outgoing chairperson of the African Union (AU) Commission to advise the continent on use of existing and emerging technologies for economic development.
According to the AU Commission’s implementing agency, the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD), African countries need to strengthen legal and regulatory systems on emerging technologies.
Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, the outgoing chairperson of the AU Commission, announced the panel last month (18 December) in South Africa.

“The adoption of every technology is sometimes associated with controversies bordering on the mix of benefits and potential adverse effects.”

Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, The AU Commission


"The adoption of every technology is sometimes associated with controversies bordering on the mix of benefits and potential adverse effects,” Dlamini-Zuma says.
Dlamini-Zuma added that NEPAD will work closely with the panel whose work will include assessing the ethical and safety requirements and standards of emerging technologies.
Aggrey Ambali, NEPAD head of industrialisation, science, technology and innovation, tells SciDev.Net that the panel is made up of distinguished individuals who will use their experience and knowledge to identify and recommend technologies for the continent.
“There is no predetermined priority area,” says Ambali. “The practice is that we give the panel some flexibility to consider … terms of reference that we have proposed and also decide on scheduling of its work.”
Calestous Juma, international development professor at Harvard Kennedy School in the United States, will co-chair the panel with Yaye Kène-Gassama Dia, a professor at Senegal-based Cheikh Anta Diop University and Senegal’s former minister of scientific research.
Juma says that mobile phones have changed the routine of technologies becoming available on the continent in their twilight hours.
"These are the lessons that inspired African leaders to set up a high-level advisory panel that keeps its eyes on the frontiers of new technologies so they can shape them to their needs,” Juma says.
Francis Nang’ayo, senior manager of regulatory affairs at Kenya-based African Agriculture Technology Foundation, says agriculture is one area that would especially benefit from use of technologies. He adds that about ten years ago the AU Commission established a similar panel that was mandated to consider the strategic roles that technological innovations could play in transforming African economies, thus making the new panel’s establishment timely.
“Ten years down the road, [it] is important that Africa takes stock of the journey so far travelled, review practical experiences and lessons and consolidate any gains realised to refocus the continent’s development narrative around emerging technologies,” Nang’ayo tells SciDev.Net.
This piece was produced by SciDev.Net’s Sub-Saharan Africa English desk.