It gives me pleasure to introduce the African Technology Policy Studies Network (ATPS) Annual Report for the year 2011.
The year 2010 marked 10 years since the birth of a new and autonomous African Technology Policy Studies Network (ATPS). In 2000, ATPS embarked on a new mission as an independent African Network focused on Science Technology and Innovation for sustainable development. It is therefore a critical juncture in the ATPS Network’s evolution as we reflect on the gains made so far and strategize on how to capitalize on these gains and overcome our challenges in order to fulfill our key mandate of knowledge brokerage and generation of new and innovative policies that are action-oriented towards poverty reduction and Africa’s global inclusion.
This report presents a summary of the Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) capacity building activities of ATPS for the period 01 January 2009 to 31 December 2009. In line with its vision, ATPS has continued to act as an STI knowledge broker amongst key actors from the quadruple helix (experts in academic institutions and other knowledge communities, policy makers, the private sector actors and the civil society) in the continent to deliberate on and prioritize Africa’s response to global challenges.
My first full year as Executive Director of the African Technology Policy Studies Network (ATPS) has been both busy and exciting. If I had to sum up the year in one word, it would be “eventful.” New challenges have come our way in at both global and continental scales. The year saw phenomenal rise in food and energy prices, exacerbation of climate change impacts on many African countries and the deepening of the global financial crisis. Together these deepened the incidences of poverty, poor health conditions, water scarcity, depletion of biodiversity and natural ecosystem resources on the continent.
In our 2006 Annual Report, I reminded you that historians will remember this century for its commitment to a global partnership and a series of time-bound targets, commonly known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) aimed at improving the socio-economic well-being of humanity by 2015. I reiterated that the UNDP/UNICEF progress report of 2002 on the MDGs showed that progress had been achieved but the Africa's record was poor with little impact to poor people.
Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) is lagging behind and is off target in meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by the set deadline of 2015.The sluggish achievement of these goals, however, is not due to lack of commitment, as most SSA countries have integrated the MDGs into their national development frameworks. The tardiness, however, is due to inadequate capacity and poor institutional support systems within the continent.
We are acutely aware that Africa faces myriads of health challenges ranging from HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria to unaffordable, inaccessible and dilapidated health services. This health burden not only causes unnecessary deaths and untold suffering, but also continues to block economic development as it damages the continent's social fabric.
People often raise a glass together in greeting during cocktail parties, probably with orange juice, some perhaps with wine. Water, tends to be spurned in such occasions, even though these delicious drinks could not be prepared without water neither wine, cognac, coffee nor tea. Yet we place little value on water. We act as if it costs nothing.
ATPS has been at the forefront of reminding and agitating African national governments and her development partners for the recognition of the critical role of science and technology on all aspects of her development agenda. We have been prying-open strategic initiatives, such as the poverty reduction strategic papers and other such recovery and strategic plans to reveal the futility of such plans without adequate roles assigned to knowledge generation and use, and science and technology (S&T) more generally in meeting the objectives of these plans.
That science and technology policy has a principal role to play in sustainable development is not a matter of debate and I salute the African Technology Policy Studies Network (ATPS) on its vision and initiatives to popularize science and technology policy in Africa.