Science, technology and innovation in Africa: Stereotypes, realities and prospects

Publication type Article
Status Published
Occupation: Deputy-Director, Institute for African Studies, RAS; Professor
Affiliation: Institute for African Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences
Address: Russian Federation, Moscow
Journal nameAsia and Africa Today
EditionIssue 4

The article uses a large statistical and factual material to analyze the current state of R & D in Africa in order to identify specific niches for establishing Russian-African cooperation in the field of science and technology, which, being of interest to both sides, will allow the Russian Federation to fully realize its competitive advantages in this field, on the one hand, and the African countries to facilitate the solution of their development goals, on the other. Africa is focused on the latest trends in science and breakthrough technologies - digitalization, biotech, the use of non-traditional energy sources, but at the same time on harnessing the potential of traditional knowledge of Africans about nature and human beings.

For several decades African countries have been trying to build a pan-African system of infrastructural and institutional support for collective efforts in the field of science and technology. The pan-African strategy for STI development is due to be fulfilled by year 2024. In the most branches of science, but more often in the advanced ones, deeply integrated scientific collaborations are gaining strength. Albeit in almost all of them, the African partner plays a subsidiary role, while African laboratories de facto turn into overseas branches of Western research centers

The COVID-19 pandemic has further confirmed the importance of African countries having their own R & D capacities, or at least of geographically diversifying the system of existing scientific collaborations. In these circumstances, Russia is facing the prospect of expanding its cooperation with African countries in the field of science, technology and innovation, which is particularly beneficial and attractive for both sides.

Keywordsdevelopment, science and technology policy, innovation, digitalization, breakthrough technologies, sanctions, "brain drain"
Publication date28.04.2021
Number of characters36647
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