African governments urged to adopt ‘Fifarisation’ to address Science, Technology and Innovation brain drain

Dr Coffi Noumon

African governments have been called upon to adopt the International Federation of Football Associations’ (FIFA), strategy where international players of African nationalities are allowed to play for their respective countries during tournaments such as the World Cup to address the brain drain associated with Science Technology and Innovation (STI).

Speaking at the launch of the Africa Capacity Report 2017, Dr Coffi Noumon, the Special Advisor, office of the Executive Secretary of the African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF), said this strategy suggests that when Africa needs scientists, African scientists in the diaspora should be allowed to come home to offer their expertise in the field.

The Report is titled: Building Capacity in Science, Technology and Innovation for Africa’s Transformation.” 

“We don’t have a lot of scientists and the few we train leave Africa to seek greener pastures somewhere else and abandon us.”

He indicated that the objective of the Africa Capacity Building Foundations is to create an enabling environment for African scientists in the diaspora  to join the continent  for the development of STI.

Touching on the findings of the report, he noted that the excessive cost of higher education mainly in STI is impeding development in the field, adding that, the cost of investment for STI institutions are very high making it difficult for parents to support their children  in those courses.

Dr. Noumon also indicated that most of the countries used in the survey lacked critical technical skills.

Additionally, although African governments are committed to establishing STI institutions, adequate institutional capacity is unavailable.

“Out of the 44 countries surveyed for the report, 91 per cent identified training as being high priority. They feel that for the development of STI in our continent, we need to lay emphasis on human capacity building,” he said.

“Infrastructure is considered a high or very high priority for about 83 per cent of the countries assessed,” he said.

Offering recommendations, he pointed out that for the development of STI to contribute to the socio-economic transformation of Africa, countries must strive to meet one per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), STI investment target and set more ambitious targets of up to three per cent.

Adding to that, African governments should provide an enabling environment for local scientific research institutions while private sector and development partners complement government’s effort by providing funding and investments in critical skills in STI.

The Africa Capacity Report 2017 was produced and published with financial support from the World Bank, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Islamic Development Bank (IDB).

By Pamela Ofori-Boateng

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