NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
The East African Community (EAC) bloc is
developing a regional Science, Technology and Innovation (STI)
Policy to boost its competitiveness, officials said on Tuesday.
Executive Secretary of the East African Science and Technology
Commission (EASTECO), told a media briefing in Nairobi that the
draft policy will be submitted to the EASTECO Governing Board
for adoption before consideration and approval by the EAC
Council of Ministers of the six member states.
“We expect that the
EAC Heads of State will endorse the STI policy in 2019, so as to
create an enabling environment for increased investment in
science, technology in order to boost competitiveness, support
sustainable regional development and socio-economic
transformation,” Ngabirano said during a regional workshop to
review and validate draft STI policy and draft Intellectual
Property Rights Policy.
The EAC Intellectual
Property Rights is expected to ensure that new products and
innovations generated through research are protected from being
stolen by third parties.
EAC partner states
includes Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi and South
The EAC policy will
be aligned to the African Union’s Science, Technology and
Innovation Strategy for Africa 2024.
Ngabirano said that
once the regional STI policy is in place, it will guide the
development of national science policies by the member states.
“It will also
harmonize national science policies in order to enhance
cooperation and avoid duplication in research activities,” she
She noted that the
policy will put the east African region on the road map of being
globally competitive in terms of product development.
According to EASTECO,
the EAC is performing poorly in the manufacturing sector due to
lack of innovative products that can compete globally.
“So, the science
policy will prioritize investments into identified sectors so
that the region can develop products where it has a comparative
advantage,” she added.
Secretary said that one of the provisions of the regional policy
will be to require member states set aside the equivalent of one
percent of their gross domestic product (GDP) towards STI.
She observed that
there is a positive correlation between amount of funds put in
place for research and national development.
Moses Rugutt, the
Director General of Kenya’s National Commission for Science,
Technology and Innovation (NACOSTI) said that compared to other
East African nations, Kenya has made significant strides in
Rugutt said that
Kenya has already put in place a STI policy that stipulates that
research funding must be equivalent of 2 percent of GDP.
Rugutt said that
currently, the level of research funding is slightly less than 1
percent of GDP with most of government allocation being used for
recurrent expenditure rather that actual research activities.
He observed that
most of the research funding is contributed by foreign donors
and therefore research might not be totally aligned to national
The director general
said that the most advanced nations have achieved a research
funding level of 4 percent of GDP.
He noted that once
the regional STI is in place, it will promote collaboration in
area of research in the east African region.
He said that most of
the EAC states are unable to allocate adequate funding for
research because they are small developing economies.