Geneva, 3 November 2008 - Angola should employ science, technology, and innovation (STI) to broaden its national economic base -- currently heavily dependent on natural resource exploitation -- so that it can better recover from long years of civil conflict and become a stabilizing force in its region of Africa, a just-completed UNCTAD study recommends.
UNCTAD´s science, technology, and innovation policy (STIP) review of the country says economic diversification and reconstruction of infrastructure are Angola´s top development priorities. It notes that Angola has extensive resources and high potential, and can become an economic engine for Africa.
The review was carried out by UNCTAD in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) country office in Angola and in consultation with the Angolan Ministry of Science and Technology. The report, surveys progress to date and the lingering human, physical, and economic consequences of the civil conflict.
As non-mineral foreign direct investment (FDI) starts to flow in, it is important for the Angolan government to put in place measures to maximize the potential benefits from the technologies and knowledge that FDI brings, the review recommends. Moreover, it says, national efforts to meet the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) would be greatly helped by the use of modern technology and knowledge.
The study provides an overview of existing STI policies in Angola, the main challenges faced in the fields of science and technology, and focuses on key sectoral and systemic factors that need to be addressed for improvement. It makes several recommendations for enhancing STI capacity in the oil and non-oil sectors. And it says a national framework strategy for STI development and policy coordination should be set up.
UNCTAD carries out Science, Technology and Innovation Policy Reviews at the request of developing country Governments. The STIP review for Angola was first presented on 29 May at the 11th session of the United Nations Commission on Science and Technology for Development. STIP reviews have been carried out for seven developing countries and have offered advice on setting up appropriate national innovation systems and on maximizing the development impacts of science and technology.
Other UNCTAD projects under way in Angola include efforts to train officials in international trade matters (TRAINFORTRADE) and steps to improve debt management (DMFAS). An UNCTAD programme to promote small business formation in Angola (Angola Enterprise Program: Support to the Development of the Micro-Enterprise Sector in Angola) recently concluded.