Africans Dial Up Innovation: A New Paradigm for Development in the Sub-Saharan

The people of the Sub-Saharan region are participating in an historic shift in the ways they relate to science and technology. From Accra to Nairobi, from Lusaka to Bamako — Africans have gone from concentrating almost wholly on absorbing new technologies created by distant innovators to energetically and optimistically creating some of their own technologies, developed to an unprecedented degree by home-grown African innovators. The shift from absorption to home-grown innovation is happening across a range of areas:from agriculture and health-care to media, communications and commerce. This historic shift profoundly alters the terms of development assistance to the sub-Saharan, and yet few donors, multinational corporations and multi-lateral agencies are prepared to address the new African reality. Along with sketching out the extent and character of the techno-scientific shifts in this much-misunderstood region, ASU professor Gregg P. Zachary will also describe a set of tools how to shift away from one-dimensional mechanistic forms of technology towards a more robust program of support for home-grown African techno-science that reflects the distinctive character of the emerging urban centers and educated middle classes in the region.