03 Sep 2015 17:50pm
WINDHOEK, 03 SEP (NAMPA) Science, technology and innovation (STI) can only yield inclusive and sustainable development if Namibias development agendas are people-centred.
This was said by the Minister of Higher Education, Training and Innovation Itah Murangi-Kandjii during the launch of the Research and Experimental Development Census (2013/14 fiscal year) and the Innovation Census (2012/13 and 2013/14 fiscal years) here on Thursday.
Murangi-Kandjii said enabling environments are created to harness STI for national development and poverty alleviation.
This implies that we have to develop, implement and monitor national and regional STI policies and programmes that promote knowledge production, dissemination and utilisation, as well as the development and appropriation of technologies that spur innovation, she noted.
The minister emphasised that this would require the government to not only focus on large production facilities, but also on the grassroots level, involving small and medium enterprises as part of a broader development agenda.
Special attention must be given to human capital development and the promotion of a broader public participation in decision-making in STI-related issues, in particular promoting the participation of vulnerable groups such as women, youth and the disabled.
In order for us to assess whether our efforts are yielding desired outcomes, we need to establish systems that allow for reliable collection of STI indicators that would eventually inform policy and the necessary strategic interventions, Murangi-Kandjii said.
She commended the National Commission on Research, Science and Technology (NCRST); the Namibia Statistics Agency (NSA); and the University of Namibia (Unam) for joining hands to conduct a National Research and Development Census and a National Innovation Census to establish core STI indicators.
The minister added that STI core indicators handle components such as active human capital involvement in research and development, time dedicated to research and development activities, and the budget or investment for scientific research activities and the innovation component to effectively inform STI development in the country.
We are expecting that the planned research and development, and innovation censuses will produce STI indicators necessary to inform policy-makers of what policies and interventions need to be put into place in order to develop and grow our economy, she said.
Speaking at the same occasion, NCRST Chief Executive Officer Eino Mvula stated that this will be the first-ever national censuses on research and development, and innovation to be conducted in Namibia.
Mvula explained that the two censuses are important as the STI indicators can help in understanding the size and shape of the Namibian research and development landscape and their use in system-level planning, monitoring and evaluation.
He said a project of this magnitude requires close cooperation between the various stakeholders because of the resource constraints the agency is facing, not only on the financial side but also in human resources.
We are proud to work closely with the NSA in line with the memorandum of understanding which lays the foundation for collaborative and strategic partnership between our two institutions signed last year, as well as with Unam, also in line with an agreement signed a month ago, Mvula stated.