Concept Note: Calestous Juma Executive Dialogue on Innovation and Emerging Technologies

  • African Heads of State and decision makers, through Agenda 2063 have highlighted science, technology and innovation as key enablers in promoting the ability of African countries to achieve their economic transformation and socio-economic development goals.
  • African Heads of State and Government Orientation Committee (HSGOC) Assembly/AU/10(XXIV) of July 2017 requested the NEPAD Agency to facilitate knowledge building and extend technical support to Member States to appropriately put in place robust planning and build evidence-based analytical capacity to harness emerging technologies through increased investment and budget allocation to the social sector.
  • The first Specialized Technical Committee on Education, Science, and Technology (STC-ESTI) requested the AU Commission and NEPAD Agency to advise Member States and RECs on matters of technology prospecting, including regulatory and ethical requirements that need to be put in place in order for the continent to benefit from emerging technologies. The Ministers further directed the NEPAD Agency to establish a system for obtaining expert contribution on the matters of technology development, acquisition, and deployment for socio-economic development.
  • In response, the NEPAD Agency held several regional consultative meetings with forty (40) Member States on Innovation and Emerging Technologies Frameworks, attended by government officials responsible for issues of health, science and technology, environment and representatives from the umbrella bodies of biosafety and food and drugs organisations, researchers and academic to consult on science and emerging technologies; and mapped the capacity needs of senior government officials.
  • The participants at the regional meetings recognized that there is a need to raise awareness among senior policy and decision makers on emerging technologies and strengthen their capacity to contribute to policy and programming in their respective countries. Similarly, participants called for the need for awareness on elimination of attitudinal barriers, and discussion on the strong link between science, technology and innovation and poverty reduction in development contexts in African countries.
  • To this end the NEPAD Agency in collaboration with the African Union Leadership Academy is conducting a series of executive dialogues on emerging technologies for senior government officials of African Union Member States to strengthen mainstreaming of emerging technologies into policy and programming, in realization of Agenda 2063.