Policy, and Development in Africa: Challenges and Prospects.

AuthorSkidmore-Hess, Cathy

Sooryamoorthy, R. Science, Policy, and Development in Africa: Challenges and Prospects. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2020.

Opening with the statement, "A great deal is written and known about Africa but not much about science from Africa, or what Africa can give to science" (1), Science, Policy, and Development in Africa posits that Africa-based science would benefit the global production of scientific knowledge as well as individual nations. Sooryamoorthy, a sociologist at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, has written extensively on technology and science in South Africa as well as the role of science in development in both colonial and postcolonial Africa, and he argues for the need to integrate locally produced science into Africa's development plans. For Sooryamoorthy, it is critical to create knowledge and technological capacity, because production of scientific knowledge is necessary to obtain international funding and is a key component of economic growth. As the gap between rich and poor countries widens in terms of knowledge production, the gap in economic development and wealth also increases. However, national development policies of African countries still contain very little focus on science and technology. To remedy this, Sooryamoorthy suggests that science and development policies be more closely aligned with the objectives expressed in national development plans. He also argues for more African-centered scientific programs.

Science, Policy, and Development in Africa makes a strong argument for the development and use of Africa's human capital. Higher population produces greater demand for technology and a larger amount of human capital from which to draw new methods and invention. Lack of appreciation for scientific research also means that an insufficient number of people know how to carry out scientific research (234). Part of the development of human capital involves the creation of more African scientists and more development plans based in science. This requires institutional capacity. According to Sooryamoorthy, the African continent has a poor record of building institutions for development and advancement. To balance technology transfer, and with science developed locally, education is key. African governments need to rely less on foreign capital and make more use of indigenous knowledge, not just in agriculture and medicine but in development more broadly. This means incorporating local knowledge into the...

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