Can New UN Initiative Boost Technology, Science & Innovation in Least Developed Countries?

It has one of those bureaucratic sounding names, “Technology Bank and Science, Technology and Innovation Supporting Mechanism dedicated to the least developed countries (LDCs),” and consistent with such terminology, a “High Level Panel” has been appointed to steer the Initiative. Nonetheless, this initiative may be another seed of hope both for business opportunity and the citizen. The difference between symbolism and substantive success though is whether further cultivation of the technology in Africa will come from the private sector and entrepreneurs.
(See: Secretary General’s High Level Panel notes to Correspondents)

Africa is not just fertile for the mining of its natural resources and agriculture. From innovations in mobile payment systems to renewable energy, Africa has been a leader. (See: Solar Energy Has a Future, but Needs Support Now!”) African states have been capable of leapfrogging more developed states in various areas of IT. The new, yet to be unfurled initiatives by Facebook and Google to enhance connectivity globally for all including more remote areas may prove to be a crucial link – the Internet is the new global information and logistics highway. Finally, we should also always remind ourselves that Africa or LDC’s are not homogeneous. How fertile such states/societies are for technological, scientific and/or medical advances is not limited by geography or history or even funding but frequently the health of the political environment, human rights and openness to innovation, ideas and diversity. (For more information, see: UN News Centre Report.)


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