Building African Knowledge Economies Prof. John Ouma-Mugabe Graduate School of Technology Management University of Pretoria Outline What is a knowledge economy? Pillars of a knowledge economy Why African countries should focus on knowledge State of Knowledge Assets in Africa Opportunities to Build African Knowledge Economies Strategic Actions to Build Knowledge Economies in Africa What is a knowledge economy? an economy in which productivity, growth and sustainability are dependent on the production, diffusion and use of knowledge, rather than the traditional means of production (OECD 1996) Economy that is based on the quality and efficient use of human capital rather than land, labour and machinery Pillars of a knowledge economy Education & Training The quality of institutional Regimes (Normative e.g. IPP and agency types e.g. councils) Infrastructure (Internet, electricity, etc) Innovation systems (network of organizations for production, diffusion and use of knowledge) Why Africa should focus on knowledge: Limits to Growth 2000-2011 Africa’s economic growth averaged 5% of gross domestic product but the growth is unsustainable and inorganic Natural resource/commodity based growth Vulnerable to ecological changes Vulnerable to global economic instabilities and disruptions Limits of FDI Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) inflows have increased considerably (approx. US$ 71 billion in 2012 from approx. US$ 20 billion in 1998) At least 65% of FDI targeting natural resources and services sectors No evidence of FDI being a source of new technologies and promoting local technological learning in Africa State of Knowledge Assets Education and training still underfunded and underperforming ( Burundi 16% of the national budget on education compared to approx. 25% on defence; Uganda 20% on education compared to 23% on defence and security) In South Africa just about 5% of grade 5s are capable of reading (The Star 22 Oct. 2013) State of Knowledge Assets In Kenya less than 30% of grade 8 pupils pass mathematics (last 15 years) Expenditure on R&D still below target of 1% of GDP. Most countries with GERD of less than 0.5% of GDP Sub-Saharan Africa produced less than 25% of combined Brazil and India’s scientific publication in biosciences (2006-2008) State of Knowledge Assets According UNESCO surveys, engineering faculties have outdated and poorly maintained facilities in many countries Improving IT infrastructure but challenges with other infrastructures e.g. reliable electricity Institutional regimes characterized by policy deficits Knowledge Assets National innovation systems’ quality undermined by weak intra- and inter-institutional linkages (e.g. Ref: DST Ministerial Committee report on RSA innovation system) Opportunities to Build Knowledge Economies Recognition of the critical need to transform economies from natural resource-based to knowledge-based (Policy Instruments e.g. South Africa’s Ten-Year Innovation Plan; Kenya’s Vision 2030, Uganda’s STI Policy, ….) Globalization and increasing exposure to global knowledge pools Opportunities (cont.) The demise of the Washington Consensus and the emergence of alternative loci of aid and policy innovations AU@50 and the search for sustained African development Better governance conditions in most of Africa and strong civil society A Strategy to Build Knowledge Economies Qualitative reform of education and training systems with emphasis on building know-how and know-why capabilities From statements of intent to policy actions on GERD (at national and AU levels) Intensify knowledge diplomacy with BRICS, EU and other regional blocs Strategy for Knowledge Economy Conduct comprehensive reviews of national innovation systems and establish programmes for building NISs Promote efficient use of IT infrastructure for economic production and improve other infrastructures Strategy for Knowledge Economy Renew political commitment to STI (at national level through presidential/executive initiatives and at AU level through strengthening of AUC and AMCOST) Harness the will and power of the corporate sector (Roundtables on Public-Private Partnerships for a Knowledge Economy Strategy for Knowledge Economy Mobilize civil society and build sense of urgency and restlessness among the African youth (Pan African Youth Conference on the Knowledge Economy) Africa@50 THANK YOU!