Turkey advises poor countries to spend more on R&D
8 February 2011
ISTANBUL -- Turkey has called for least-developed countries, or LDC, to invest more in research and development, or R&D, at a preparatory event for the fourth United Nations Conference on Least Developed Countries being held in Istanbul.
“There is a direct link between domestic expenditures in R&D and the growth rate of gross domestic product,” said Nüket Yetiş, president of Turkey’s Scientific and Technological Research Council, or TÜBİTAK, speaking at the conference Monday.
Still the county’s expenditure per capita is way below the OECD average, according to recent figures.
Yetiş called on all representatives of least-developed countries to invest more in R&D in order to reach higher rates of GDP growth.
Despite the annual GDP growth rate of around 7 percent in LDC by 2008, according to the United Nation’s office for LDC, or UN-OHRLLS, still more than half of the population lives on less than $1.25 per day.
As poverty remains the major challenge in LDC countries, Mehmet Aydın, the Turkish state minister responsible for science and technology, said Turkey could support these countries with its own experience in recent years.
According to World Bank figures, Turkey’s R&D expenditure was at around 0.72 percent of gross domestic product in 2008. Even though Turkey’s gross domestic expenditures rose almost 3.7 times from 2002 to 2008 and reached nearly $6.83 billion, the country is way below the OECD average of $753 per capita R&D spending with its $97.
Talking to the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review, Hodhoaer Inzouddine, Comoros minister of posts and telecommunication, said, “Developed countries should help the least-developed countries as the populations strive for food and shelter.”
Responding to a question on R&D expenses for least-developed countries, he said, “Leaving expenses aside, LDCs even struggle to pay back foreign debts.”
The nearly 815 million people living in LDCs deserve an honorable life, Inzouddine said.
Dessie Dalkie Dukamo, Ethiopian minister of science and technology, said technology transfer did not take place in LDCs. “We still experience serious difficulties related to infrastructure, food, clean water and energy,” he said.
Underlying the lack of infrastructure in LDC countries, Lakshimi Puri, director of UN-OHRLLS, said: “Countries listed as LDCs should implement policies that require investors to set aside some kind of investment in R&D.”
Total foreign direct investment in LCDs increased from $4.1 billion in 2000 to $33.1 billion in 2008, according to UN-OHRLLS figures, but this figure “does not serve much in the interest of the people living under hard conditions,” Inzouddine said at the meeting.
Source: Hürriyet Daily News
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