Call to embed science, technology and innovation strategies in industry and agriculture to achieve SDG targets

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Policy Forum Breakfast Debate

Tanzania has been urged to entrench and integrate science, technology and innovation strategies in education, industrial, agricultural, trade and investment policies to enable attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the eradication of extreme poverty for all people by the year 2030.

Speaking the during the Policy Forum breakfast debate entitled: "Ending Poverty by Year 2030: The prospects and challenges" held on the 26th of February 2016, in Dar es Salaam, Dr. Bitrina Diyamett of the Science, Technology and Innovation Policy Research Organization (STIPRO) said that to enhance the employment potential of Tanzania to include its poorest, the industrial and agricultural sectors will be crucial, both requiring improvements of the current national research and innovation systems.

“We need to see increased agricultural productivity, while at the same time opening avenues for the non-farm activities in the rural areas, especially in agro-processing while enhancing the marketing of agricultural products and encouraging mineral processing to provide incentives for value addition to minerals rather than raw export and technology and innovation in these are critical,” she said.

Dr. Diyamett cautioned, however, that building innovation capabilities was challenging as it required coordinating policies of very diverse nature, effective governance, continuous follow up and evaluation of the performance of the system and specialised expertise, which the country to a large extent currently lacks.

The second presenter of the debate, Dr. Blandina Kilama of REPOA, an independent Tanzanian research institute, said that in order to end poverty in all its forms everywhere, required was the ability to observe progress or lack of thereof, and this meant that indicators that are traceable at the lowest administrative (personal) level were needed. This included the collection and utilisation of data being beneficial to both the collectors and compilers of the information e.g. Village Registers, Offices of DED, WEO, VEO and SEO.

“In curbing poverty, useful ways need to be thought out to capture everyone including children, women, youth, the vulnerable, time-use by all in the productive sector, while considering the environment and proper governance,” she said.

Dr. Kilama further urged the Statistics Act to enhance quick access to statistics for assessment of performance and ending poverty by 2030 requires frequent and accurate data to inform the progress and areas need attention.

She added that monitoring the SDGs successfully ultimately lies with resource mobilisation, specifically engaging more human and financial resources and encouraged innovations brought about with technologies to simplify and speed up data collection, analysis and reporting.