Friday, October 19, 2007

Science Policy for Africa

Research-Africa.Net provides this story:

'The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) has approved a proposal to set up an African Science, Technology and Innovation Policy Initiative (Astipi). The initiative will help African countries draft national science, technology and innovation (STI) policies.

"The absence of a regulatory environment has been a constant cause for concern for scientists who believe the situation impacts negatively on the continent� s ability to reduce poverty. Last month, the Economic Commission for Africa reported that 33 out of 53 countries in Africa are still without science ministries in a development that has weakened the industry�s ability to negotiate for favourable policies.

"Unesco hopes the Astipi will help countries create a legislative environment to reform their science systems. The Astipi, to be implemented with the help of the New Partnership for Africa's Development (Nepad), will kick off with a training program for 100 specialists in policy analysis. The two-year program will begin in 2008.

"'In parallel, an Astipi postgraduate course will be designed and implemented, short-term executive workshops will be run for senior government officials and an African e-library of science, technology and innovation policy will be set up,' Unesco said.

"The international body also approved two other projects to develop science in Africa. The science, technology and engineering education initiative will work towards revitalising higher education through the development of policies to the retain qualified personnel. An African Virtual Campus, to be funded by the European Commission, is also underway."

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