In 2004, the Congolese authorities requested UNESCO’s assistance to strengthen its national capacities in science, technology and innovation (STI) in effort to revitalize the STI system after the lost years of the Congolese civil war. Through its Division for Science Policy and Capacity-Building, UNESCO has accompanied this effort step by step to reform the country’s STI system. Financial support for the initial phase was provided by the Government of Japan and UNESCO’s regular budget, and further funding was provided by the Government of Spain as part of the project “Capacity-Building in STI policy in Africa”. In December 2014, to pursue the progress achieved to date, the Government of Congo signed an agreement with UNESCO to auto-finance the new three year follow-up project.
During the first phase of the project, UNESCO provided policy advice and technical assistance to the Republic of Congo by carrying out an in-depth survey of its research and innovation system. This survey was followed by the submission of a series of recommendations to the Government on the reform of the STI system, and on the development of the national STI policy and action plan for 2010-2016.
In June 2011, with the vision that research and innovation are motors of the country’s economic, social, human and cultural development, UNESCO and the Ministry of Scientific Research and Technological Innovation worked jointly to plan the second phase of the project.
During the planning phrase, cooperation continued on an operational level. The framework and foundations were laid to develop a Technopole situated in Pointe Noire, Congo’s second largest city and at the heart of its national economy and industry. A feasibility study on the development of the future Technopole was developed that includes specific training for the operationalization of the Technopole. The next phase of its development is being planned and is part of the second phase to begin in 2015.
In December 2014, the Government of Congo signed an agreement with UNESCO to finance $400,000 the second phase of the project. UNESCO will provide assistance in updating the mapping of the research and innovation in the country. The agreement will also finance the renewal of the national STI policy and strategy to include the design of appropriate policy instruments that will enhance the standing of the sector. The project will also ensure the country’s integration in the Global Observatory of STI policy instruments (GO-SPIN) and the promotion of scientific culture and better commercialization of scientific research results.
The science policy reform in Congo could be considered a pilot project for other countries in Central Africa.
- Republic of Congo and UNESCO join forces to enhance research and innovation, 17 December 2014
- Towards interparliamentary cooperation in Central Africa, 15 March 2008
Articles and Publications
UNESCO Science Report, 2015