Going for Growth – Science, Technology and Innovation in Africa

I have read with interest the following text published in Development Gateway’s dgCommunities :

Going for Growth: Science, Technology and Innovation in Africa

Overview:

This collection of essays by key experts in the field of international development looks at the role of science, technology and innovation in encouraging a risk-taking, problem solving approach to development cooperation in Africa. This year has seen an unprecedented determination by the world’s richest nations to engage with the development of the poorest. The report of the Commission for Africa, chaired by Prime Minister Tony Blair, Our Common Interest, set out the themes that dominated the G8’s discussions at Gleneagles over the summer, while a mass movement, in the form of the ‘Make Poverty History’ campaign, affirmed that the political agenda was matched by a widespread public demand for action. Central to this transformative agenda will be the role of science, technology and innovation, both as a driver of economic growth within the developing countries and as a core element in nurturing managerial and governance competencies.
Calestous Juma, ed. The Smith Institute, London, November 2005.
Science, Technology, and Public Policy Program
Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs
ISBN: 1 902488 97 0
Document Length: 129 pp.

For more information about this publication please contact:
info@smith-institute.org.uk.

Contributor: John Daly – Published Date: February 7, 2007

Going for Growth in Action: Smith Institute Report’s Ideas Applied to Africa’s Mining Industry

Science, Technology, and Globalization Project Director Calestous Juma has sparked a serious debate about education, entrepreneurship, and Africa’s mining industry in Dr. Chris Hinde’s “Comment” column which appears in Mining Magazine. Juma is the editor of Going for Growth: Science, Technology and Innovation in Africa (.pdf), a collection of essays published by the Smith Institute, a British think tank. “Going for Growth” emphasizes building Africa’s capacity to solve its own problems.

Juma starts his essay with “Most African economies have historically been associated with natural resources and raw materials. There is growing recognition, however, that a transition into modern economies will involve considerable investment and use of new knowledge.” He has since called for the mining industry to fund and lend expertise to a school of entrepreneurship that would raise scientific literacy — and be located in the African country that makes the best case for hosting it. The school would have places for approximately 100 students per year and would serve as a model for similar centers of learning all over Africa. See “African Lessons” (.pdf) by Dr. Chris Hinde in Mining Magazine (February 2006) for the complete interview.

A later issue of Mining Magazine continued the discussion, focusing on the need for the proposed schools to teach how both the international risk-capital markets operate and mining ventures are financed. African mining operators and investors must be trained on how and where to obtain capital. See “Money Matters” (.pdf) by Dr. Chris Hinde in Mining Magazine (June 2006).

On June 22, 2006, Professor Calestous Juma resumed the discussion by addressing the Human Rights & Business Roundtable in Washington, D.C. The Roundtable is comprised of representatives of the extractive industry (oil & mining companies), human rights organizations, and development agencies. They meet regularly in invitation-only, confidential sessions to discuss issues of common cause and concern — specifically the promotion of the rule of law and open societies. Over the last few years the group has focused increasingly on community and economic development projects and issues surrounding community engagement.

This session, entitled “Bain or Blessing: Can the Extractive Industry Help Reinvent African Economies?”, focused on how resources can be utilized to “extract growth” for Africa, as well as other developing countries. Professor Juma discussed how the extractive industry, which is becoming dominant in many African economies, can be used as an engine of sustainable growth, breaking the widely held view that natural resource extraction is associated with corruption and environmental non sustainability. The Roundtable explored the direct links between community/development activities, including corporate partnerships with international donor agencies and the larger strategy of economic development. As companies invest to increase the local content of their work and managerial force, they are promoting (and could further promote) higher technologies in the fields of business, communications, engineering, and the environment.

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MY VIEWS ON “GOING FOR GROWTH IN ACTION”

What an interesting text about “the role of science, technology and innovation in encouraging a risk-taking, problem solving approach to development cooperation in Africa”!. This is what we were since long looking for: “a problem solving approach development cooperation in Africa”, and all other developing regions of course, in particular when entering a period of “an unprecedented determination by the world’s richest nations to engage with the development of the poorest” (Make Poverty History campaign).

It sounds like a dream-come-true when we read:

Central to this transformative agenda will be the role of science, technology and innovation, both as a driver of economic growth within the developing countries and as a core element in nurturing managerial and governance competencies”.

Let us go a bit deeper into the “serious debate” about education, entrepreneurship, and Africa’s mining industry, sparked by Director Calestous Juma (see above) when he starts his essay with …

Continue reading “Going for Growth – Science, Technology and Innovation in Africa”

Renforcement de capacités à SOS Kinderdorf d’Alger

En Décembre 2006, j’ai assisté à une réunion de renforcement de capacités, organisée par UNICEF ALGERIE à SOS Village d’Enfants (SOS Kinderdorf) à Draria, près d’Alger. Il s’agissait d’une réunion avec une délégation des écoles de Boumerdès (Algérie du Nord). L’objectif principal était d’informer les délégués de Boumerdès sur les potentialités de la méthode TerraCottem pour le conditionnement des sols, en vue d’un projet de construction de jardins scolaires à Boumerdès même. Les objectifs spécifiques étaient la démonstration des effets du TerraCottem (TC) dans le jardin de SOS Village d’Enfants à Draria et dans le jardin scolaire d’une école à Draria.

La délégation des écoles de Boumerdès et de l’UNICEF ALGERIE, celle-ci sous la conduite de Mr. Raymond JANSSENS, Représentant d’UNICEF, ont reçu un aperçu général de l’organisation SOS Village d’Enfants par Mr. Gérard RUOT, Directeur. Ensuite, j’ai eu le plaisir de pouvoir décrire la méthode TerraCottem, la composition de ce conditionneur de sol (un mélange de granulés et de poudres) et ses avantages pour la culture en terrains arides.

La visite au deux jardins à Draria a livré la preuve convaincante que le produit TerraCottem offre toute une série d’avantages pour cultiver toutes les espèces de plantes (légumes, arbres fruitiers, plantes ornementales, etc.) dans des sols secs, tout en n’utilisant qu’un quantité limitée d’eau et d’engrais (d’où son importance pour l’environnement et l’avenir de notre planète).

Voici quelques photos de cette séance de renforcement de capacités (cliquez deux fois sur les photos pour les voir au grand format) :

Continue reading “Renforcement de capacités à SOS Kinderdorf d’Alger”

Community garden (Horticulture) in Burkina Faso

Together with my team of the University of Ghent and in cooperation with the Dutch Committee Maastricht-Niou, I have set up different development projects in Burkina Faso since 1988. Reforestation and creation of community gardens for women have been the main topics (see other postings).

In 1997, we started the application of the soil conditioner TerraCottem (TC), as a project of the Belgian TC-DIALOGUE Foundation (see the website http://www.tcdialogue.be). In the community garden for women of the village of Niou (Kourweogo Province, Burkina Faso), some 2500 square meter of the vegetable garden were treated with that water saving soil conditioner. A smaller part of the garden remained untreated (control plot).

Capacity building
1997-07 Capacity building in the garden : members of the local women’s association Gueswende got information about TC-application and its role (Photo Monique Van Endert 1997)

Continue reading “Community garden (Horticulture) in Burkina Faso”

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