25 January 2013

Tanzania: New Science Policy to Spur Development

TANZANIA expects to introduce new policies and laws which will help accelerate the development of science, technology and innovation for the benefit of the country's socio economic development.

The Minister for Communication, Science and Technology, Prof Makame Mbarawa said this in Dar es Salaam on Wednesday when opening a one day workshop for professionals from the country and abroad.

"We want to see how science, technology and innovation can bring development in our country," Prof Mbarawa told journalists.

He said that the existing policies and laws do not talk on innovation and that the aim now is to have one that will put emphasis on innovation for the country's economic development. Professionals who participated in the workshop came from higher learning institutions, research bodies, private sector and officials from the governments of Tanzania and South Africa.

The ideas from the workshop's participants will be taken into account towards formulating the country's new policies and laws that will stimulate science, technology and innovation to another level. "The sector has so far not contributed much to progress as it should have," he said, adding that the country will not attain sustainable development without investing in this sector.

He explained that the country's Development Vision 2025 articulates the need for the country to embrace science and technology for sustainable development. The Ministry's Director for Science, Technology and Innovation, Prof Evelyne Mbede said that the process to have a new policy and law started in 2007 and that President Jakaya Kikwete has been very instrumental in making this possible.

"The president approached UNESCO to help us in this endeavour and we collaborated in preparing a National Background Paper which we use in Friday's workshop," she said. She said that the National Background Paper report shows where the country has come from and where it should go and what should be done in terms of developing science, technology and innovation in the country.

Prof Emrod Elisante from the University of Dar es Salaam said that Tanzania should have a well functioning system that will allow industries to thrive. He also noted that politicians should let researchers implement their findings unhindered because they have a very crucial role to play in bringing development to the nation.

A researcher from the South African based Institute for Economic Research on Innovation (IERI), Dr Rasigan Mahavajh said Tanzania should heavily invest in science and technology for development.

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