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Science and technology

ODA commitments for Technological R&D to the countries in special situations have been quite volatile since 2000. ODA to this sector in Africa increased from $8.6 million in 2000 to over $61 million before the financial crisis, but has since declined dramatically. In LDCs, ODA to Technological R&D likewise fluctuated widely, peaking at $27.3 million in 2007 and nearly disappearing by 2014. LLDCs experienced two peaks in ODA to the technology research sector, with $32.7 in 2007 and $44.1 in 2013, dropping to 0.3 million in 2014. By contrast, aid to science and technology in SIDS has been marginal throughout the period 2000-2014, never exceeding $1.9 million. 

The Technology Bank

While ODA commitments for Technological R&D to the countries in special situations have been quite volatile since 2000, in 2017 the Technology Bank for LDCs was operationalized and thus SDG target 17.8 was achieved (see also section on Science, technology, innovation and capacity building). 

An increase of available financing from various sources, including ODA and FDI as well as through South-South cooperation, to productive sectors (including infrastructure) in the countries in special situations would significantly contribute to structurally transforming their economies and improving their growth patterns, thus potentially creating employment and reducing poverty. The recent positive trend in country programmable aid to LDCs, LLDCs and African countries needs to be accelerated and the negative trend to SIDS needs to be reversed.

On 23 December 2016, the United Nations General Assembly officially established a Technology Bank for Least Developed Countries as a new UN institution. The Technology Bank, a long-standing LDCs priority provided for in the Istanbul Programme of Action and in SDG 17, is intended to help least developed countries strengthen their science, technology and innovation capacities, foster the development of national and regional innovation ecosystems that can attract outside technology, generate homegrown research and innovation and take them to market. It also aims to assist the world’s poorest countries in building their national and regional capacities in the areas of intellectual property rights and technology related policies, as well as facilitating the transfer of technologies on voluntary and mutually agreed terms and conditions, and in the process, accelerate the least developed countries integration into the knowledge-based economy.

Number of patent applications (residents and non-residents)

 

Residents

Non-residents

Total Applications

LDCs

3,701

8,497

12,198

LLDCs

58,330

17,168

75,498

SIDS

16,094

179,636

195,730

Africa

34,906

177,546

212,452

MICS

5,973,605

361,8327

9,591,932

Source: World development indicators database