“Research can only thrive in an atmosphere that prioritizes, supports and appreciates its importance. An atmosphere of political or cultural intolerance to research has a stifling effect on research efforts.”
Of the many developmental challenges facing Africa, scientific research doesn’t often rise to the top of the discussion agenda, though thankfully that has been changing with high profile initiatives like the Next Einstein Forum. And yet research and development will be key to the kinds of improvements that African citizens need and expect.
The priorities, or lack thereof, are obvious when you consider the average sub Saharan Africa government spends less than 0.5% of GDP on backing research—the OECD country average is more than four times that at 2.3%. The governments have recognized this and committed, a couple of years ago, to increasing investment in science and technology to reach 0.7% of GDP by 2020 and 1% of GDP by 2025. Read more