Innogen · Publications · Working papers
It’s not STI: it’s ITS
The Role of Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) in Africa’s Development Strategy
A major current policy issue in development discourse is about the role that research expenditure plays in helping to boost economic production (and hence incomes and employment) in many of the poorer parts of the world. Linked to this is a more recent tendency to emphasise the corresponding role of innovation (I), in the Schumpeterian sense of more efficient ways of turning inputs into outputs. This short working paper concerns an intriguing feature of this debate, a growing tendency to conflate science, and technology, on the one hand, with innovation on the other, and to focus policy analysis on a variable that appears to link all three, viz. STI (science, technology and innovation). Recent reports coming out of the African Union (AU) and New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) are cases in point. While the original NEPAD strategic plan published in 2006, was about S (science) &T (technology) only, by 2014 the corresponding documents had become about “STI”. Similar focuses may be found in national policy documents.