Sustainable Development in Third World Countries: Applied and Theoretical Perspectives

By Valentine Udoh James | Go to book overview

Challenge of Science and Technology

Science and technology need to be integrated into national development plans, with sectoral priorities carefully selected, and backed with adequate policies and resources. Sub-Saharan African countries need to increase substantially their level of spending on R&D. For the region as a whole, current allocations for R&D should be doubled to bring it close to the 1 percent of GNP recommended by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization. Effective technology transfer cannot occur in the absence of indigenous technological capabilities and inadequacy of sociotechnical infrastructure. Priority should be given to establishing jointly funded research-with-training institutions in different parts of the region (e.g., West Africa, East Africa) with a view to pulling and managing shared resources. An environment that prizes creativity and innovation should be strongly nurtured.


Challenge of the Global Environment

If there is one major difference between the previous decades and the 1990s, it is the emerging global environment characterized by information technology. Globalization of national economies, markets, finance, trade, and technology is likely to acquire further momentum in the years ahead. Access to the global marketplace is going to be very crucial for any country to survive in the 1990s and beyond, and access to technology is critical to having access to this marketplace. Sub- Saharan Africa cannot count on significant assistance from the West. Maximum self-reliance must, therefore, be the watchword of its renewed effort.


CONCLUSION

This chapter has delineated the crises plaguing sub-Saharan Africa and documented their salient characteristics. The nature of the challenges facing the region has also been outlined. A major issue in this chapter is that many of the problems facing Africa today are self-inflicted: food insecurity and famine are essentially social problems. The region needs to set its house in order. There is also a need to develop the capacity to deal with external problems. The hard fact, however, is that the latter is impossible without the former. More than ever before, subSaharan Africa needs transformation. A fundamental change in policy direction is a desideratum. Unless current development policies are changed, the region will continue to experience economic nightmare and socio-political disorder. New development policies and strategies should not be replicas of the past. Africa's development future has to be willed.

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