Towards a stronger focus on STI policy implementation and impact analysis: this shift is motivated by two key observations including (i) that policies undergo changes during implementation whereby policies get modified, and interpreted in various ways; and (ii) that while many governments have good policies (at least on paper), implementation of those policies remain a big challenge. While in most cases there are resource constraints, many analysts have also pointed out problems with accountability, participation and lack of incentives to draw on available evidence during policy implementation. Some commentators have also argued that the government officials at the local levels are often ill-equipped with the capabilities required to implement these policies. While the Centre will continue with efforts at influencing policy and decision-making; we shall also accord due attention to the implementation of the policy processes and draw out lessons that would help countries avoid implementation failures.
Towards a greater emphasis on shaping attitudes and mind-sets: This strategic shift in emphasis is motivated by the observation that while a person may have the competencies required to innovate, create wealth or change policies, that does not mean that the person will have the desire (attitude) to do so. Whereas the focus on training gives us the ability to perform (competencies), the changes in attitudes give us the desire to perform. The higher education sector is churning out graduates with relevant competencies (in agriculture, science, technology and engineering) but the question as to whether they hold the right attitudes towards entrepreneurship, innovation and wealth creation remains unanswered. At the same time, scientific breakthroughs have led to improved crop varieties, water purification techniques, safe reproductive methods etc but the attitudes, cultural preferences have hindered active uptake of these technologies. Our advocacy programmes are designed to shape the attitudes of Africa’s young professionals and rural communities towards self- reliance, entrepreneurship, job/wealth creation.
Towards greater emphasis on citizen participation in STI governance and policymaking: Democratic governance is beginning to take shape in many African countries creating greater opportunities for citizen participation/engagement in policy processes. In many of these countries, such as Kenya, citizen input into major policy debates/processes is now a constitutional requirement. For the citizenry to have informed participation into these debates/processes, they need to have an “organized voice” and efforts need to be made “to turn up the volume” of their voices to be heard in such processes. Policymaking being a negotiation between different interests, different approaches and different emphases, there’s need to equip the citizens with participation skills as well as ensuring that those charged with facilitating such participation are well trained in multi-actor processes geared towards generating a negotiated policy focus regarding emerging development challenges.