- Developing and implementing an African-led model for science-policy engagement to establish STI R&D priorities that align with Africa's developmental goals. This approach ensures that investments are tailored to meet regional needs and are driven by African leadership.
- Building a cadre of science-policy influencers throughout Africa who can guarantee that locally driven research and development will have a favourable effect on our societies and economies.
- Elevating African voices in global discussions regarding the continent's developmental needs and emerging global threats. By doing so, we hope to increase the use of evidence generated by African institutions that is tailored to the specific African context.
- Understanding pathways for science to policy.
- Speaking to the margins to build upward for positive impact by incorporating endogenous African knowledge and community public engagement in evidence-based decision making. By focusing on the margins and building upwards, we can work towards a better future. This includes convening a cross-section of African stakeholders beyond technical experts and policymakers to drive a holistic understanding and integration of scientific knowledge into policymaking processes on the continent.
Through SPEAR, the SFA Foundation envisions the convergence of the scientific community and policymakers to ensure laws, best practices, policies, and guidelines benefit from the most up-to-date scientific evidence generated on the continent for Africa’s development.
Several factors limit the science-policy nexus, including the vast separation between technical experts generating Research & Innovation (R&I) evidence for informed policy and the policymakers who are responsible for decision making. Across Africa, this gap in science-policy engagement is further widened by the dearth and limited representation in critical policy dialogues on topical issues including climate change, artificial intelligence and other emerging areas. In some instances, policy dialogues are driven by limited data generated (on a given area) because funding partners drive the R&I priorities as opposed to those with lived experiences on the continent.
These factors hinder the implementation of evidence-based interventions and treatments, ultimately limiting the potential positive benefit of R&I to human lives and societies on the continent and elsewhere.
Therefore, an African-led model for science-policy engagement based on scientific prioritisation and community and public engagement will drive diversity, equity, and inclusion in policymaking processes on the continent and enhance uptake. The impact will be a grassroots movement building trust to improve the lives of our societies and economies, meeting our developmental goals, and influencing those of other low- and middle-income countries.