It will It will be impossible, to create wealth and improve the living standards of the people in EAC without developing and applying science and technology, a regional tech commission has noted.
The East African Science and Technology Commission (EASTECO) held Regional Stakeholder Workshop on EAC Regional Science, in Nairobi, Kenya and explicitly recognised the importance of Science Technology and Innovation (STI) for socio-economic development in the relevant provisions of Treaty establishing the Community.
According to a statement from the Secretariat, Science, technology and innovation is important for the enhancement of the socio-economic status of individuals and communities and is key to the establishment of the competitiveness of regional economies. However, the statement reads, the implementation of national STI policies is at varying stages in the EAC Partner States. In some of the EAC partner states, the national STI policies are under a review process.
Speaking at the meeting, the Director General of National Council of Science, Technology and Innovation (NACOSTI) Kenya Dr. Moses Rugutt appreciated EASTECO efforts to have the IP Policy developed for the region.
He further informed the meeting that this policy will form the basis for the development of the individual National IP Policy.
Challenges hampering Adopting Science, Technology and Innovation
Some of the key challenges hampering the development and implementation of effective STI policies in EAC Partner States are inadequate funds for the implementation of national STI policies,
Unavailability of up to date data:
Lack of up-to-date, reliable data and indicators on the current status of Science and Technology is making it difficult for the region to figure out where it is on matters tech and how to plan ahead.
Lack of indicators
This is also tied to lack of indicators and support mechanisms for innovation.
The National Institutions have focused on training, education, research and development of national STI policies, with less focus on innovation in the national STI policies. This has resulted in weak and non-direct linkages for science, technology and innovation to support societal needs and sustained economic growth.
The meeting therefore was looking to review and validate the draft policy for the East African Regional science, technology and innovation for sustainable regional development and socio-economic transformation.
The workshop gathered about 65 stakeholders’ representative from EAC Partner States including National Commission/Council for Science and Technology; Ministries responsible for Science, Technology and Innovation; National Departments responsible for Intellectual Property in EAC Partner States; Kenya Association of Professional Engineers; Universities/Academia; National Research Institutions; Private Business and Civil Society sector and Development Partners (UNESCO and UNECA).
After the consultative process, the reviewed draft Regional Policies will be submitted to the EASTECO Governing Board for adoption before consideration and approval by the EAC Council of Ministers.