Science and technology policies and structures in Southern Africa : a discussion of the concept of national system of innovation with reference to Malawi, Namibia and South Africa

Maluke, Rethabile Olive (2004-04)

Thesis (MPhil)--Stellenbosch University, 2004.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The interface between science and technology and the society has led to the notion of science as a social contract, in which scientists, politicians and the general public are called upon to acknowledge the urgency of using all fields of science and technology to address human needs. Science and technology is used as an instrument of change for a better quality of life and sustainable development for the present and future generations. The object of science and technology policies is to achieve specific development objectives. It is thus imperative to adopt science and technology policies that support the national development strategies. It is also important to set up science and technology structures to facilitate the proper functioning of the science and technology system. Competitiveness constitutes one of the most important challenges facing Southern Africa today. With globalization and the expansion of world trade competition, it has become more difficult for Southern African enterprise to keep up with the pace of technological developments. In the light of these challenges, most countries are driving towards the adoption of a national system of innovation (NSI) to encourage the interaction of policies, research and development, human resource development and industrial development. The study is induced by major science and technology set backs, which are common across countries in Southern Africa namely, poor co-ordination mechanisms, poor science and technology infrastructure and a lack of funding. The study provides background information on the theoretical framework of the concept of NSI. For the research method, a qualitative research design was followed with content analysis of existing documents. Published documents were used to provide information on the three countries, which were used as case studies namely Malawi, Namibia and South Africa. The main focus of the case studies is on the following: an outline of the policy goals of each of the three countries, the concept of the NSI as it is expressed by each of the countries and the science and technology structures in the three countries. The study identified poor co-ordination of science and technology activities as the key problem of all three countries. The structures differ slightly and in particular, the placement of the management of science and technology determines the efficiency of the system. The South African NSI is well established as its network is strengthened by the National Advisory Council for Innovation and the National Research and Development Strategy. Next is Namibia which has a system in place, while Malawi is still at the initial stages of setting up its NS!.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die koppelvlak tussen wetenskap en tegnologie en die gemeenskap het gelei tot die siening van wetenskap as 'n sosiale kontrak waarin wetenskaplikes, politici en die algemene publiek versoek word om te erken dat dit nodig geword het om alle vertakkinge van wetenskap en tegnologie aan te wend om menslike nood te verlig. Wetenskap en tegnologie word gebruik as 'n instrument om verandering teweeg te bring ter bevordering van 'n beter kwaliteit lewe en volhoubare ontwikkeling vir die huidige en toekomstige generasies. Die doel van 'n wetenskap en tegnologiebeleid is om spesifieke ontwikkelingsdoelstellings te verwesenlik. Dit is dus noodsaaklik dat hierdie beleid in ooreenstemming met die nasionale onwikkelingsstrategieë ontwerp moet word. Dit is ook belangrik om wetenskap en tegnologiestrukture in plek te stel wat die effektiewe funksionering van die sisteem kan vergemaklik. Mededingbaarheid is een van die grootste uitdagings wat Suider Afrika tans in die gesig staar. Met globalisering en die uitbreiding van wêreldhandel het dit moeiliker geword vir Suider Afrikaanse ondernemings om in pas te bly met tegnologiese ontwikkeling. In die lig van hierdie uitdagings stuur die meeste lande in die rigting van 'n Nasionale Sisteem vir Innovasie (NSI) om interaksie tussen beleid, navorsing en ontwikkeling, menslike hulpbronontwikkeling en industriële ontwikkeling aan te moedig. Wat aanleiding gegee het tot hierdie studie is die wetenskap en tegnologieprobleme wat algemeen voorkom in die lande in Suider Afrikaanse, naamlik onvoldoende koërdinasie meganismes, swak wetenskap en tegnologie-infrastruktuur en 'n gebrek aan fondse. 'n Kwalitatiewe navorsingsontwerp is gevolg waarin analise van die inhoud van dokumente as navorsingsmetode gebruik is. Die studie verskaf agtergrond-inligting oor die teoretiese raamwerk van die NSI konsep. Gepubliseerde dokumente is gebruik om inligting te verskaf oor die drie lande wat as gevallestudies dien, naamlik Malawi, Namibië en Suid-Afrika. Die hooffokus van die gevallestudies is soos volg: 'n raamwerk van die beleidsdoelstellings van elk van die drie lande, die konsep NSI soos toegepas deur elkeen en die wetenskap en tegnologiestrukture in elk van die betrokke lande. Die studie het swak koërdinasie van wetenskap en tegnologie-aktiwiteite as die sleutelprobleem van aldrie lande geïdentifiseer. Die strukture verskil effens van mekaar en veral die plasing van die wetenskap en tegnologiebestuur bepaal die effektiwiteit van die stelsel. Die Suid Afrikaanse NSI is goed gevestig omdat sy netwerk versterk word deur die Nasionale Adviesraad vir Innovasie en die Nasionale Navorsing- en Ontwikkelingstrategie. Volgende is Namibië wat 'n sisteem in plek het, terwyl Malawi nog maar in die beginstadium is van die daarstelling van hul NSI.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/50089
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