General Report on KMAIII - Knowledge to reposition Africa in the global economy
KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT AFRICA - WWW.KMAFRICA.COM
GENERAL REPORT OF THE THIRD KMA CONFERENCE
“KNOWLEDGE TO REPOSITION AFRICA IN THE GLOBAL ECONOMY”
LE MERIDIEN PRESIDENT HOTEL
04–07 May 2009, Dakar Senegal
KMAFRICA FINANCIAL PARTNERS
- Government of Senegal
- the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)
- The Development Bank of South Africa (DBSA)
- the Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie (AUF)
- the African Development Bank (AfDB)
- the Islamic Development Bank (IDB)
- the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation ACP-EU (CTA)
- the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), and the NEPAD.
The Third Conference of the "Knowledge Management Africa (KMA)" initiative on "KNOWLEDGE TO REPOSITION AFRICA IN THE GLOBAL ECONOMY” was held from 4 to 7 May 2009 at the Dakar-based Hotel Méridien President. The conference was jointly organised by the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA), the African Regional Centre for Technology (ARCT), and the Senegalese National Academy of Science and Techniques (ANST), with technical and financial support from the Government of Senegal and the following international institutions: the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), the Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie (AUF), the African Development Bank (AfDB), the Islamic Development Bank (IDB), the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation ACP-EU (CTA), the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), and the NEPAD.
In accordance with the KMA policy, the Dakar Conference aims at promoting cooperation for the joint exploration and tapping of development potentials through the effective use of knowledge and technologies for the sustainable development of Africa. Furthermore, the specific objectives include:
- Offering a forum for exchanging information, experiences and consultations among African countries to discuss innovative measures and programs toward promoting the sustainable development of the continent;
- Bringing together key decision-making institutions, development agencies, academics, development activists and private sector representatives to consider mechanisms to speed up the development of Africa under the KMA (Knowledge Management) program;
- Reviewing and assessing the achievements made on the continent and as part of the KMA program since its inception, asserting the potential of the main centres of excellence and their role in promoting sectoral development;
- Developing a strategy to support the KMA program on the continent to take advantage of existing knowledge portals and dissemination mechanisms;
- Making concrete decisions toward establishing a mechanism ensuring that the KMA program is implemented, operational and sustainable.
The key results expected from the Conference can be summarised as follows:
- There is more sustained awareness-building on KMA objectives, activities and planning toward West African government and institutions;
- Reports and resolutions are widely disseminated once KMA III is completed successfully;
- The West Africa focal point of KMA is established in conjunction with ARCT and ANST;
- The KMA West Africa database is up and running, and its website and digital information sharing system are operational;
- A workshop on information sharing standards is held for the selected 16 officials of national focal points and 16 representatives of knowledge management national institutions;
- A program is developed to monitor the KMA III Conference and other initiatives, such as the FEST foundation;
- Regular reports are prepared on the activities of KMA in West Africa.
This General Report of the KMA III Conference covers the following activities:
- THE OFFICIAL OPENING CEREMONY
- PLENARY SESSIONS
- PARALLEL WORKSHOPS
- THE OFFICIAL CLOSING CEREMONY
KMA III was a resounding success given the level and quality of participations and organisation of an exhibition, a considerable innovation compared to the first two meetings. Thus nearly three hundred (300) participants from thirty North American, Latin American, European, Asian and African countries took part in the Dakar conference.
THE OFFICIAL OPENING CEREMONY
Speeches and presentations
- The opening ceremony of the third KMA conference on the theme "Knowledge to reposition Africa in the global economy” was held on four May in the year two thousand nine, at Hotel Le Méridien Président in Dakar. The ceremony was presided by Senegalese Minister of Scientific Research, Professor Amadou Tidiane Ba, with Jean Pierre Ndiaye of ANST and Ms Mamathe Kgarimettsa-Phiri of DBSA as Rapporteurs.
- It was incumbent upon the President of the Senegalese National Academy of Science and Technology (ANSTS), Professor Souleymane Niang, who also chairs the National Organizing Committee of KMA III, to make the first statement. Professor Niang underscored the need for an all-inclusive development of Africa through the mastery of Science and Technology, suggesting the building of national and regional scientific areas or centers of expertise provided with human and financial resources.
- Following Professor Niang’s statement, Professor Emile Tanawa from the University Agency of the Francophonie (AUF) said that the Agency was committed to work at ensuring that universities fulfill their fundamental missions of education, production of knowledge and support for development through promoting major programs and inter-university solidarity. Professor Tanawa delivered a message from AUF Vice-chancellor Bernard Cerquiglini, renewing his commitment to African Universities, their stakeholders and partners, to ensure that the universities further strengthen their social relevance, which requires generating and sharing knowledge.
- For his part, the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) representative Mr. Seydou Barry said the IDB has made the application of Science and Technology to the various development areas a guiding principle, while promoting close cooperation with key regional and international partners. The IDB has been funding Scientific and Technological projects for several years. The IDB has created a special program to promote excellence in research, development and scientific education, through the IDB Prize for Science and Technology. Furthermore, Scholarship Programs created by the bank aim at developing a pool of high expertise in science and technology in the IDB member countries. Another area of interest for the IDB is to promote private sector investment in Science and Technology. Finally, the IDB has established an Office of Science and Technology with the mission of providing support to the Bank's activities promoting Science and Technology as a fundamental instrument for the development of its member countries.
- The Regional Director of IDRC, Ms Kathryn Touré, recalled IDRC's mandate of "liberation through knowledge," saying that is why IDRC has been supporting development-oriented research and knowledge mobilisation for development in Africa, Asia and Latin America for several decades. Ms Touré further stressed the need to create an innovation system for knowledge management, comprising companies, research centres, universities, consultancies, and other organizations capable of tapping the stock of available pieces of knowledge, adapting them to local needs, and transforming them into products and services useful to society. Finally Ms Touré noted that "research and the production, sharing and use of knowledge are essential for the global community to build a better future for humanity.
- She passed on the floor to former Director General of UNESCO, Professor Amadou Moctar Mbow. After reviewing the situation in Africa in light of the ongoing global developments, Professor Mbow said while scientific and technological innovation capacity is measurable by the number of engineers, technicians and researchers, Africa is far from reaching the required threshold. Professor Mbow noted that the cause of the Continent standing at such level today despite progress made since independence is that it is yet to take advantage of the enormous development possibilities from the scientific and technical knowledge that have marked the evolution of humanity, especially since the end of World War II, though this does not detract from the key role played by its men and women of science in various places to advance knowledge and technical innovation. Professor Mbow believes that it is a matter of critical mass to be achieved and, in a deeper way, a matter of establishing scientific spirit and technological skills in African societies. Finally Professor Mbow said the current evolution of the world requires that Africans radically review their relations to Science and Technology, as well as the mass media. Because while it is important to diagnose an evil, it is even more important to implement remedies. And to a large extent, these remedies lie in the resolve of today’s adults to change the course of events, but also and especially in their ability to provide younger generations with education and training capable of breeding new creative, enterprising, and audacious elites.
- At the onset of his statement, Mr Paul Baloyi from the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) recalled the objectives of KMA III before delivering a few thoughts on the previous conferences. KMA was launched with the realisation that knowledge has gone global and that Africa must claim its share, especially by promoting our indigenous knowledge to make our best contribution. It is becoming increasingly clear that we are piling up successes in this direction by involving the States in the global dialogue, with some making good results. Some of these successes can be validly attributed to ideas generated by Africans and between Africans. However, a number of lessons have emerged - the impact of the current global crisis on Africa’s readiness for free trade, privatisation and foreign investment, the conversion of knowledge into productivity, the transition from rhetoric to implementation, and the amount of resources devoted to dialogue, among others.
- In his statement, Mr Mohamed H'Midouche, representing the African Development Bank (AfDB) president, said that knowledge is an integral part of the mission and mandate of AfDB. To fulfil its mission, AfDB recognises the importance of generating, mobilising, sharing and applying knowledge. Also as part of its vision of knowledge, AfDB aims at becoming “Africa’s first bank of knowledge." Mr H'Midouche later dwelt on three strategic objectives and key results - establishing and embedding a “culture of knowledge” within the bank, increasing the operational effectiveness of the Bank, and boosting the integration and expansion of external networks and partnerships through knowledge sharing. Finally, Mr H'Midouche listed the four pillars supporting AfDB’s strategy: selectiveness, which relates to producing knowledge for effective development; relevance vis-à-vis the Bank’s core business, which relates to using knowledge through partnerships; the use of added value to promote the dissemination and sharing of knowledge; and the building of strong partnerships based on improving the use of knowledge to enhance operational efficiency and development.
- It was incumbent on the Minister of Scientific Research to deliver the opening remarks. The minister welcomed participants on behalf of the President of the Republic and Government of Senegal and thanked the organisers of KMA III. He then noted that the theme of the conference is particularly topical because on one hand there is awareness in Africa that only decisive structural change can pull African economies out of their dormancy and people from poverty, and because progress made in research and technological innovations can greatly contribute in solving the main problems facing Africa on the other hand. Professor Ba said that for many experts, the solution to Africa's problems lies in its economic opening to the world, and its renouncement to any form of protection. However, there is need to reconcile the endogenous dimensions of development and opening or even globalisation. It is imperative that KMA remains geared to the needs for endogenous and local development, which are necessary conditions for the effective integration of an Africa seeking to reposition itself in the global economy. Finally, the Minister of Scientific Research expressed his wish for deep consideration of the idea of a KMA Foundation under the auspices of DBSA and NEPAD toward setting up an efficient coordination mechanism with appropriation funds to finance regional centres of excellence.
- The Knowledge Management Africa Conference is an initiative to launch a continental program for the Management of Knowledge in Africa. Initiated in 2005 in Johannesburg, the meeting holds every other year in a rotating scheme, in one of five sub-regions of the continent chosen by the African Union (South, North, East, West and Centre).
- To sustain the actions taken during the meetings and imprint an official nature to the commitments made by the parties responsible for organising the event, DBSA, ANST and ARCT have signed a memorandum of agreement.
Overview of the officials at the Opening Ceremonie, chaired by S.E the Professor Amadou Tidiane Ba, Minister of Scientfic Research of Senegal, May 4th,
Overview of the officials at the Opening Ceremonie, chaired by S.E the Professor Amadou Tidiane Ba, Minister of Scientfic Research of Senegal, May 4th, 2009
De gauche à droite, on reconnait : From left to Right :
- Dr. Mohamed H’Midouche,Regional Regional Representative of The African Development Bank (ADB) ;
- Mr. Paul Baloyi, CEO of The Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) ;
- S.E. Professor Amadou Tidiane BA, Minister of Scientific Research
- Pr Souleymane NIANG,president of the National Academy of Sciences and Technics of Senegal (ANSTS) ;
- Professor Amadou Mahtar Mbow, former CEO of UNESCO ;
- Mme Kathryn Touré, Regional Director of the Research Center for International Development (IDRC).
The first session ended with the signing of the Memorandum of Agreement between DBSA, ANSTS and ARCT, and was followed by the official opening of the Exhibition.
Signing the ANSTS/CRAT/DBSA Memorandum of Agreement
PREVIEWING THE EXHIBITION
- The KMA III conference stood out of the two previous editions through the holding of an exhibition. This was an opportunity to showcase the activities of several agencies working in the fields of Science and Technology, as well as those of various partners of the Conference.
- In this regard, the attending officials were led to a tour of the exhibition to receive information on the various stands.
CONFERENCE DISCUSSIONS AND SIGNING OF THE ANST/ARCT/DBSA MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING
- The day of 5 May 2009 was devoted to sessions 2 and 3 on "The way covered: Principles, Cases, Issues and Prospects”, and sessions 4 and 5 with two round table discussions – the one on “Knowledge Management Systems” and the other on “The Sustainability and Governance of KMA”.
- Session 2 was chaired by Professor Shadrack Gutto of UNISA, with Mr. Abdul Kamara from AfDB as a moderator, assisted by Professor Abdoulaye Samb of ANSTS and Ms Josephine Nhlapo Hlope of the South African State House as Rapporteurs.
- Three papers were presented during the session:
- “Knowledge Management to Improve the Public Service Offer” by Dr. Snowy Khoza of DBSA;
- “Technology and Knowledge Management for Africa’s Sustainable Development” by Dr. Ousmane Kane of ARCT.
- “KMA II 2007” by Dr. David Cheruyet (Kenyan Ministry of Planning)
- The following main issues were discussed :
- The way covered since Johannesburg 2005, Nairobi 2007 and Dakar 2009.
- There is need to transform Africa's commitment vis-à-vis the global economy beyond the export of raw materials.
- Developing knowledge is crucial to ensuring improved service delivery, which includes (vertical and horizontal) coordination as well as capacity and institution building.
- There is need to focus on strengths and the sharing of lessons learnt, as well as new knowledge.
- Knowledge is important for Africa’s growth, industrialisation, innovation and realisation of its potential.
- Summary of session findings
- Much has happened since the launch in 2004 (e.g. UNISA led a project of locating African experts and identifying centres of excellence).
- To sustain KMA, it is important to link KMA programs to government programs.
- It is important to translate expressed political will into action. This means providing budget resources.
- KMA is important for Africa to tackle the change of its destiny. This includes proper management of intellectual property rights, coordination for efficiency and synergies, and harnessing existing knowledge.
- Other observations of particular interest and relevance
- Capacity building for KMA is vital also to foster shared understanding of its nature and potential for unleashing Africa’s potential.
- Institutionalising KMA is crucial. This involves mobilising partners and resources.
- Lessons learnt and the work of KMA as a whole and at individual level should be shared and disseminated.
- The third session was chaired by Dr. Snowy Khoza of DBSA, with Professor Rajni Taoufik of AfDB as moderator and Dr. Andrew Paterson of DBSA and Mr Youssoupha Diatta of MBERRS/ARCT as Rapporteurs.
- Two papers were presented during the session:
- “Evolution of ICTs in Africa: Challenges and Prospects,” by Dr Alassane Dialy Ndiaye of ANSTS;
- “Knowledge management and international research development collaboration with African scientific Diaspora;” by Professor Hassane Saliah, of TEUQ/UQAM.
- Sessions 4 and 5 were dedicated to round table discussions. The first round table on ‘‘Knowledge management systems: Experiences, lessons learnt and prospects for Africa” was chaired by Professor Amadou M. Mbow, with Ms Christina Golino of DBSA as Moderator, and Dr. Alhadji Wereme of IRSAT/Burkina Faso, Dr. Michelle Ruiters of DBSA and Mr Youssouph Diatta as Rapporteurs. Following were the syndicate group members :
- Dr. Mustafa El. Tayeb, UNESCO
- Dr. Dato Lee Yee Cheong, ISTIC
- Professor Emile Tanawa, AUF
- Dr. Matar Seck, ECA
- The following issues were discussed:
- Knowledge is a key driver of economic development; mastery of science, technology and innovation are crucial to a knowledge economy
- Knowledge management can boost competitiveness, but we need to have knowledge before we can ask the right questions. Initiatives by the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), for example, Parliamentary Communities of Practice (see UNECA’s Knowledge Sharing Portal, which provides space for member states to create their own websites and share information).
- Brain gain can be achieved through South-South cooperation, standardisation of qualifications and criteria. Acceptance of qualifications and certification across continent could lead to greater sharing of skills.
- We could learn from China, Brazil and India as well as other Global South partners, but African researchers and scholars should collaborate more among themselves as there are often programmes in Africa that are designed by Africans but ignored by other Africans.
- There are university programmes, for example the AUF promotes collaboration between universities, secures funding for research, facilitates the protection of intellectual property and showcases the work of universities through its portal.
- North-South relations do have benefits especially in science, for example nano- or nuclear technology, but the political/power dynamic should be carefully handled.
- Indigenous and traditional knowledge systems should be protected, developed and managed to the advantage of African states.
- Africa should not be copying and following the innovations of the North but should be innovative and create its own systems capable of ensuring its development; therefore, African states should find ways to increase the productivity of rural areas, develop value-added industries, increase market access for all constituencies but especially women and youths.
Summary of Recommendations:
- A statistical inventory of the supply of knowledge and the demand for knowledge could be conducted at household level to determine where the gaps are.
- Governments should have a policy on national languages being used for the development of knowledge.
- Knowledge producers have to revisit the model of knowledge management they are using because we remain at square one.
- Our models need to be implementable and result in concrete actions.
- Artificial boundaries within Africa need to be broken to facilitate sharing of knowledge and resources.
- Universities in Africa should increase their collaboration and sharing of information among themselves.
- We need to find ways of bridging Africa’s digital divide; facilitate infrastructure development for that process; and protect users and governments from cyber crime through legislation.
- We need to balance research with inventions to ensure that inventions are value-added and patented.
- Governments need to use scientific advisors (human and natural sciences) more strategically, especially as problems of development are problems of production that are solved by technology.
- Governments also need to engage citizens through participatory systems. The trickle-down effect does not work, therefore citizens need to be fully engaged in all processes to make sure that development takes place.
- Competitive advantage lies in knowledge creation, management and implementation.
- We need to ensure that supply of knowledge meets the demands for knowledge.
- We should look at the ways in which local languages could be used to develop knowledge
- The second round table discussion was chaired by Mister Santiso Carlos of AfDB, with Mamathe Kgarimetsa-Phiri of DBSA as Moderator and Dr. Rexford Osei of MEST (Ghana) and Mr Prosper Houeto of ARCT as Rapporteurs. Following were the syndicate group members :
- Dr. Abdalla Alnajjar, ASTF
- Dr. Snowy Khoza, DBSA
- Dr. Innocent Butare, IDRC
- Ambassadeur Moussa Bocar Ly, MAE (Senegal)
- Mister Mbaye Diouf, ARCT.
- Following track presentations, discussions centred on:
- The sustainability of KMA
- The opportunity to create a Foundation
- Funding mechanisms
Summary of Conclusions or Recommendations:
Evaluating the activities conducted after the various KMA meetings and analysing their relevance
- Reviewing activities
- Organising workshops
- Proposing resolutions
- Reflecting on the awareness-building and mobilisation process
- Proposing guidelines to sustain KMA
- Pursuing the contextualisation of KMA, which was launched in 2005 (creating 5 representations – South–East –West-North and Centre)
- Addressing the short-term issue of choosing a type of legal entity for KMA.
- Encouraging African regional bodies to a create KM unit.
KMA governing bodies
- Creating a foundation in the form of an excellence-centred NGO.
- Conducting a serious study of the issue of empowering the partnership and the roles devolved to the various stakeholders.
- Involving the States and the Diaspora, while keeping control and management of the organisations.
- Involving the media as part of awareness-building, mobilisation and information transmission;
- Involving researchers and scientist as well as the grassroots.
- Increasing the awareness of and involving regional bodies in bringing financial support to the KMA initiative;
- Involving the private sector and the Diaspora in the funding the KMA initiative;
- KMA should have a status allowing it to receive public and private financial support.
The day of 6 May 2006 was dedicated to parallel workshops as part of sessions 6, 7, 8 and 9. A total of five workshops were organised on the following themes:
- Knowledge Management and Economic Challenges
- Knowledge Management and Social Challenges
- Knowledge Management and Environmental Challenges
- Knowledge Management and Governance
- Knowledge Management and Innovative Avenues
- The reports of the five workshops will be appended to this general report.
SIGNING THE AUF/ANSTS/ARCT MEMORANDUM OF AGREEMENT
A ceremony to sign a Memorandum of Understanding between AUF, ANST and ARCT was held on the sidelines of the conference, especially before the 5 May 2009 roundtable sessions. The MOU especially governs the arrangements for AUF financial support for the KMA Conference. These institutions were represented by Professor Emile TANAWA, Regional Director of AUF for West Africa, Prof. Souleymane Niang of ANST, and Dr. Ousmane Kane, Executive Director of ARCT, respectively.
- The KMA Conference closing ceremony took place on Thursday 7 May 2009, presided by Professor Souleymane Niang, chairman of ANST, Dr. Ousmane Kane, Executive Director of ARCT and Dr Snowy Khoza, Chairperson of the KMA "Executive Group" at DBSA.
- It began with the presentation and adoption of the Dakar Declaration for KMA, then proceeded with the handover between the KMA III National Organising Committee (NOC) and the Representative of Tunisia, which will host KMA IV, before ending with a few speeches.
PRESENTING AND ADOPTING THE DAKAR DECLARATION
- The Dakar Declaration, which was read by Mr. Mbaye Diouf of ARCT, contains a brief summary of the highlights of the four-day Conference and underscores the need to support the model of endogenous development thus initiated and which seems convincing and effective.
- Appeals were also made:
- To AfDB and DBSA to support the activities of and raise KMA to an institution of excellence;
- To all regional partners to contribute to KMA.
- Economic transformation has also been identified as a strong link to reposition Africa, hence the need to:
- Develop knowledge to increase competitiveness;
- Improve the knowledge management system ;
- Establish a KMA sustainability and governance system.
- Furthermore, participants suggested that AfDB and DBSA assist in promoting support for ARCT and KMA.
- DBSA was mandated to study draft guidelines for the creation of a KMA foundation.
- It was requested that there be closer collaboration with the media to disseminate and spread information among people, communities, scientists, and policy makers.
- Thanks were extended to the Government of Senegal as well as all institutions and personalities who have contributed their technical and financial support to the success of the meeting.
- After being read, the Dakar Declaration was discussed, amended and finally adopted by acclamation
TRANSFER OF POWERS
- The Representative of Tunisia has generously offered his country to hosts the next conference (KMA IV). The offer met much enthusiasm from all participants. Furthermore, the closing ceremony was an occasion for a transfer of powers between Professor Ahmadou Lamine Ndiaye, Vice chair of ANST and Chairman of the KMA III Steering Committee, and Pr Ghabra Abdulaziz, Advisor to the Minister of Higher Education, Scientific Research and Technology (MHESRT) of Tunisia.
Pr Ahmadou Lamine NDIAYE transferring powers to Pr Abdelaziz Ghabri
Prof. Ndiaye expressing the satisfaction of the National Organising Committee for leading KMA III to an end and then handing office over to Prof. Ghabra in front of applauding Dr Snowy Khoza
Prof. Ghabra commending the National Organising Committee for the success of KMA III and noting that it will not easy to do as well as Senegal, but that his country will do its best to meet the challenge of successfully organising KMA IV. The ceremony ended in a cheerful mood, with a presentation of gifts to the officials of the DBSA delegation and various presenters.
- Speaking, the Executive Director of ARCT apologised for Mr. H'Midouche being held by a teleconference with the Tunis-based AfDB headquarters.
- Dr. Kane first commended the unfolding of the Conference, noting the significant efforts made to meet the challenge of organising KMA III in Senegal. Finally Dr. Kane thanked all those who contributed directly or indirectly to bringing KMA III to success.
- In his speech, Dr Snowy Khoza also welcomed the unfolding of the KMA III Conference and its significant results. After warmly congratulating the members of the National Organising Committee, she thanked the Government of Senegal and the various sponsors who have made the conference possible.
- Finally, on behalf of all the Members of the National Organising Committee, Prof. Souleymane Niang extended the apologies of the Minister of Scientific Research, and commended the holding of the meeting in Dakar, praising the partnership that has developed between ANTS, ARCT and DBSA, and expressing his deep gratitude to all the institutions who supported the conference. He then declared KMA III closed, thanking and wishing all the participants a smooth return to their respective countries and homes.
ISSUED IN DAKAR ON 7 MAY 2009
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