Towards the socialization of science, technology and innovation for African development

DOI: 10.1080/20421338.2017.1399534
Author(s): Trust SaidiDepartment of Human Biology, Division of Biomedical Engineering, South Africa, Tania S. DouglasDepartment of Human Biology, Division of Biomedical Engineering, South Africa


Developing countries, particularly those in Africa, have not been able to fully exploit the opportunities presented by recent Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) advances to address their developmental needs. The reasons for this include lack of supporting infrastructure, shortage of skilled personnel and inadequate budgetary provisions. These deficits pose formidable barriers to the exploitation of STI in Africa. While acknowledging the importance of these factors, we argue that they reflect only conditions that are exogenous to the development of STI. What is missing is an understanding of STI as a social system that is determined by societal factors such as culture, values and beliefs. It is against this background that this commentary focuses on the socialization of STI in Africa as a step towards its exploitation and ultimately towards strengthening the continent’s STI system. We argue that STI does not exist in a vacuum, but through human beings in action and in contexts, implicating diverse social groups, cultural values and local practices. To put our argument into perspective, we reflect on the Science, Technology and Innovation Strategy for Africa – 2024 as our point of departure.

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