The field visit represents a major step in their 6-months mission to assist the country in setting up and operationalising a national Innovation Fund to fully exploit the potential of research and innovation (R&I) as an engine for sustainable development.
During the visit, which took place from 11 to 15 October 2021, in-depth interviews with a wide range of R&I actors (governmental institutions, private sector, incubators and start-uppers, academia and research centers, international development partners, CSOs), a private meeting with Hon. Badara A. Joof, Minister Of Higher Education, Research, Science And Technology (MoHERST), as well as a stakeholder engagement workshop were undertaken. This allowed PSF experts to capture significant insights and perspectives from key actors of the national R&I ecosystem.
Accompanied by the Policy Support Facility (PSF) Technical Assistance Unit, the international group of high-level experts has worked in close collaboration with the national team, led by Mr. Mucktarr M.Y Darboe, STI Director at the Ministry of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology (MoHERST)- the requesting authority for this PSF service.
The experts encountered more than 70 experts and representatives from over 20 institutions and organizations, adopting an inclusive and holistic approach for better ownership and impact of the PSF service.
A stakeholder’s engagement workshop, held Friday 15 October in Banjul, gathered around 60 persons, to discuss the main expectations about the Innovation Fund.
As mentioned by Mr. Mod A.K Secka, the Permanent Secretary of The Gambia’s Ministry of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology during this workshop “there is urgent need to strengthen demand for innovation through development and implementation of policy instruments that directly promote innovation activities including projects for technical feasibility studies with the aim of acquiring new or improved products, processes and services designed to raise the economic efficiency, improve innovative potential and technological levels of industries, improve private sector investments, and enhance the dynamics of innovative processes.”
From left to right, Mr. Alessandro Bello (PSF TAU), Dr. Almamy Konte (member of the expert panel), Mr. Ephraim Daka (rapporteur of the expert panel) and Mr. Mucktarr M.Y Darboe (STI Director, MoHERST)
Following this field phase and further fine-tuning discussions with the national team, the PSF experts will start drafting a Policy Recommendation Report (PRR), providing evidence-based recommendations towards the development of this national Innovation Fund (with step-by-step guidance on how to establish and manage it effectively, including budgetary and legislative requirements).
The Gambia is the third country to benefit from the Policy Support Facility, an innovative mechanism launched in January 2021 by the OACPS Research and Innovation Programme.
For more information, please download:
– Factsheet of the PSF service in Gambia
– Presentation of the Expert panel