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 cite or share this item: https://hdl.handle.net/10568/63768
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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 4 & 5: Discussion and Conclusions Discussion The present study was a first attempt to review both the national and regional plans of ACP countries and reports compiled by international and bilateral agencies with regard to S&T policies, particularly those related to agricultural development in ACP countries. Most bilateral donor agencies, such as DFID (UK), AFD (France), DGIS (the Netherlands) and USAID, have supported substantial S&T programmes in the past, particularly in agriculture (see reviews by Gaillard (2000)). It appears that no central data are being kept at this moment (as was done in the past by SPAAR or the FAO). Policy changes in the late 1990s do not appear to have had an impact on policies in ACP countries in the period 2000-2002. It is also difficult to assess previous trends, because papers published before 2000 were not included in the present review. Based on the work by Idachaba (1991) it appears that funding for S&T programmes in the 1980s declined in most ACP countries. Despite some notable exceptions - Burkina Faso, Ghana, South Africa, and Trinidad and Tobago - the general picture appears one of continued government withdrawal of support for S&T, in particular in the agricultural sector. The rather naïve optimism of the international financial institutions in the 1980s that the private sector would take over has not materialized in most ACP countries. Regional coordination and donor coordination do not appear to have improved. The reports examined date from 1998 to 2003 (with one exception). Most of them deal with technological innovation systems for agricultural development. Policy plans for ACP countries were reviewed on the basis of the Country Strategy Papers (CSPs) prepared under the Cotonou Agreement. Special attention was paid to studies on agricultural development compiled by agencies such as FARA and the CGIAR. Agriculture plays a minor role in S&T (mentioned in only 8% of the CSPs), and in the national indicative plans (NIPs) (7%). This means that agriculture is accorded fairly low priority in most ACP countries, despite its substantial contribution to these countries´ GDP. It was not possible to assess the extent of participation of representatives of the sector, particularly of farmers´ organizations, in the formulation of the policy documents. In some cases, this has occurred (when national policy dialogues have taken place), but it is not clear to what extent farmers´ priorities were transformed into national priorities. The participation of donors in the various plans and policies has been substantial, especially the following cases: The European Commission in the Cape Town Plan of Action: The Commission and the South African Ministry of Science and technology took the initiative in forging a consensus among the participants. Agriculture and agro-industry are key strategic areas. The European Commission through INCO: agriculture is included as one of the main themes, possibly to correct the low priority given to it by ACP governments. The World Bank has for a long time financed various organizations and programmes dealing with agricultural technology. FARA´s Multi-Country Agricultural Productivity Programme (MAPP) focuses on NARS, SROs, IARS and the CGIAR. NEPAD supports biotechnology through NGO cooperation and the Comprehensive Africa Agricultural Development Programme (CAADP). Country and regional plans, policies and studies: UNESCO Science Report: Africa (2002): No specific reference to agriculture. Mugabe (2003) states that R&D in general has a low priority, but is increasing by means of funding. South Africa, Egypt and Zimbabwe are now encouraging biotechnology research. South Africa: role of agriculture in strategic S&T policy is decreasing. Ivory Coast: no agricultural policy indicated. Nigeria: no scientific policy so far. Tanzania has had an agricultural policy since 1989, including agricultural research and technology transfer. Cameroon has a stable research system, but it is defined by external relations and is facing practical problems. Burkina Faso has a well-elaborated science plan, but the system suffers from weak human and material resources. The UNESCO Science Report on Latin America and the Caribbean notes that LAC programmes such as CABBIO, CSST, INCO, COLCYT, and IICA have suffered a period of relative stagnation. CSST: in the strategy papers for the region, agriculture plays an important role. Guyana: agriculture is crucial in the national development plan. Vietnam: Agriculture plays a focal role in S&T policy plans. The participation of the S&T or agriculture sector in the preparation of the Cotonou Agreement varied considerable. In some cases, like Mauritius, the participation of the private sector has been structured. The CSPs generally do not include discussion of participatory methodologies. In a previous study (Demanding Innovation) the policy dialogues in the Dominican Republic, Ghana, Senegal, Uganda and Vietnam were rather uneven. Earlier inventories of S&T plans of ACP countries undertaken by relevant international agencies were as follows: Gaillard and Waast, funded by the European Commission and the French government. Idachaba through ISNAR and the African Academy of Sciences UNESCO Science Reports on Africa and on Latin America and the Caribbean. Policies and plans on biotechnology in Africa by Mugabe (2002 and 2003). Conclusions The main conclusions to be drawn from this survey of S&T policies in ACP countries are as follows: The Country Strategy Papers indicate that in the ACP countries themselves there is little or no priority for S&T. Agriculture and agricultural S&T do not have the priority that could be expected in view of the importance of agriculture in the economies of ACP countries. Agricultural research and technology development appears to have steadily declined over the 1980s and 1990s, reflecting the decreasing donor interest in this subsector. One may therefore wonder to what extent agricultural research and technology development is surviving as a global public good. Multilateral organizations and bilateral donor agencies were probably unable to maintain support for the subsector over the 1990s, even though many initiatives have been launched. Major donors like the European Union and financial institutions such as the World Bank are likely to become ever more important in the rescue of agricultural research, through programmes like the 6th Framework Programme (to support agricultural research) and FARA (to coordinate technology development in Africa). The implications for CTA can be summarized as follows: ACP countries themselves do not give priority to agricultural S&T. Any initiative designed to support S&T will need to address this reality. The EU is in a rapid process of change. The earlier emphasis on S&T for development has given way to other priorities, especially in DG Development. DG Research has made a valiant effort to rescue the INCO programme, although since 2000 funding has apparently not kept up with previous levels of support for ACP countries. In addition, development-oriented policies, such as those focusing on institutional capacity building, will need constant support in order to survive. In interviews for this study (not reported here), CTA was seen as a likely agency to take the initiative in this field, especially with regard to ACP interests. This means that CTA could assist in rebuilding constituencies for agricultural S&T, or for S&T policies in general, in ACP countries and in Europe. South Africa could be a good starting point; NEPAD might prove to be a good partner for Africa. The Caribbean Council for Science and Technology might be the partner in the Caribbean region; no suggestions can be made for the Pacific.