Dr Wilber Sabiiti, a senior research associate in Medicine at the University of St Andrews in the UK, has today advised governments in Africa to invest much more in research.
Sabiiti noted that despite being the main driver of new knowledge and innovation, many African countries are lagging behind in research, and focused more on industrialization which can’t be done without research.
“There is no way you can industrialise without strategic investment in research and translation of research into products and implementable policies,” he said.
“Even when you buy technology from outside, it needs to be validated and customised to make it work for the country; all this takes research and innovation”.
Sabiiti was speaking to media in Kampala ahead of a three-day workshop about training people in skills for translating research findings into policy and practice, which is to be held in Kampala next week.
“Normally governments and people seem comfortable being consumers of knowledge and technology from elsewhere rather than generating theirs which should be a culture we should adopt and take on,” he urged.
Dr Sabiiti added that this is the time when people should think innovatively and governments strategically invest in research to find answers to the nation’s challenges.
“No one knows Africa better than Africans and Africa’s breakthrough will come from African solutions”
He also revealed that over 70 percent innovations and policies die at the implementation (practice) phase. 20 percent policies remain shelved while those implemented are severely under financed and may not see the next light of day without external donor funds.