ACBF to appeal for increased investment in Africa’s Science, Technology and Innovation at Stockholm meeting


The African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF) has partnered with the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA) to organize a multi-stakeholder debate on the capacity imperatives, and why and how Africa must leverage Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) for its sustainable development, hinged on the findings of the sixth edition of The Africa Capacity Report (ACR).

Following the continent-wide launch of the ACBF Report, which identifies STI as the engine of sustainable growth and economic transformation, International IDEA will play host to a European launch of the publication today – that is Tuesday May 30, 2017 in Stockholm, Sweden.

(TOP: A speaker makes a presentation during the Ethiopia Country Launch of the 2017 ACR on
Building Capacity in STI for Africa’s Transformation in March 2017 in Addis Ababa).

“We are bringing the findings of this eye-opening report to our partners and stakeholders in Europe to draw lessons on where development support from benefactors here should go if they want aid to effectively contribute to Africa’s development,” said Prof Emmanuel Nnadozie, Executive Secretary, ACBF, ahead of the Stockholm launch.

“Africa has clear needs for its structural transformation. STI is cardinal to this end which cannot be achieved without highly efficient and effective human and institutional resources.”

“These are the key areas that need the genuine support of benefactors and ACBF is counting on the support of the true friends of Africa to help the continent develop, use and retain capacities in this key area for meaningful development,” he said.

The report which is based on surveys carried out in 44 countries across the continent makes a clear case for better ways of pursuing financing for development through STI, developing regional strategies for the development of the sector; revolutionizing capacity development; and, investing substantially in higher education/research with the right tools. In fact, the publication says African countries must commit to honoring the one per cent of GDP pledge for research and development (R&D) investment they made in 1980 and 2005, and even take it further, to around three per cent of GDP.

Currently, Africa accounts for about 5 per cent of global GDP, but is responsible for only 1.3 per cent of global expenditure on R&D. As a result, Africa remains disadvantaged on overall STI effort due to the low investment in STI capacity development. But for the continent to become competitive globally and close its development gap with the rest of the world, African governments must plug the STI investment gap.

The launch in Stockholm is therefore expected to galvanize Africa’s partners, who have shown interest in the continent’s development, to carry the message of Africa’s urgent needs in fostering science, technology, and innovation (STI)-led development in the coming years, as a key ingredient in making progress with its development visions as captured in both the global Sustainable Development Agenda as well as Africa’s Agenda 2063.

Established in 1991, ACBF builds human and institutional capacity for good governance and economic development in Africa. To date the Foundation has empowered people in governments, parliaments, civil society, private sector and higher education institutions in more than 45 countries and 6 regional economic communities. ACBF supports capacity development across Africa through mobilization and leveraging of resources for capacity development; grants, investments and fund management; knowledge services; promoting innovation in capacity development and capacity development advisory services.

The establishment of ACBF was in response to the severity of Africa’s capacity needs, and the challenges of investing in indigenous human capital and institutions in Africa. ACBF interventions are premised on four principles: the centrality of capacity to the development process in Africa; the critical role of a partnership and demand-driven approach in tackling capacity challenges; African ownership and leadership in the capacity development process; and a systematic, sequenced and coordinated approach to the capacity development process that pays attention to capacity retention and utilization.

International IDEA was founded in 1995 to support sustainable democratic change through providing comparative knowledge, assisting in democratic reform, and influencing policies and politics. The organization supports democratic change through its convening potential at the country, expert and international levels. It works in the spirit of peer dialogue, nurturing an open and pluralistic understanding of democracy that is respectful of the national context and which reflects its non-prescriptive and non-intrusive approach.

International IDEA develops comparative knowledge, assists in democratic reform, and influences policies and politics, focusing in four key areas: electoral processes, constitution-building, political participation and representation, and democracy and development. It also addresses issues of gender, diversity, and conflict and security.