Promoting Public-Private Knowledge Management in Africa

African science researchers and policy advisers have agreed to set up a foundation, endorsed by a range of African-based banks, to promote the use of scientific and other forms of knowledge by both public and private decision-makers in the continent. The body, to be known as the Knowledge Management Africa (KMA) Foundation, will be under the auspices of the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) based in Johannesburg, South Africa. It will be a focal point for various initiatives across Africa, each designed to investigate an aspect of using scientific and technical knowledge to promote social and economic progress. A statement, known as the Dakar Declaration, emphasised the need to move from "development rhetoric" to concrete, action-oriented programmes. These include the development of infrastructure and the more efficient use of resources needed to promote sustainable growth in fields such as health and agriculture. South Africa, for example, will host studies on the use of indigenous knowledge and how it can be enhanced through the use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) and intellectual property laws. But the foundation could also demonstrate to external donors that African banks are prepared to support knowledge-based investment projects. And this in turn will help persuade donors to back such projects with their own funds. The foundation will also investigate how to build centres of excellence across the continent as "repositories of knowledge" — and the creation of networks of researchers intended to promote knowledge-sharing and cross-border collaboration.