ADDIS ABABA– A new developmental report on Africa notes that Ethiopia has given much emphasis to develop Science, Technology and Innovation (STI), despite its slow start to science, technology and innovation policies.

The Africa Capacity Report 2017, which was launched in Addis Ababa and in another seven African countries Tuesday, states that policies which encourage the expansion of STI, such as awards for innovation and allocations, have made a big difference in the number of science and technology graduates in Ethiopia.

According to the report, another important lesson from Ethiopia is the improvements achieved in technical and vocational education and training (TVET) to strengthen human resource development.

The government’s commitment in establishing the Ministry of Science and Technology, research institutions, universities and TVET institutions have contributed to the progress.

It also notes that Ethiopia’s research and development expenditure as a share of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) has more than tripled between 2005 and 2013.

At the launch of the report, State Minister for Industry Dr. Mebrahtu Meles said science, technology and innovation were essential for socio-economic development on the continent and the government of Ethiopia had adopted a Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) Policy in 2012 with the vision of promoting STI.

The Managing Director of the Horn Economic and Social Policy Institute, the producer of the report, Dr. Ali Issa Abdi, said STI had a crucial role to play in promoting the ability of African countries to achieve economic transformation and development goals.

He said there is significant improvement in the application of science, technology and innovation in the Africa continent. However, the continent is still not sufficiently equipped in science, technology and innovation so as to become competitive enough in all fields, he added.

The report recommended that African countries tighten links among universities, government, industry, non-State actors and labour to promote STI. Investment in education in science and technology, engineering, and mathematics is vital for Africa to achieve a critical mass of educated human resources, to catalyze innovation and promote competitiveness.