Presentation by Dr. Anne Kingiri of ACTS during a training on The Art of Influencing Policy Change: tools and strategies for researchers, held by The Scinnovent Centre on 12th -14th February 2013, in Nairobi
The role of Networks in Policy Change: The case of AFRICALICS
African Network for Learning, Innovation and Competence building Systems (AfricaLics) Ann Kingiri African Centre for Technology Studies Training workshop on -The Art of Influencing Policy Change Karen 12 02 13
Outline• Introducing Africalics• Context for Africalics & response• Conclusion: some questions to elicit discussion
About AfricaLicsBackground• The Global Network for Economics of Learning, Innovation, and Competence Building Systems (Globelics) bringing diverse community of scholars working on innovation and competence building in the context of economic development. – Has been in existence for about 10 yrs• provides a global platform of collaboration for researchers, practitioners and policy makers who see innovation and competence building as being at the heart of the economic development process• Some of the ideas and concepts within Globelics are informed by specific experiences in the North and cannot be used as universal template models. This led to: – formation of several regional networks (AsiaLics and a Latin americaLics, CICALics , RussianLics and IndiaLics) as self- organised networks of researchers living and working in these regions – Consequently, Africalics was launched in Dar-es-salaam in March, 2012
Why Africalics?• Formation of AfricaLics was centred on: – understanding STI in Africa from a theoretical and practical perspective • The development of research infrastructure, training, evidence-based policy and capacity building on STI was identified as a key agenda towards achieving this goal – The need to respond to context specific challenges that impact STI potential to harness Africa’s economic development (discussed next)
Emergence of Africalics in the current context of Africa’s STI &Africalics response 1. Inadequacy of expertise for STI policy research and analysis in Africa • Leads to seeking for advice and expertise from the more developed countries often have little knowledge of the African contexts • This can be unsustainable and expensive Response: • Africalics brings together a group of established scholars, policy makers & practitioners with experience and understanding of STI in Africa • Identify and support champions to drive certain activities across network members • Facilitate capacity building activities (PhD, Msc, Bachelors scholars, policy makers, NGOs & other practitioners)
Context & Response 2. The research community around STI in Africa remains scattered and social capital among this community is still very low. Response: • Africalics aspires to become a network of scholars, policymakers and practitioners strongly rooted in African institutions • initiate and coordinate efforts and capitalise on ongoing partnerships • establish meaningful collaborations becoming a network of networks that harnesses and consolidates the minimum base for STI research and policy making identified in the region. • create synergies with other regional networks thus promotes South-South and North-South-North collaborations.
Context & Response 3. The analytical frameworks traditionally used to study STI need to better take into account the realities of Africa’s economic development – existing frameworks have missed the performance of economic structures characterized by a specialization in agriculture, mining and services – a strong intertwining of formal and informal economic activities • There is a need for research approaches which are cognisant of the African context. Response: • The innovation systems (IS) seems somewhat inappropriate to inform STI policies in poor countries. Africalics proposes to expand the scope and analytical tools of current mainstream innovation systems. • There is ample space for research on issues related to inclusion and exclusion, innovation as problem-solving including grass-roots or below the radar innovations – Interaction with other regional networks will bring opportunities to learn about these issues from other developing countries
Context & Response 4. Policy making in STI in Africa is poorly informed by research Response: • Africalics aspires to connect research to the demand for research ensuring that pursued activities respond to African needs • The network intends to build dialogues between the growing academic community in the STI field, policymakers and practitioners in the region towards addressing some of the context specific development challenges in the region
Context & Response5. Financial commitments in support of STI activities remain considerably low in AfricaWe take note of the growing discourse and aspirations of African governments for the use of STI as key driver of economic growth and social and economic progress – Insufficient funding from local sources means an over-reliance on external resources • This has consequences e.g. uneven opportunities for collaborations that benefit African researchers, limited attention on issues that reflect the needs of the region like social exclusionResponse• Put emphasis on engaging national governments, practitioners and private sector• Africalics will seek to generate research and other capacity building activities that respond to specific needs particularly for policy making – It is hoped that connecting with potential beneficiaries will attract investment in STI
Context & Response6. Research agendas in Africa tend to reflect the interests and mandates of development agencies, often insufficiently aligned with local realities – this is a consequence of the inadequate funding, insuficient capacities for research and policy making in STI, limited collaboration among the nascent community of scholar that are emerging in this field.Response• will harness resources to map out research needs accross Africa• provide a platform for collaboration and exchange of ideas amongst African scholars, practitioners and policy makers• It will focuses on the importance of developing STI research capacity in Africa with strong links to users – including policy makers, private sector and communities• support for the promotion of participatory research practices (i.e providing training and guidelines on research practices that engage the researcher with the community).
Suggested themes for STIP research for Africalics Innovation Innovation &Innovation and Sectoral Governance of systems in Global Micro-studiessocial inclusion studies STI Africa challenges(a) Innovation (a) Emergence (a)Innovation in (a)Evidence- (a) Climate (a) SMMEsin the informal& agricultural based changesector transformation sector innovation (b) Adoption of Innovation policy making (b) Waste and (b) Medicinal in Africa(b) Gender and systems in management in appropriation plants andSTI Africa Africa of technology health (b) STI by the urban(c) Innovation (b) Urban Local indicators (c) Green small firms (c)for poverty Economic energy Infrastructure (c) Politicalreduction Development (c)Grassroots Economy of (d) Resource- (d) Pollution innovation Innovation(d) Innovation (c) University- based sectors management inin healthcare industry- and Africa (d) Legalsystems society diversification frameworks & linkages IPRs (e) ICTs (Traditional (d) Public Knowledge ) Understanding (f) Green of STI industries
Suggested umbrella research programmes & projects• Programme with projects on sectoral patterns of capability building and innovation in Africa.-targeting important sectors such as: environment, biotechnology & agriculture, bio-energy, solar energy, software, ICT infrastructure, nanotechnology and materials, water, health systems & delivery of inclusive health, mining, oil, etc.• Programme for surveying STI activities in all regions of Africa at various levels of analysis on STI to create a complete data bank.• Programme for exploring the opportunity of building systems of innovation and policy learning initiatives on the basis of the current African Union, the NEPAD and other regional economic communities (RECS).
Ongoing/planned AfricaLics activities• The Africalics Academies at rotational basis (Kenya in Nov 2012 for Anglophones & Algiers in 2013 for Francophones)• Journals linked to Globelics but focusing on Africa: – Journal African Journal of Science, Technology, Innovation and Development (AJSTID) www.ajstid.com – Ethiopian e-Journal for Research and Innovation Foresight (Ee-JRIF) www.nesglobal.org/eejrif4 – Others....• AfricaLics Conferences (resources for journals/publications etc) – Globelics 2014 will be in Africa• Link to other networks e.g. African Network for Solar Energy- www.ansole.org• There is room for linking these up with other on-going intiatives (AU, Nepad, EAC, Ecowas, SADEC etc) These need to re-enforce each other
Selected regional networksplatforms looking at STIP Research (more of SSA)• African Union, Department of Human Resources, Sciences and Technology• African Ministerial Council of Science and Technology (AMCOST)-(previously NEPAD, Office of Science and Technology) - providing support for implementation of Africa’s Science and Technology Consolidated Plan of Action (CPA) – CPA was elaborated to focus on specific flag ship projects and concrete actions• African Economic Research Consortium (AERC), for advancement of economic policy research and training• African Technology Policy Studies Network (ATPS) - promotes science, technology and innovation (STI) policy research, dialogue and practice• Science, Technology and Innovation Policy Research Organization (STIPRO); previously ATPS – Tanzania --for policy research in science, technology and innovation (STI)• African Centre for Technology Studies (ACTS) – promotes STI policy research and advocacy• Bio-resources Innovations Network for Eastern Africa Development (Bio- Innovate) Program- funds multi-disciplinary biosciences and product oriented innovation activities in the EA.
Regional Networks cont’d• Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA) - an independent pan-African research organisation primarily focusing on social sciences research in Africa• Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) - It plays advocacy and coordination roles for agricultural research for development in conjunction with NARS, ARIs and IARCs.• Inter University Council of East Africa (IUCEA) - Coordinate inter-university cooperation in East Africa to promote internationally comparable higher education standards and systems for sustainable regional development.• Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM) – a consortium of universities that aims to strengthen the capacities of researchers to foster innovations responsive to demands of small-holder farmers.• Organisation for social science research in Africa (OSSREA) -promote dialogue and interaction between researchers and policy-makers in Eastern and Southern Africa with a view to enhancing the impact of research on policy-making and development planning• Pan African Competitiveness Forum (PACF) - established in response to the need for Africa to be relevant in the contemporary globalized economy
Regional Networks cont’d• Southern African regional Universities Association (SARUA) – aim to revitalise and develop leadership and institutions of higher education in the southern African region towards enabling the regional higher education to respond to the developmental challenges facing the region.• UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) -The ICT, Science and Technology Division (ISTD),- strengthen the capacity for the development and the use of information and knowledge systems, as support tools for decision-making and for socio-economic development .• Western Indian Ocean Marine Sciences Association (WIOMSA) - supports marine research and promote policy dialogue on policy implications of science
Other initiatives?• Over 10 African Science Academies & their role in STIP related research? – Capacity building thro’ the African Science Academy Development Initiative (ASADI) – aim to eventually become trusted sources of excellent evidence-based policy advice.• Respective Ministries and departments looking at STI from an integrated approach- e.g. of milestones, STI policies providing for implementing agencies – To what extent are these initiatives promoting STIP research? Too early to tell.... ?
Envisaged Impact• Establishment of AfricaLics as an open network for developers & users of knowledge made sustainable by local support• Affect the STI & P research agenda locally in view of available expertise (exploring the new research ideas, projects, networks etc?)• Exploiting of synergies globally and regionally (local versus global)• Dissemination and sharing of knowledge - better access to resources including publications both as users and producers• Build research capacity in Africa with strong links to users – Policy makers and private sector consequently impacting the policy agenda at national levels – Annual conferences and Academies – the Globelics conference 2014 in Africa and African Academies etc – Ph.D and Masters students at global and regional academies – Mentoring schemes
Summing up questionsIn order to enhance STI research in Africa:• How can knowledge platforms like Africalics become organic sources of innovation and development?• How can we make positive use of the presence of global/regional experts as a source of capacity building?• How can we tap productively from Global & regional research/policy networks?• How can we combine social inclusion and sustainability with innovation driven development?• How can we use engineers as enterpreneurs and engineering as bridge between science and business?
Summing up questions• How can Africalics stimulate a vibrant/robust STI&P research community as well as capacity building?• How can we avoid the danger of Africalics becoming a normative platform for experimentation as opposed to being a source of multiple types of knowledge commensurate with levels of expertise & demand for knowledge?• In addition to building research capacity and competence buiding; how can we go further to translate the accruing knowledge into impact (economic, social & environment etc)?
Africalics mode of operationAn informal structure –scientific boardmembers of the scientific board• Abdelkader Djeflat• Ann Kingiri Secretariat• Banji Oyelaran-Oyeyinka• Bengt-Åke Lundvall• Bitrina Diyamett Chair of the Board• Boladale Adebowale• David Kaplan Chair to the Research Training Committee• Erika Kraemer-Mbula Secretary to Research Training Committee• Alex O. Vera-Cruz• Mammo Muchie• Martin Bell• Rasigan Maharaj• Rasmus Lema• Thomas Kjellqvist• Watu Wamae
• Thank you for your attention – For more information about Africalics, visit; • www.globelics.org (soon launching Africalics website) • Be on the look out for calls for Africalics Academy schools/Conferences etc