The Africa Engagement Portfolio activities aim to address five strategic objectives:
- Strengthening engagement within Africa
- Increasing the number of SADC members
- Strengthening R&I networking in the SADC region
- Strengthening skills for Technology Transfer in SADC
- Strengthening institutional and R&I leadership for R&I management in SADC
Capacity development and training is a key priority for the portfolio and over the last 3 years the portfolio has offered or supported skills training workshops in R&I Management in Mozambique, Botswana, Namibia, Mauritius, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Angola and Malawi.
SARIMA has over the years had a capacity building programme open to research and innovation managers from the SADC region financed from funding within the SARIMA budget. Effective from 2014, in partnership with the Africa Multilateral Cooperation Unit of the Department of Science and Technology, South Africa and the SADC Secretariat the portfolio will be implementing a strategic collaboration programme for the development of R&I management capacity in SADC over the next 3 years. The programme was endorsed by the SADC Ministers responsible for STI at their meeting in Maputo, Mozambique in June 2014. The programme titled Strengthening Research and Innovation Management in the Southern African Development Community or SADC SRIM in short will kick-off in February 2015 at a consultative workshop with SADC Member States. The programme is expected to have the following outcomes:
- Regional and local knowledge networks for R&I managers.
- Platforms and opportunities to share information, good practice and to engage with policy makers and other stakeholders on issues of R&I management and related issues.
- Improvement in the quality of R&I activities through improved R&I management and support.
- Improvement of intra-SADC institutional collaborations and R&I collaboration with other parts of the world.
- Improved competitiveness in terms of access to research resources and improved management thereof.
- Improved utilization and dissemination of research results, translation of research outputs into revised institutional research policies and practices, and improved protection and exploitation of research results/IP for social and economic benefit.
- Development of R&I management as a profession that is SADC-focused and SADC-led.
Some work has already been done in the context of this programme including the offering of travel grants to SADC delegates to attend the SARIMA Annual Conference that was held in Botswana in July 2014.
Through this programme SARIMA will have the opportunity to engage with SADC countries that had limited involvement or no involvement in SARIMA activities in the past.