Testimonial about the programme Innovation, Transformation and Resilience for Sustainable Development
This capacity development programme is part of a larger project, which aims to strengthen the development and use of science, technology, and innovation (STI) indicators in Africa. The third iteration of the programme will run from April 2024.
Laurinda Macamo from Mozambique
Laurinda Macamo is an alumna of Lund University’s capacity development programme Innovation, Transformation and Resilience for Sustainable Development, carried out in partnership with the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) and the African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD). We took the opportunity to ask her about the experience.
Why did you decide to apply? And what were your expectations?
“Firstly, I have a personal interest in themes related to transformation, social resilience and sustainable development. This is influenced by my family story. All my grandparents come from different regions of the country and had to migrate from rural areas to the capital city, to escape poverty, water scarcity and floods. This always drove my interest to understand which kind of policies, projects and programmes were able to improve the ability of communities or the society as a whole, to be innovative and respond to disturbances resulting from economic shocks as well as social, political, and environmental changes.
Secondly, I applied because it seemed to offer an opportunity to improve my academic and professional skills. As a public official working for the Ministry of Science, Technology and Higher Education, my expectations were to acquire key skills to push forward projects/investments, policy analysis, and programme elaboration. All to support innovation, improve social resilience and ensure sustainable development in different arenas – local, regional, national and continental.
Finally, I applied because Lund University is a distinguished Higher Education Institution in the world. I was fascinated by the fact that this University was able to maintain its relevance in teaching and research over the centuries while continuing to expand, innovate and look into the future, by establishing science parks, next-generation laboratories and facilities.
My expectations were high, not only because I wanted to learn from researchers and experts at the Department of Economic History and get their theoretical perspectives. I also wanted to listen to their experiences, practical knowledge and strategies applied in Sweden, to be able to help countries like Mozambique to establish a strong innovation system and apply mechanisms that contribute to catalyzing economic and social transformation.”
What did you get out of participating in the programme?
“Attending this programme exceeded my expectations. For one thing, I have learned about different policies and strategies applied by Sweden in order to leverage the role of innovation and how it impacted positively on social and economic transformation.
What is more, I have learned how to identify factors that Mozambique can explore to set in motion catching up processes. As a result, during the course, I presented a Project Proposal to be implemented in Mozambique at the Maluana Science Park.
Therefore, considering Lund University’s expertise and vast experience in research, promotion of entrepreneurship and acceleration of startups, the Ministry of Science, Technology and Higher Education proposed to Lund University to sign a Collaboration Agreement.
Finally, with this course, I was able to exchange ideas, learn and build a network with other African public officials. A platform that will be used to create working collaborations within the continent. For instance, a former participant and I are taking action at the moment to organise a workshop in Mozambique to present the experience of South Africa on STI indicators and data collection.”
Tell me about the relevance of the programme for your work at the Ministry of Science, Technology and Higher Education in Mozambique.
“The Ministry is revising the Mozambican Policy and Strategy of Science, Technology and Innovation. With this course completed, I expect to contribute to the implementation of these frameworks, as well as perform adequately in my duties as a member of the Ministry working team. We are responsible for conceiving, implementing and monitoring a programme which aims to encourage higher education institutions to develop innovative research programmes for community development.”
What do you consider to be the greatest strengths of the programme?
“Besides giving lectures with theoretical knowledge, the teachers were able to engage and exchange ideas with us participants, providing real-world examples. This was valuable since part of the professionals are currently responsible for advising senior leaders on policies, strategies and public investments for innovation and sustainable development.”
It ultimately aims to contribute to the continental vision Agenda 2063, ‘The Africa We Want’. Tell me about your reflections on this. And what is your personal relation to the vision?
“One of the first aspirations on the Agenda 2063, “The Africa we want”, is a prosperous Africa based on inclusive growth and sustainable development. Personally, I believe that to enable social and economic transformation in Africa, it is crucial to build capacity within the continent, through education, training a high-skilled workforce and improving investments in infrastructures for science, technology and innovation. This programme contributes to the continental vision since its aim is to train public officials from different African countries responsible for proposing policies and public investments to support both innovation and sustainable development.”
Is there anything in particular you would like to say to professionals in Africa who might be thinking of applying to the next round of the programme?
“I would like to invite professionals around Africa to apply to this programme and embark on a journey of knowledge exchange. This programme is an opportunity to engage with experts and participants with long experience. The knowledge acquired during this programme will contribute to improving your professional skills and performance.”
At last, what was it like visiting Sweden and the city of Lund?
“It was a great experience visiting Lund. Besides attending the course, I had the opportunity to walk through the city, appreciate the city's architecture and learn about the history of this region. For instance, I explored Kulturen (an open-air museum with historic buildings), the Botanical Garden, Lund Cathedral and the old town.”
transformation [at] education [dot] lu [dot] se (transformation[at]education[dot]lu[dot]se)