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The important role for science, technology and innovation in fostering socio-economic developmenthas been recognized by African heads of States in their various declarations including the Lagos Plan of Action, the AU/NEPAD Consolidated Plan of Action and other regional economic communities. It is generally agreed that for Africa to guarantee sustained socio-economic development, it
must harness the power of science and technology. This was further articulated in UNESCO/AfDB First Ministerial
Conference on STI for Sustainable Development, Youth Employment and Inclusive Growth in April, 2012.

Despite this general acceptance of the critical role for science, technology and innovation in Africa’s development, the investments in scientific R&D remain quite low and only a couple of countries have attained the 1% of GDP investment in R&D contained both in the Lagos Plan of Action and other declarations (UNESCO Science Report 2010). Whereas there are pockets of success in the application of science and technology, the continent generally lags behind and has not reaped the benefits afforded by science and technology for its development endeavours. While this failure to harness science, technology and innovation can be attributed to many factors, key amongst these is the lack of appropriate policies to guide the science, technology and innovation agenda.

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