Displaying 81-100 of 270 key documents
Source: Current Anthropology | February 2007
This article presents four years of field research into the commercialisation of genetically modified Bt cotton in Andhra Pradesh, India.
The author, Glenn Stone, challenges the assumption that the rapid spread of Bt cotton is due to farmers carefully assessing the technology on a small scale before adopting it more widely.
Instead, Stone likens the process to a "craze", arguing that Bt cotton technology has disrupted farmers' learning process, as they rely less on experimentation and observation and more on advertising and copying their neighbours.
The article includes critical commentaries by leading scholars from Europe and the United States.
Source: African Journal of Biotechnology | December 2006
This paper provides a helpful overview of the history, current status and potential value of biotechnology from an African perspective. The authors — three Nigerian scientists — review modern biotechnological tools and techniques, outline their applications, and discuss their benefits and risks.
They focus on the relevance of microbial techniques for fermentation and food processing in developing countries. They also discuss how technologies such as genetic modification can be used to enhance food products' nutritional quality and shelf-life, boost crop yields, develop disease and pest-resistant crop varieties, and diagnose plant diseases.
The authors discuss the key socio-economic, policy and legal issues surrounding biotechnology for developing countries, including intellectual property rights and the need for proper infrastructure.
Source: GreenFacts | 2006
This document is a three-tier summary of the 'Ecosystems and human well-being: desertification synthesis' report published by the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MA) in 2005. It begins with nine questions and answers introducing the subject, defining desertification, its causes, effects and how it can be better understood.
Answers are then further developed, addressing sub-questions such as how vulnerable are affected populations? And what social, economic and policy factors contribute to desertification?
Finally, it uses extracts from the MA report itself to support the arguments made.
The document estimates that 10-20 per cent of drylands are degraded and identifies desertification as a major environmental challenge affecting some of the world's poorest populations. The MA report suggests prevention as the most effective way to cope with desertification but argues that reducing the pressure on dryland resources must be accompanied by efforts to reduce poverty, as the two are closely linked.
Source: The Berlin Group / Foundation for Biotechnology Awareness and Education | 2006
This paper outlines the arguments in favour of adopting transgenic insect-resistant maize, rice and cotton in developing countries.
Drawing on published studies, it reviews the characteristics of available insect-resistant crops and explains how they affect conventional cultivation practices. The authors argue that these crops can benefit smallholder farmers in terms of economics, human health and the environment.
To sustain these advantages, they say, genetically modified crop cultivation must include an effective resistance management strategy and incorporate integrated pest management techniques.
Source: Current Science | August 2006
This article discusses herbicide-resistant transgenic crops (HRCs) and their relevance to Indian agriculture. The Delhi-based authors present their assessment of the key issues arising from herbicide-resistant (HR) technology.
Although the Indian government has not identified HR technology as a priority under its draft biotechnology policy, the authors discuss the potential contributions to weed control, and impacts on agricultural labour, crop breeding and the seed and pesticide industries. They also consider the emergence of herbicide resistance.
They conclude that HRCs may be useful in Indian weed-control regimes, but that technical issues and socio-economic and environmental implications need to be evaluated individually.
The discussions are relevant to other developing countries assessing whether to encourage the development and adoption of HRCs in their own agricultural systems.
Source: International Development Research Centre | 1995
This book examines African science and technology policies, using a number of case studies from different sectors and countries. The key theme is that technology is central to development. The authors' stress that African countries must create an enabling macroeconomic environment, combined with effective technology policies, if the continent is to develop its own technological capabilities. The interaction between these two should facilitate technological learning, the building of appropriate institutions and effective technological management for industry and agriculture, both of which are important sources of income and employment in much of sub-Saharan Africa.
Source: UN University, Institute for New Technologies | 2005
This paper argues that conventional approaches to development and industrialisation are not appropriate for analysing poverty in sub-Saharan Africa because they disregard domestic technological progress and learning efforts.
Instead, the author suggests, a new approach based on innovation system creation, is needed for economic diversification and poverty reduction. This should focus on developing human capital, physical infrastructure and formal institutions to ensure that firms in sub-Saharan Africa can acquire, adapt and change technology.
Source: Burgundy School of Business and Management | 2002
This paper examines the accumulation of technological capabilities through interactive learning between foreign firms in South Africa and local businesses. It asks how collaborative learning can help develop technological capability and how it can be encouraged in South African industry.
The authors stress the role of trade policies in opening up the South African market, which has led to restructured industrial networks as firms improve or close down in the face of foreign competition. They conclude that the experience and capability of local multinational subsidiaries are key determinants of collaborative learning and that, although institutional support in South Africa is lacking, initiatives undertaken by individual firms can enhance learning among local businesses.
Source: UN University, Institute for New Technologies | 2001
This article looks at the factors affecting the technological development and export performance in a sample of garment enterprises in Mauritius.
It reviews the literature on technological capabilities in developing countries and examines market-oriented policies and firm performance, using an econometric analysis to identify the characteristics of successful enterprises.
The author concludes that it is large firms with strong technical manpower, high training expenditures and external technical assistance that have led export growth in the industry. Foreign ownership is also thought to have a positive effect on export performance.
Source: The Africa–Canada–UK Exploration: Building Science and Technology Capacity with African Partners | 2005
This paper examines the role of North-South partnerships in building scientific and technological capabilities in Africa. It reviews current definitions of North-South collaborations, provides new thinking on what such partnership's objectives should be, and presents case studies illustrating how partnerships in Africa have been developed on the ground.
The author stresses the importance of organisations beyond those involved in research and education and makes policy recommendations based on the evidence presented.
Source: African Technology Policy Studies Network | 2004
This article evaluates scientific and technological capabilities in sub-Saharan Africa. It also reviews past and present capacity building initiatives at national and regional scales, highlighting the enabling and limiting factors of both. The author asks what lessons can be learnt from previous efforts and discusses the implications for the region's policymakers.
The author draws a bleak picture of sub-Saharan scientific and technological capacity, concluding that the region has not developed the capabilities it needs to compete in the global economy.
Source: Open University Research Centre on Innovation, Knowledge and Development | 2005
This working paper examines science and technology capacity building in Africa through international partnerships.
It presents success cases, including the Biosciences East and Central Africa centre of excellence, the African Economics Research Consortium and the East Coast Fever Vaccine Project, among others. The authors discuss the implications of such initiatives for new interventions to develop capabilities in Africa. One conclusion is the need to "focus on innovation and the shaping of social and economic need, not on the 'push' of science and technology alone".
Source: Globelics | 2005
This paper maps African countries' knowledge base through patent applications and publications. It shows South Africa as academically, and technically, the strongest country of the continent. The number of publications is growing in other African countries, but patenting remains limited all-round.
The paper ends on a positive note, arguing that African countries already possess the basis for knowledge-driven development.
Source: World Bank | 2006
This paper looks at how private support institutions influence the growth of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in sub-Saharan Africa. It examines the factors stimulating the development of such institutions, as well as the approach's limitations and the policy implications.
The authors argue that sub-Saharan African SMEs deal with market failures and weak public institutions by developing private governance systems in the form of long-term business networks. The support provided by these networks raises the technological performance of network 'insiders'. But they also impact local firms outside the network, who have little access to productive resources and become excluded from business transactions.
The authors recommend policy reform to encourage cooperation between firms, mitigate the adverse effects of networks on local companies and develop formal institutions to help govern market exchange.
Source: African Development Bank | 2006
This article, by Harvard University's Calestous Juma, presents the case for a new approach to economic development in Africa focusing on the role of knowledge as a basis for growth.
Juma says that implementing such a vision means developing infrastructure, investing in technological capabilities, fostering business development and increasing Africa's participation in global trade.
Source: African Technology Policy Studies Network | 2004
This paper discusses the factors affecting African countries' limited participation in global trade. It points to indicators of global exclusion and describes the institutions, human capital and physical and technical infrastructure present in Africa.
The author argues that Africa's low technological base is due to a lack of dynamic institutions and skilled workers, combined with commodity-based trade systems rather than factory-based industry supported by research and development.
Source: UN Industrial Development Organization | 2001
This article is a background paper to the UN Industrial Development Organization's World Industrial Report 2002-2003. It describes manufacturing technological capabilities and industrial performance in sub-Saharan countries and discusses their limitations.
The article includes a review of the factors contributing to poor industrial and technological performance in sub-Saharan Africa, including limited access to foreign technology, inadequate investment in technical skills and technological effort, and limited development of the underlying institutional framework.
Source: African Technology Policy Studies Network | 2003
The Technopolicy Brief Series discusses issues relevant to research, development and innovation in Africa.
The documents cover capability development, technology policy and intellectual property rights, and consider the implications of globalisation for African science.
Source: Nature Biotechnology | December 2004
This special supplement of Nature Biotechnology presents findings from a three-year study of biotechnology success stories from the South. The methods used in Brazil, China, Cuba, Egypt, India, South Africa and South Korea are examined.
The studies show that Brazil, with its rich biodiversity and strong commitment to scientific development, has great potential to expand its health biotechnology sector. China is said to be reorganising its research and development activities to promote biotech venture creation and move products from the laboratory to market. A study of Cuba shows that, despite the country's economic struggles since the 1961 US trade embargo, it has created a highly developed health biotechnology sector. Egypt is thought to have become one of the Arab world's leaders in science, with strong agri-biotech capabilities and a growing health biotechnology sector. A look at India shows substantial investments in biomedical research, leading to a strong research infrastructure and, in turn, an active private sector willing to invest in biotechnology ventures. An examination of South Africa says its strong scientific base, developed to support the apartheid regime, is now developing biotechnology in the country. The South Korean study claims biotechnology will be the next star industrial sector, following the successes of consumer electronics in the 1960s and information technology in the 1980s.
Source: Developing World Bioethics | 2006
This paper by Aceme Nyika provides a comprehensive review of the ethical issues in research using indigenous medicines, focusing in particular on the use of traditional medicine to treat HIV/AIDS in Africa. The author suggests that the superstition attached to African traditional medicine, together with a laxity in the regulations governing its practice, means that ethical issues have not been adequately addressed.
Nyika argues that it is especially important to demystify diagnosis and therapy if African traditional medicine is to meet minimum ethical and regulatory standards. This can only be done through research on traditional medicine, following the same stages — from animal model to human trials — as conventional medicine. There is also a need for ethical approval, first person informed consent, monitoring for adverse reactions and dissemination of findings. In this paper, Nyika discusses why these have proved difficult to implement and suggests some of the ways in which they could be put into practice.