TANZANIA yesterday appealed to other African countries to invest in science and technology and strive at all costs to promote innovations in the changed global economic arrangement.
“We need to develop the requisite infrastructure that supports and promotes innovations.
We must reward those who dare to be innovative handsomely so that we may encourage others to follow their steps,” a high-ranking government official said in Dar es Salaam yesterday.
We need to develop the requisite infrastructure that support and promote innovations. We have to set up innovation centres that are functioning properly.
We need also to revisit our education system and the curricula that is in place,” declared the Minister for Industry and Trade, Mr Innocent Bashungwa, when opening a three-day 4thAfricaLICS International Conference discussing the theme of “Innovation and Transformative capacities for growth and sustainable development in Africa.”
AfricaLICS stands for African Research network on Economics of Learning, Innovation and Competence Building Systems.
The AfricaLICS conference, an event of its kind being held in Tanzania for the first, has attracted researchers and eminent scholars to dwell on the new direction in innovation studies and policy models which present serious challenges for Africa and other poor countries of the world– more than they do for the rich nations.
In a speech read on his behalf by the National Development Corporation (NDC) Director General Prof Daniel Gambagambi, Mr Bashungwa said Africa needs education that promotes innovation and which empowers the continent’s youth think critically.
“We should depart from the type of education that trains our youth to memorize and learn to reproduce.
We need people who are able to think independently; people who dare to question the validity of principles and concepts,” the minister emphasized.
“We want African minds that can unpack, interpret and question the validity of globally used concepts related to innovation and transformative changes, and how they apply to an African Environment,” he said, adding that the main problem with African countries is the tendency to pay lip service to issues of major significance to the livelihood of their people.
He said this attitude must change if “we need to change our way of doing things. We need to be proactive while making the right decision.”
To keep pace with the supersonic scientific and technological advances globally, African countries must set their priorities right and decide where to start and how to start.
“Our countries have shown weaknesses in setting the correct priorities. Some people have said we tend to put the cart before the horse.
This must change. We must invest where we believe there is maximum return for the sake of our people and our countries,” the minister underscored in his speech.
Mr Bashungwa said because innovation to a large extent is context specific, that is, what works in one social economic context does not necessarily apply to another.
This, therefore, demands the training of people who believe all that exists today can be changed or at least be improved one way or the other, he said.