Assessment of the state of science and technology in Congo

At the start of the first phase of the project to reposition the national science system in Congo, a General Report was prepared in early 2004 to assess the state of S&T in the country. The report was elaborated in close collaboration with the national authorities by an expert who undertook several missions to Congo to meet with local officials and a large number of researchers working in public institutions and the university sector, as well as representatives of the private sector, relevant international agencies and non-governmental organizations. The General Report concluded that:

  • The science governance system was dysfunctional. Some governance structures existed only in theory and, at 0.13% of GDP, public research funding was well below the stated target of 1% of GDP;
  • Research institutes, universities and industry remained isolated from one another and the entire system suffered from a lack of networking and intersectoral cooperation;
  • The scientific community had no common representative structure, such as an academy or professional associations.

  • Research institutions suffered from a severe shortage of facilities, equipment, logistics and administrative and technical personnel;

  • Public research was placed under the auspices of the Ministry of Scientific Research and Technological Innovation but remained isolated from other sectors, such as agriculture or industry;

  • Since the end of the civil war, Congolese scientists had enjoyed little interaction and only rare exchanges with foreign scientists, as well as limited involvement in regional and international cooperation;

  • The capacity of science policy-makers and managers was very low.

Once feedback had been received from officials on the diagnosis made in the General Report, a series of recommendations were made on the formulation, organization and implementation of an S&T policy. These were then the object of extensive consultations before being forwarded to the government in early 2006.

The ‘diagnosis’ was validated and enriched by nearly 60 Congolese officials from various stakeholder groups at a National Policy Forum for Scientific Research and Technological Innovation organized in Brazzaville in May 2007. A series of seminars and training sessions on such themes as the governance of S&T and innovation policies followed in Brazzaville.

This led the government to instigate a number of reforms between 2005 and 2010.

Source: Adapted from UNESCO (2010) Project for strengthening science and technology policy capacities in the Republic of the Congo. (PDF)

For details, contact Folarin Osotimehin, Project Officer

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