NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 4 – Kenya is among 10 African countries seeking to participate in a global pilot project for science and technology, as the government seeks to link the knowledge in implementation of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Big Four Agenda.
Already, Kenya has defended its desire to be part of the project during the fourth expert group meeting on Science, Technology and Innovation Roadmaps for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), held within the United Nations premises in Gigiri, Nairobi.
Speaking to Capital FM News at the sidelines of the meeting on Wednesday, African Centre for Technology Studies Executive Director Prof Tom Ogada highlighted the unique opportunities Kenya stands to gain if it is successful in the bid.
“There are huge opportunities for Kenya. It is coming at the right time because Kenya is just finalising the development of Science, Technology and the Innovation policy and are trying to link the policy with the realisation of the development goals and specifically targeting the Big Four,” he said.
This, he said will help researchers generate the best way to harness technology in the realisation of food security (agriculture), universal healthcare and housing.
“If properly implemented, then already it will lead to the realization for 10 SDGs goals out of 17,” Prof Ogada pointed out.
The Sustainable Development Goals are the blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all.
They address global challenges including those related to poverty, inequality, climate, environmental degradation, prosperity, and peace and justice.
The goals interconnect and in order to leave “no one behind, it is important that we achieve each Goal and target by 2030.”
The pilot project will also bring, “experiences, expertise and capacity building opportunities from Europe and Asia.”
“A guideline is being developed that will support various countries, not only in Africa but also in Asia and Europe to develop STI roadmaps that can support the realization of the sustainable development goals.”
-The transition from resource to knowledge-based economy-
He said the bigger goal is to help Africa tap the power of technology and innovation to promote the transition from resource to a knowledge-based economy.
This, Prof Ogada added, will help the continent realize its agenda of industrialization, manufacturing and value addition.
But what about the question of underfunding in research among African states?
“There is positive progress in this. Many countries have been increasing how much they are willing on research,” he said.
There is a minimum target for all countries of one percent of the GDP, ” which none of the African countries have realized.”
Kenya has given itself a target of 2 per cent though currently at 0.8 per cent of the GDP.
He noted that Kenya’s pride itself as a leader in the fields of ICT and the finance sector-online banking.
“When you see the programmes and projects that are lined up within the Big Four agenda in the area of agriculture and food security, it is something if implemented, we will go very far,” he said.
Also present during the meeting included Dr Moses Rugutt, the Director General National Commission for Science, Technology, and Innovation and Manager Office of Science, Technology and Innovation(STI) for SDGs Japan Science and Technology Agency Yukio Kemmochi.