By Khalifa Hemed
Published December 10, 2017
Higher education policy should be aligned with science, technology and innovation (STI) to transform economies across Africa.
Specialists meeting during the 4th Senior Experts Dialogue on Science, Technology and the African Transformation in the Senegalese capital, Dakar, have agreed that increasing funding for universities and other higher education institutions is crucial for these institutions to contribute to the integration and development of Africa.
Kasirim Nwuke, Chief of New Technologies and Innovation Section in United Nations Economic Commission for Africa’s Special Initiatives Division, said countries could begin by enacting domestic laws similar to the United States of America’s Bayh-Dole Act which enables universities and non-profit organisations to own, patent and commercialise inventions that result from research funded by the government.
Nwuke said a smart higher education and STI policy should include recruiting the best talent no matter where they are from.
“African governments could consider using targeted immigration and free-movement of Africans to attract talent to build world class competitive universities, great centres of research excellence,” Nwuke said.
Urging governments to use ICT in improving access to higher education, the experts also recommended the reduction of the cost of research innovation and the use of continental trade policy, notably Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) that is currently being negotiated, to advance the focus of African universities and to drive STI.
Professor Amadou Thierno Gaye, Senegal’s Director General of Research and Innovation said ICT and digital infrastructures are crucial for Africa’s success.
Organised by UNECA and Senegal’s Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation, the theme of the meeting was ‘Higher education, science, technology and innovation and African integration and development’.