“He who fails to adopt new remedies must expect new evils, for time is the greatest innovator” – Francis Bacon Africa, Tanzania inclusive, is following far behind the rest of the world in terms of innovation capabilities which is a prime mover of social and economic development. This is evidenced by a number of evils that we witness every day – on top of the list being poverty. Africa, specifically Tanzania, therefore needs a new remedy to redress the situation. The major source of persistent poverty is poor capability in technology and innovation. According to Lee and Mathews (2013), the difference in income levels across countries comes basically from differences in capabilities in many aspects, including the capability to produce and sell internationally competitive products for a prolonged period of time; which means technology and innovation capabilities are at the centre of well being of nations.
Fortunately, Tanzania has recognized the central role of science, technology and innovation in development - at least in blue print. This recognition can be discerned from development plans and strategies. What needs to be done now is to take this recognition to another level by crafting evidence based policies with implementation strategies. However, this cannot be made possible if we do not have at hand context based evidence. For instance, we cannot put in place a policy that can improve innovativeness of firms and farms if we do not know what the companies are struggling with and/or succeeding at; we cannot put in place strategies to improve knowledge and technology transfer - either to the farmers or industrial firms, if we do not know what is happening in practice in the very context in terms of best practices and challenges. And we cannot know all these without in-depth and high quality research because innovation related issues are complex, multi-dimensional and dynamic, requiring constant follow up.
Unfortunately for most African countries, Tanzania inclusive, expertise in this kind of research is very scarce, and this forms the background to the initiation of the Science, Technology and Innovation Policy Research Organization (STIPRO), which is an attempt to put in place yet another important new remedy in the Tanzanian ST&I system that attempts to produce local evidence and statistics –through systematic research – to inform the ST&I policies and strategies as well as to support capacity building of human resources in the area.
More information on the rationale for the existence of STIPRO and for this Strategic Plan is explained in the introductory part. Get convinced and then follow us through the rest of the document.
Dr. Bitrina Diyamett
Dar es Salaam - February 2015