Africa: Science Is Key to Locally Adapting the Post-2015 Agenda

The recent UN high-level panel report on the post-2015 development agenda alludes to the potential of science, technology and innovation (ST&I) in development.
In fact, the document makes an explicit point about technology transfer: “The innovation, diffusion and transfer of technology is critical to realising true transformation. Whether in information, transportation, communications or life-saving medicines, new technologies can help countries leapfrog to new levels of sustainable development”. [1]
This is the crux of the matter. Governments will need to make massive investments in these sectors for ST&I to play a part in implementing this new global agenda.
But investments will need to be backed up by stronger alliances and serious efforts to adapt the new development objectives to national realities.

National context
Although the post-2015 framework is set to be global in nature, the high-level panel has called for goals, targets and indicators based on countries’ own context and priorities. For the developing world, particularly Africa, adopting and adapting the framework cannot be done without due consideration of the level of ST&I input required to adapt the framework.
As a start, each country will need a national consultative process involving key stakeholders, including scientists, to begin giving this global framework a national character. This could result in several derivative frameworks but the consultative processes should lead to a global roadmap precisely setting out the how of implementation.

The African common position on the post-2015 development agenda – developed by the African Union Commission, the UN Economic Commission for Africa, the African Development Bank and the UN Development Programme and finalised in March – specifically identified ST&I as an urgent priority for Africa. [2]
It is during the development of the national roadmaps that an assessment of ST&I resources required for implementation should accompany plans for goals and targets. National roadmaps need to include such ‘ST&I-readiness’ that will provide the basis for measuring the effectiveness of rollout and implementation.