Africa needs new organisations that support innovation
December 14, 2011 Editor 0
The scientific community should create a new generation of intergovernmental organisations that promote innovative science to address economic problems in Africa, argues Calestous Juma, professor of the Practice of International Development at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, United States.
Science, technology and engineering are crucial to overcoming challenges in various sectors including health and agriculture. Yet, key international organisations do not encourage the role of innovation in development, says Juma.
For example, sustainable agriculture and food production in Africa will only be possible with biotechnology and the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). But, organisations such as the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) have even opposed the use of biotechnology in regions that stand to benefit from it, explains Juma.
The UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), created by the 1992 Earth Summit to advance fair sharing of the benefits of biotechnology, has limited the use of GMOs.
This is the right time for African countries to “break the logjam” by setting up new international organisations that focus on innovation, writes Juma. He suggests creating an “International Institute for Biotechnology” to help African farmers benefit from technological knowledge.
The International Institute of Refrigeration (IIR), established by scientists and engineers in the early 1900s to promote refrigeration-related technologies, could serve as a model, he says. Like the IIR, the International Institute for Biotechnology would be created with legislative authority from governments and invited agencies.
- Build on genomic advances to benefit the poor
- Innovation prize set to reward African inventors
- No Straight Lines: Making Sense of Our Non-linear World
- ECA and AIF launch prestigious February 2012 Innovation Prize for Africa
- Africa’s informal economy can boost innovation
- Africa Analysis: Don’t reject R&D measures too quickly
Subscribe to our stories
- Virtual reality as an urban tourism destination marketing tool January 26, 2020
- Exploring VR experiences of tourists' attachment to a rural destination January 26, 2020
- Sustainable intensification: Is a systems perspective essential for integrated crop-livestock systems? January 16, 2020
- Disseminating maize agronomy technologies using interactive voice response in Malawi–the opportunities and pitfalls January 12, 2020
- Towards a communication-based typology of management control modes: showing the relevance of communicative action for entrepreneurial settings December 24, 2019