Review of S&T policy plans in ACP countries
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CTA. 2003. Review of S&T policy plans in ACP countries. Knowledge for Development. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/63767
Louk Box et. al. (2003) Review of Science and Technology plans in ACP countries, University of Maastricht, Maastricht.
Louk Box et. al. (2003) Review of Science and Technology plans in ACP countries, University of Maastricht, Maastricht. Chapter 3.2 : S&T and international development organizations European Commission In 2001, the Commission acknowledged the importance of Agricultural Research for Development (ARD), and adopted a strategy to promote the European Initiative for Agricultural Research for Development (EIARD) and the Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), as well as regional research networks such as CORAF, ASARECA, SACCAR, CIRDES and ICIMOD (Vialatte, 2001). In 2002, this was followed by a strategy document ´Support to ARD at sub-regional level´ (Vialatte, 2002), which focused on NARS and on regional and international systems as well as research implementation. Organizations assumed to participate in this initiative are FARA, GFAR and the CGIAR. The CGIAR plays an important role due to its expertise and partnerships at regional and national levels (EC, 2000a,b). In preparation for the World Summit on Sustainable Development, held in Johannesburg in 2002, the ACP-EU Forum on Research for Sustainable development was held in Cape Town (EC, 2002c; EU, 2002). The ministers discussed agriculture as one aspect of general environmental issues. Although no formal decision was taken, the conclusions of the Forum were included in the Cape Town Declaration (EC, 2002a). Moreover, the ´Competitive Grant Scheme for Agricultural Research for Development in Sub-Saharan Africa´ identifies major challenges for the new Framework Programme (2002-2006) to establish an integrated European research area. At the end of the Forum, ACP and Commission officials issued the Cape Town Plan of Action (Bellemin, 2002; EC, 2002b). This was a first step towards establishing an S&T dialogue within ACP countries, and to the further internationalization of European research aimed at global sustainable development. The Plan of Action defines strategic areas in the agricultural and agro-industrial sectors, with special attention to the relation between biotechnology, agro-industrial technologies and ICTs. The plan can be regarded as an interesting first attempt to formulate a coherent S&T policy within the framework of the Cotonou Agreement. No formal government commitments have yet been made, however. Such commitments are needed before effective research strategies can be developed at the ACP or EU levels. Such strategies could be linked to the activities undertaken under the Commission´s 6th Framework Programme (EC, 2002d, 2003). The linkage with the Framework Programme could help to improve coordination within the Commission. As long ago as 1996, the RAWOO (Advisory Council for Development Research) suggested that the Commission could build on the former INCO programme. It also stressed the need for closer coordination in the fields of agriculture and health, since the issues involved need to be dealt with in a multidisciplinary approach. The conclusion to be drawn from the various reports is that the Commission does have an instrument for S&T cooperation with ACP countries. Even though limited reference is made to S&T in the Country Strategy Papers, agricultural research programmes could undoubtedly benefit from support under the Framework Programme coordinated by DG Research. However, its procedures differ substantially from those under the Cotonou Agreement. World Bank Over the past 20 years the World Bank has financed many S&T projects, including support and loans to CGIAR, SPAAR, UN organizations, SIDA, IDRC, sub-Saharan agriculture and S&T capacity building (especially in agriculture; see Daly, 1999, 2000). Crawford and Brezenhoff (2001), however, concluded that over this period the World Bank has had no consistent approach or strategy in developing the scientific and technological capacities in client countries. They called for projects that would encourage greater cooperation among client countries. A first step should be to promote interaction among the Bank staff working on S&T issues. In 2002, however, the Bank issued a strategy paper that signified a change in its approach to S&T and development (World Bank, 2002). It established an internal S&T thematic group (which included representatives of the CGIAR) to raise awareness of S&T and its role in development, and to foster collaboration with a wide range of international partners such as OECD, UNESCO, and the Third World Academy of Sciences. The World Bank is currently redefining its strategy regarding S&T, aiming at better integration of the various actors. OECD The OECD has been at the forefront of S&T studies, although few of these documents were located. One exception was the ´OECD/DAC Donor-Developing Country Dialogues on National Strategies for Sustainable Development´, which deals with capacity building, planning and management in Tanzania, highlighting the role of village communities (OECD, 2001). However, neither S&T nor agriculture are referred to explicitly in the study. FARA The Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) is the successor to the World Bank´s Special Programme for African Agricultural Research (SPAAR). In 2002 FARA launched a Multi-country Agricultural Productivity Programme (MAPP) for Africa for the period 2003-2012 (FARA, 2002b). The programme, developed by FARA and NEPAD, shows the need for national agricultural technology delivery systems (NATDS). The paper, however, focuses on programme development in countries that meet certain eligibility criteria, such as satisfactory macroeconomic conditions and sector policy support, an operational agricultural technology generation with transfer, and government commitment. FARA´s 2002 strategy document highlights the Forum´s support to NARS, SROs, IARS, the CGIAR and the private sector. FARA´s budget has been extended to 2012, and the forum is recruiting new staff (FARA, 2002a). As one of the major coordinating bodies for agricultural research in Africa, FARA is a key agency. Through its relation with NEPAD, a link between agricultural S&T policies and general development policies could be made. NEPAD In its medium-term programme for 2003-2005, the New Partnership for Africa´s Development (NEPAD) intends to strengthen cooperation among NGOs, especially those focusing on biotechnology, ICTs and national innovation systems (NEPAD, 2002b). This emphasis on NGO cooperation is novel for African governments and could represent an interesting opening for organizations such as CTA. NEPAD also stressed the benefits of voluntary participation and the corresponding contribution of governments. In 2003, NEPAD established the African Forum on Science and Technology for Development (AFSTD) to promote the application of S&T for economic growth and poverty reduction. The Comprehensive African Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP), launched by FAO and NEPAD (2002) for the period 2002-2015, identifies three areas for improvement (budget US$204.5 billion) and, in the long term, agricultural research, technology dissemination and adoption, with a budget of US$136.2 billion (NEPAD, 2002a). Whereas NEPAD´s medium-term programme stresses voluntary participation, this could become an overall programme with significant budgets for agriculture and agricultural research. At a time when the funds for agricultural research are declining, the programme offers a sign of hope. UN According to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, the UN is interested in setting up a global programme or New Partnership for Science and Technology and Society for Sustainable Development (UN, 2002). After the publication of the UNDP´s Human Development Report 2001, the UN´s emphasis on S&T indicates acceptance of this issue at the global level. As always, however, the issue of funding will first have to be resolved. Regional studies and plans AFRICA - General After decades of minimal interest, investment in S&T programmes appears to be increasing. UNESCO´s Science Report 2002: Africa (Gaillard et al., 2002), for example, notes that during the 1990s donors and developing country governments showed little interest in S&T for development, but the situation is now changing. The authors emphasize that Africa must devise long-term strategies to build the capacity of the continent´s scientific infrastructure, and to improve the conditions for scientists, such as by offering adequate salaries and reasonable career opportunities. In an unpublished document (2002), ISNAR describes the poor performance of the agricultural sector in Africa. This casts serious doubts on the effectiveness of African NARS, which need to become more demand-driven, responsive and client-oriented (Chema et al., 2002). In an exhaustive inventory of the biotechnology sector in Africa, Mugabe (2002) notes that activities are ongoing in only a few countries: Countries using third-generation techniques: Egypt, South Africa, Zimbabwe; Countries using third-generation techniques but that have not yet developed products/processes: Ghana, Kenya, Uganda ; Countries engaged in second-generation technology: Tanzania, Zambia. South Africa is leading biotechnology research and development in Africa; Zimbabwe has made significant efforts to define targets for its biotechnology sector. Mugabe´s proposed research agenda has rekindled NEPAD´s interest in biotechnology. In the biotechnology sector, programmes and national policies in some countries appear to be improving. Sub-Saharan Africa More than a decade ago, in a study for the African Academy of Science, Idachaba (1991) urged producer and consumer groups to support the NARS in sub-Saharan Africa. While welcoming the World Bank´s SPAAR programme, he noted that it should not focus exclusively on governments, but also on the private sector. Donor agencies are evidently suffering from aid fatigue in their home countries, so that other sources of funding also need to be tapped. Idachaba´s report may reflect the thinking of that time, but it is still frequently cited by researchers. The continuing need for funding from all sources is evident in the report of a CGIAR stakeholders´ meeting in 2002, which summarizes the CGIAR´s cooperation with NARS in sub-Saharan Africa. The report reviews regional consultation processes, as well as studies of the reasons for the minimal impact of agricultural research in the subregion and possible ways to improve performance in the future. The meeting concluded that the CGIAR are on the right track, but need to focus on Africa (CGIAR, 2002). In so doing the CGIAR recognizes the dramatically poor performance of sub-Saharan agricultural research and indicates appropriate action to be taken by stakeholders. Mugabe (2003) argues that in the absence of informed public constituencies, and of science institutions that are prepared to engage effectively in the economic sphere, sub-Saharan Africa is unlikely to be able to respond to the challenges posed by biotechnology. Mugabe points out the low status of agricultural biotechnology, and the corresponding low level of public funding for biotechnology research in sub-Saharan Africa. Mugabe is optimistic, however; even though R&D spending is generally low, it is rising. He notes that institutional arrangements in Egypt, South Africa and Zimbabwe are being made to stimulate biotechnology. In other countries, there is no coherent government support for R&D institutions, or for the development of regulatory instruments. On the basis of Mugabe´s work it might be argued that there are some hopeful signs since funding for biotechnology research appears to be increasing in some countries in Africa. On the other hand, the lack of constituencies in public opinion in large regions of Africa has prevented agricultural S&T from developing as it has elsewhere. Gaillard (2002) confirms this view. Over the past 30 years the S&T sector in sub-Saharan Africa has not been sufficient to create a dynamic and sustainable process of scientific production and reproduction of national scientific communities. The situation is critical in several countries, particularly those in sub-Saharan Africa, except for South Africa where S&T systems and the working environments of scientists are deteriorating. The results of this study confirm the political urgency, and thus the need for adequate constituencies leading to clear S&T policies. Africa by country At the level of individual countries the situation described above is confirmed: there have been few studies, leading to few policies and programmes. Based on a study of the Nigerian NARS, Idachaba (1998) concludes that the system is highly unstable, and proposes a strategy for strengthening NARS throughout Africa. Yiemene (2001) examined technical change and agricultural research and delivery system in rural areas of Ethiopia, focusing on poor farmers. He noted the lack of a clear methodology of innovation and the related policy development, and called for a realignment of training, methodologies and other aspects in order to ensure their effectiveness. South Africa offers an example of such an integrated policy. In 2002, the South African Ministry of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology published an R&D strategy that was based on three pillars: innovation; science, engineering and technology, human resources and transformation; and effective government policy. The Ministry believes that ICTs and biotechnology will play a leading role in the future, and the new Department of Science and Technology will coordinate a coherent performance management system by using research as a key function. The associated strategic plan for agriculture focuses on knowledge and innovation in a broad perspective, including indigenous knowledge, biotechnology, earth observation and aspects like logistics, all of which require an integrated approach. Although agriculture is not the main focus of the strategic plan, it nevertheless provides an example of how agricultural S&T can be integrated into a general policy and a medium-term strategy up to the year 2008 (Ministry of Arts, 2002). In a way, the South African strategy can be seen as a response to an OECD survey in 2002. The government intends to invest further in a National System of Innovation (NSI) and research, developing biotechnology as a main factor in its S&T policy, despite the fact that agricultural S&T expenditures are decreasing (OECD, 2002). The picture that emerges is that the role of S&T in South Africa is highly supported by government, but that importance of S&T in agriculture is declining. Gaillard and Waast (2000) examined various country studies about science in Africa for the European Commission (DG Research) and the French Ministry Foreign Affairs. Some of the country studies noted by Waast and Gaillard study include: Ivory Coast : Khelfaoui (2000b) stresses that most research is related to agriculture. The recent restructuring and numerous mergers of research organizations reflect both the instability and the progressive formulation of the national system of scientific research. Nigeria : Prior to the political and economic crisis in 1985, Nigeria was one of the most successful countries in terms of scientific production. The crisis had dramatic consequences for S&T establishments, and by 2000 Nigeria had lost its leading position, even though human resources were still available. Future prospects are dim - there are no plans to reactivate the Nigerian universities and no scientific policy has emerged to spur technological development. The only means to halt the resulting brain drain would be to increase academic salaries (Lebeau et al., 2000). Tanzania : Tanzania´s Agricultural Policy (1989) acknowledges the need to downsize the agricultural research system, to refocus and link research, extension and NGOs to the development and transfer of agricultural technology. The policy could be criticized for its lack of clear research priorities and for the dispersion of research efforts that has led to frequent reorganizations in the recent past. Despite the agricultural restructuring programmes financed by World Bank, through SPAAR, overall research outputs are poor. Even so, in recent years Tanzania has managed to maintain and even increase its relative position in African science (Gaillard, 2000). Burkina Faso : In spite of weak human and material resources, Burkina Faso has maintained its place in the global scientific system. It is coherent and well articulated both internally and in the international environment, which could be related to a well-elaborated science plan. The challenge will be to develop and apply further ideas and improvements in the strategic plan (Khelfaoui, 2000a). Cameroon : The national scientific research system is relatively stable and comparatively well organized, but defined by its external relations and the subsequent dependence on donor funding. The system is characterized by the lack of proper communication between socio-economic needs and the scientists involved (Gaillard and Khelfaoui, 2000). Other papers in this series, not included in the discussion here, refer to Algeria, Madagascar, Morocco and Mozambique. Caribbean - General On the whole, the status of S&T in the Caribbean is slightly better than in sub-Saharan Africa, although some of the same trends are manifest here, such as declining public funding and the lack of coordinated S&T strategies. The UNESCO Science Report 2002: International Scientific Cooperation in Latin America and the Caribbean (Cetto and Vessuri, 2002) discusses how loans from the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and others have imposed inconvenient restrictions on the development of S&T. International cooperation does not form a systematic part of national S&T programmes, but is included in a rather ad hoc manner. International donors, multilateral organizations and the private sector show little interest in cooperating with scientific institutions in order to achieve sustainable development in the region. Attempts are now being made to set up regional funds. Cetto and Vessuri propose a policy solution for developing countries in general, and Latin America and the Caribbean in particular. The lack of interest of international organizations, as revealed by the lack of cooperation and systematic strategies, has resulted in the relative stagnation of programmes such as the Centro Argentino-Brasile?o de Biotecnología (CABBIO). This is clear in the report of the Caribbean Council for Science and Technology (CCST), ´Assessment of Needs in Science and Technology´ (1998), which reviewed national S&T policies and identified NARS in which agriculture plays an important role in the productive sector. Although there have been attempts to develop national S&T policies in the Caribbean, much remains to be done. In a later report, the CCST (2000) makes the case for enhancing the potential of small countries by harmonizing S&T policies at the regional level. Agriculture is addressed as a specific policy area. The report proposed capacity building through national S&T councils, which would need more political and financial support. The report thus represents an attempt to harmonize S&T policies, but recognizes that without political support such policies will remain noble dreams. The same lack of regional cooperation and political priority is noted in the report of the CGIAR stakeholders´ meeting in 2002. Summarizing the CGIAR´s cooperation with NARS in Central America in 2001, the report notes the lack of enthusiasm for regional cooperation projects (CGIAR, 2002). Caribbean by country The number of Caribbean countries that have carried out national studies and adopted S&T policies is growing. First, Guyana has issued an S&T policy paper (no year indicated on the website) to support the national development plan, in which agriculture is a crucial element. The aim of the policy is to move away from current arrangements, in which funding is mainly provided by the government(CCST), towards self-financing. Other countries are Trinidad and Tobago, with a well-elaborated S&T policy plan, which is manifest in government´s funding of the National Institute of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology (NIHERST; <a href="http://www.niherst.gov.tt" />www.niherst.gov.tt</a>), Jamaica and Barbados. Pacific No recent materials were found for the Pacific region.