Hyslop Building, Room 106, Main Campus
The Institute for Development Studies (IDS), the African Centre for Technology Studies (ACTS) and AfricaLics organized a seminar on Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) at the University of Nairobi.
The highlight of the event held on 29th August 2016 was a presentation by
Prof. John Mugabe: "The Making of Science, Technology and Innovation Policy in Africa: New Approaches and Institutional Configurations."
The presentation focused on the political economy of STI policy making, national experiences and outcomes of policy making efforts. Prof Mugabe observed that policy making in Africa lacks conceptual clarity, strong political infrastructures and is characterized by “continuous discontinuity.”
On innovation, Prof Mugabe argued that while the concept has been widely discussed, it is less understood and confused with many things, including technology. He said that for economies to change in Africa there is need for innovation although innovation is not always a product of research and development (R&D). He called for a shift in existing metaphors i.e. the move to innovation instead of research and development.
IDS Research Professor Dorothy McCormick was one of the discussants at the seminar. Speaking from academic perspective, Prof McCormick observed that there is need to consider the political economy since innovation does not take place in vacuum. Citing the recent challenges experienced countrywide in the filing of tax returns through the Itax system, Prof McCormick said people and institutions should be considered when coming up with innovations.
Other discussants during the seminar were Dr Ann Kingiri from the African Centre for Technology Studies (ACTS) and Mr Boniface Wanyama from the National Commission for Science, Technology and Innovation (NACOSTI).
While making his welcoming remarks, the IDS Associate Director Prof Karuti Kanyinga observed that innovation and development are interlinked and there is need to improve people’s skills in various sectors to ensure development and growth. He said IDS will continue collaborating with ACTS on development issues.
The seminar was the Sixth AfricaLics Innovation and Development Seminar Series.
Prof. Dorothy McCormick