Increased funding for scientific research is critical to the country’s economic growth, a Cabinet Minister has said. Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development Minister Oppah Muchinguri told participants at the opening of a four-day workshop for the African Science, Technology and Innovation Indicators (ASTII) survey programme in Harare yesterday that poor funding had crippled research activities in the country.
“Insignificant public investment in research and innovation has led to an unhealthy situation characterised by low research outputs, negligible patenting of research outcomes and low commercialisation of research results that benefit our people,” she said.
“If we are to transform as a country and as a region we need to embrace science, technology and innovation.”
She said the transformation must be matched by the availing of resources, both monetary and infrastructural to bring out meaningful and relevant output from scientific research.
“It is no secret that most of the research that has been happening in Africa has been largely donor driven and hence focused on addressing the needs of donors. The lack of home grown research agendas has seen us losing key intellectual property,” she said.
“Africa’s involvement in key research projects has been on the tail end to validate certain aspects of already well developed ideas and technologies. If we are to truly develop as a region this situation has to change.”
Minister Muchinguri said science, technology and innovation was an important contributor to economic growth.
“The role of science, technology and innovation as an enabler for economic development cannot be overemphasised. he emergence of technology driven Asian economic giants such as Japan, South Korea and china stand as evidence that if deliberate and targeted efforts to harness science and technology for national development are adopted it can be a sustainable way for providing solutions to some of the challenges facing the developing world today.”