The National Development Plan (PDN-2018-2022) highlights the promotion and insertion of scientific and technological culture as pillars of the country’s social and economic development. However, the Angolan economy has contracted for four consecutive years and economic forecasts, according to the Ministry of Finance, will remain negative, indicating a recession of -1.2% in 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic certainly exacerbated the country’s weak macro-fiscal situation in the context of unemployment and difficulties in Private Sector’s development. The unemployment rate increased to 32.0% in the first quarter of 2020, while one in two young people aged 15-24 is unemployed. On the other hand, Angola is in position 177 in the World Bank ranking of 190 economies with ease of doing business in 2020. Promoting the development of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) and innovation remains one of the main priorities from the government. Innovation and technology transfer could favour entrepreneurship. This fact is substantiated in the National Science, Technology and Innovation Policy (MESCTI).
Given this employability reality of traditional businesses, together with the Government’s financial programs for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), it is essential to create the conditions for stimulating entrepreneurship and innovation, as a way to not only respond livelihood needs for young people, as well as to transform problems and needs into opportunities that create prosperous businesses and good jobs.
The verifying rise and growth of outstanding innovative businesses in the country, is often supported or driven by an ecosystem under construction, a network of private actors and public institutions that have activated and dynamized the sector through a set of actions and initiatives including incubation and acceleration programs, workshops and contests. However, for an ecosystem to survive and develop, special conditions and a favourable institutional environment are necessary. One of the PDN’s priority actions is to support the creation of incubators for technological and innovation companies, as well as to encourage the creation of Technological Poles of Excellence with a critical mass of researchers, universities, scientific research centres and business entities.
Given the increasing complexity of the technology and innovation sector, the Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESCTI) intends, with other partners, to develop a legal framework and policies that facilitate the monitoring of innovation in all its phases, allowing open the way to expand the ecosystem, establishing support and momentum mechanisms, and eliminating the main obstacles, thus creating favourable conditions for its development. UNDP, within its Country Cooperation Framework (CDP 2020-2022) proposes, through the Acceleration Lab, to explore and strengthen national innovation systems to maximize the desirable impact of policies and the achievement of the Development Sustainable Goals in Angola.
In order to promote scientific research, innovation and entrepreneurship in the Angolan institutions of higher education, MESCTI and UNDP signed a Memorandum of Understanding that aims to assess the current state of the innovation ecosystem in the country. The international competition is launched to recruit an international expert with proven experience in conducting rapid diagnostics and developing studies in areas of innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem, and scientific publications on innovation.
The consultant will work in collaboration with the national consultant and will report directly to the National Director of Technology and Innovation at MESCTI and the UNDP technical team to assess the quality of the products described in this term of reference.