Time to revitalize and revolutionize Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) research in Kenya has finally come.This is a redeemed vital for economic development, yet long neglected and poorly funded.
The one percent allocation of gross domestic product for research and development that was agreed in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in 2007 has become a mirage.
The political and resource allocation honchos are replete of alibis because of their non-scientific background,their insular cogitation considers research as a sack in to which money is poured and nothing of apparent value comes out.
The AU acknowledges that the lag is not primarily the result of limited funding, but of a lack of appreciation for the value of such investments.
The “return on the investment in science and technology is not appreciated by policy makers and even African industry,”the AU report.
The Covid-19 pandemic should act as an epiphany on why we direly need to strengthen our health system and fund our home-grown STEM researchers.
Reports collated from World Bank in 2014 indicated that the African continent (home of 17.2% of the world’s population) produces less than 1% of the world’s research output.
Astonishingly, the World Economic Forum report 2010 also indicated that Africa has only 79 scientists per million of inhabitants compared to countries like Brazil and United States where the ratio stands at 656 and 4,500 respectively.
This vividly shows how research in the continent has been left to the elites in overseas.