Padmashree Gehl Sampath, of UNCTAD's Division on Globalization and Development Strategies (left), and Vi's Eveliina KauppinenTwenty-nine students and lecturers from Vi affiliate Russian university member,Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO), joined a videoconference on the Technology and Innovation Report 2015 November 18.

Padmashree Gehl Sampath, of UNCTAD's Division on Globalization and Development Strategies, began her presentation by discussing the importance of science, technology and innovation (STI) for national economies.

“African countries only account for 0.3% of world’s high-tech exports,” Gehl Sampath began, “this low share of technology intensive activities has led to a renewed emphasis on industrial and innovation policies in developing countries.”

According to the report, in order to reach the developmental outcomes, developing countries need to adopt and coordinate the impact of STI and industrial development policies.

 “Countries need to promote technological upgrading and innovation capacity if they want to achieve industrial upgrading,” she said.

She went on to summarize the report’s findings on the three countries that were studied in detail: Nigeria, Tanzania and Ethiopia.

“All three countries have promoted industrial development since the 1960s, but technological learning and STI remained marginal in their developmental plans,” she explained.

Previous efforts to promote industrial development failed due to a low emphasis on technological change.

“According to the surveys, there is a lack of coordination between policymaking, governmental intervention and the business sector,” she said. “This is not an isolated issue; a large number of countries in the African region are facing the same difficulties.”

The report proposes that countries identify and eliminate policy redundancies, promote policy coherence, and develop capacities for proper policy evaluation and monitoring.