by Eric Mwangi and Gatama Gichini – MoHEST
The above workshop was organized by The African Technology Policy Studies Network – Tanzania chapter and GLOBELICS Secretariat. GLOBELICS is a Global Network for Economics of Learning, Innovation and provides a global platform for researchers, practitioners and policy makers South – South collaboration. The following countries were represented were represented by renowned researchers on innovation and development; United Kingdom, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Mexico, Germany, Denmark, Kenya, Canada, South Africa, Tanzania and Uruguay, Sweden and Nigeria as well as United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO).
The main objective of the seminar was to initiate the formation of AfricaLics. The seminar was structured around two broad categories: (i) key theoretic issues on innovation and competence building in relation to structural transformation in Africa and, (ii) key issues for the formation of AfricaLics – the African Network for Learning, Innovation and Competence building Systems.
The key issues for the formation of AfricaLics were centred on the development of research infrastructure and training on the one hand and on the other, the role of development agencies and donor organisations.
PAERIP Project presentation
During this meeting MOHEST presented the PAERIP project in the Session on ‘’Research Infrastructures’’. Specifically, emphasis was laid on the potential role the various participants can contribute to the PAERIP project objectives and indeed their engagement as PAERIP Project stakeholders. At the end of the presentation, it was agreed that a detailed questionnaire on various data /information gathering inputs required by the PAERIP project will be sent out to all the event participants. All the participants were fully supportive of the PAERIP project objectives and expressed willingness to integrate /relate with the project activities in the relevant aspects as the need arises.
Issues that emerged during the seminar
In terms of new ideas for research in the context of research infrastructure and training the following issues were debated:
- African networks must be strongly rooted in African institutions. It is critical that African countries play a key role in initiating and coordinating efforts.
- Ongoing partnerships can provide valuable lessons for the establishment of Africalics. It is important to establish meaningful collaborations with existing networks as well as learn from their experiences. The idea of Africalics as a network of networks was broadly discussed as a desirable option.
- It is important to have “champions” that drive certain activities and coordinate networks and interactions across network members.
With regard to the role of development agencies and donor organisations in strengthening research infrastructure, various forms of involvement were proposed including: direct and indirect support of innovation research networks (structured and informal networks), providing fora for mutual interactive learning to strengthen interactions amongst actors, collaborative activities amongst donors e.g. sharing of databases in supporting capacity building activities, providing a platform for interaction between researchers and policymakers, and providing a platform for enhancing policy influence.