Beta Launch Wednesday, 14 November 2018
Global Dow 3.79
2,835.68 0.13%
27 August 08:59 PM
S&P 500 4.08
2,443.05 0.17%
25 August 05:03 PM
EGX 23.25
12,949.65 0.18%
27 August 12:00 AM
TDWL -20.48
7,225.18 -0.28%
27 August 12:00 AM
DFM -21.94
3,602.55 -0.61%
27 August 12:00 AM
ADX -13.82
4,479.99 -0.31%
27 August 12:00 AM

UNCTAD urges int'l support for building technological capabilities, innovation in developing countries

The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) has called for a concerted international effort to build technological capabilities and to support all forms of innovation in developing countries. Least developed countries, in particular, should receive international support to build their domestic capabilities and create the enabling environment necessary for frontier technologies to deliver on their promise.

The speed of innovation offers huge opportunities for developing countries to skip stages that took other nations years, but it also presents an array of challenges that need to be handled with care, the annual meeting of UNCTAD's governing body heard.

“An unprecedented wave of technological progress is sweeping much of the world,” UNCTAD’s Deputy Secretary-General Isabelle Durant told the Trade and Development Board, gathering at the Palais des Nations in Geneva this week.

“Little of existing patterns of trade, work and social and political interaction will be left unchanged by its advance in the form of artificial intelligence, synthetic biology, renewable energy production and storage and others. Change is accelerating and its direction becoming more difficult to predict. This presents challenges for policy-making that are UNCTAD’s function to help address.”

Ms. Durant underscored the findings of UNCTAD’s Technology and Innovation Report 2018, which was released last month.

The study spotlighted the fact that frontier technologies –  such as big data analysis, 3D printing, artificial intelligence, internet-of-things devices, or drones and GPS systems – can boost the ambitious agenda of the Sustainable Development Goals and help find global solutions to 21st Century economic, social and environmental challenges.

Frontier technologies today are better, cheaper, faster, more scalable and easier to use than ever before. They are converging through the increasing use of digital platforms to produce new combinatory technologies, accelerating the pace of change across multiple sectors.

UNCTAD has called for a concerted international effort to build technological capabilities and to support all forms of innovation in developing countries. Least developed countries, in particular, should receive international support to build their domestic capabilities and create the enabling environment necessary for frontier technologies to deliver on their promise.

“The principle of leaving no-one behind should drive our commitment to the development and application of frontier technology,” said George Owusu Essegbey, who is the chief research scientist at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR-STEPRI), in the Ghanaian capital Accra.

At the same time, the spread of new technologies threatens to outpace the ability of societies and policymakers to adapt to the sweeping changes that they generate, creating a need for an international dialogue to develop policy responses to the serious ethical, environmental, economic and social questions that are raised along the way.

"We must be optimistic about the potential of digital technologies to create new opportunities, but also realistic about their potential, without the right policies, to aggravate inequalities," said Ms. Durant.

Shamika Sirimanne, head of UNCTAD’s division on technology and logistics, spotlighted the issue of “leapfrogging” – the term to describe the adoption of new technologies while skipping earlier stages, for example by moving straight to mobile telephone and internet use without first having a nationwide fixed-line network in place.

“Frontier technologies offer immense possibilities for developing countries. We cannot let yet another technological revolution bypass continents,” Ms. Sirimanne said.

But leapfrogging cannot just happen without the right conditions for information and communication technologies (ICT) to flourish, she underlined.

“ICT should be considered a critical infrastructure –a development priority. While there is a lot of talk about leapfrogging technologies, you need a base from which to jump – a sound national innovation system. Incubators, accelerators and technology parks are the buzz today. But the majority have failed. Success depends on sound policy, financing, and connection to the rest of the economy.”

Shashi Buluswar, chief executive of the Mumbai, India-based Institute for Transformative Technologies, said the role of the private sector was essential.

“The challenge is to find a model to make it attractive for private technology companies to invest in the research and commercialization of breakthrough technologies that can be applied to the work of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals,” he told the meeting.



RECOMMENDED

COMMENTS

There are no comments yet

LEAVE A COMMENT

Share with

My Account

Forgot password?

Create An Account

Forgot password?

Restore password

Subscribe to read
Already subscribed? Click here

For a limited time!
12 Months = 15 Months
24 Months = 32 Months
(Included Postal Fees worldwide)

Read, Explore Opportunities
Be connected with Business, Investment, Finance, Stock Exchange, Currencies, Development and International Cooperation

3 Months

18 USD / 60 AED

English Edition

Subscribe

3 Months

18 USD / 60 AED

Arabic Edition

Subscribe

3 Months

29.9 USD / 99 AED

Both Editions

Subscribe

6 Months

36 USD / 120 AED

English Edition

Subscribe

6 Months

36 USD / 120 AED

Arabic Edition

Subscribe

6 Months

59.9 USD / 199 AED

Both Editions

Subscribe

12 Months

72 USD / 240 AED

English Edition
Good Deal! 
(15 Months instead of 12 Months)

Subscribe

12 Months

72 USD / 240 AED

Arabic Edition
Good Deal! 
(15 Months instead of 12 Months)

Subscribe

12 Months

122 USD / 408 AED

Both Editions
Good Deal! 
(15 Months instead of 12 Months)

Subscribe

24 Months

144 USD / 480 AED

English Edition
Amazing Deal!
(32 Months instead of 24 Months)

Subscribe

24 Months

144 USD / 480 AED

Arabic Edition
Amazing deal!
(32 Months instead of 24 Months)

Subscribe

24 Months

240 USD / 799 AED

Both Editions
Amazing deal!
(32 Months instead of 24 Months)

Subscribe
* Terms and conditions apply.