Agricultural Innovation in Africa
African agriculture is at the crossroads. Persistent food shortages are now being compounded by new threats arising from climate change. But Africa faces two major opportunities that can help transform its agriculture and use it as a force for economic growth. First, advances in science and technology worldwide offer African countries new tools needed to promote sustainable agriculture. Second, efforts to create regional markets will provide new incentives for agricultural production and trade. This is the focus of the Agricultural Innovation in Africa (AIA) project. The project seeks to disseminate policy-relevant information on how to align science and technology missions with regional agricultural development goals. It does so in the context of the larger agenda to promote regional economic integration and development.
The AIA project builds on the findings of the expert report Freedom to Innovate: Biotechnology in Africa's Development prepared by the High Level African Panel on Modern Biotechnology of the African Union (AU) and the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD). The panel's main recommendations include the need for individual countries in central, eastern, western, northern and southern Africa to work together at the regional level to scale up the development of biotechnology. The upcoming study, The New Harvest: Agricultural Innovation in Africa, is a continuation of that effort. It positions the agriculture at the center of efforts to spur economic development in Africa. It outlines the policies and institutional changes needed to promote agricultural innovation. For more information:
Climate change reflects the unsustainable growth path followed in the past by the developed economies and some developing economies, implying an incessant and non-judicious use of natural resources, increasing pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. The recent financial and economic crises present opportunities to revisit the path of development and to restructure our development approaches and strategies. This has resulted in the renewed interest within the international community to push for more environmentally sustainable growth - green growth.
Green Development is an economic growth concept and a new paradigm of sustainable development. It emphasizes economic assets of natural resources, the potential multiple benefits of green industries as well as the need for policy mixes in environmental policy which include (or which make more use of) economic instruments. Green Development focuses on the quality of development by promoting eco-efficiency. By moving beyond the three pillars of sustainable development (economic development, social, and environmental), Green Development also pursues a goal of quality of life and well-being for all.
The STG project is researching a green growth strategy that will promote a more inclusive growth model, bringing government, the civil society and businesses, in a synergistic manner in order to bring about the desired changes in the economy.
Development Universities in Africa
The first generation of post-independent universities in Africa focused on nation building. Today these countries are faced with new challenges related to participation in the global economy, meeting basic needs, and making the transition towards sustainability. These challenges require increased investment in the generation and use and diffusion of scientific and technological knowledge. In response, a number of African countries are exploring how universities could contribute directly to economic transformation. This activity focuses on research on new generation of universities and research institutions that emphasize the development of technical expertise, create entrepreneurial capabilities, and strengthen community service in Eastern Africa.