"Advances in Science, Technology, and Engineering"
Book Chapter, The New Harvest: Agricultural Innovation in Africa, pages 23-49
Author: Calestous Juma, Professor of the Practice of International Development; Director, Science, Technology, and Globalization Project; Principal Investigator, Agricultural Innovation in Africa
Other Chapters in The New Harvest: Agricultural Innovation in Africa:
- The Growing Economy
- Agricultural Innovation Systems
- Enabling Infrastructure
- Human Capacity
- Governing Innovation
- Conclusions and the Way Ahead
The Green Revolution played a critical role in helping to overcome chronic food shortages in Latin America and Asia. The Green Revolution was largely a result of the creation of new institutional arrangements aimed at using existing technology to improve agricultural productivity. African countries are faced with enormous technological challenges. But they also have access to a much larger pool of scientific and technical knowledge than was available when the Green Revolution was launched in the 1950s. The aim of this chapter is to review major advances in science, technology, and engineering and identify their potential for use in African agriculture. This exploration will also include an examination of local innovations as well as indigenous knowledge. It will cover fields such as information and communications technology, genetics, ecology, and geographical sciences. It will emphasize the convergence of these and other fields and their implications for African agriculture.
Innovation and Latecomer Advantages
African countries can utilize the large aggregation of knowledge and know-how that has been amassed globally in their efforts to improve their access to and use of the most cuttingedge technology. While Africa is currently lagging in the utilization and accumulation of technology, its countries have the ability not only to catch up to industrial leaders but also to attain their own level of research growth.
Advocates of scientific and technical research in developing countries have found champions in the innovation platforms of nanotechnology, biotechnology, information and communication technology (ICT), and geographic information systems (GIS). Through these four platform technologies, Africa has the opportunity to promote its agenda concurrent with advances made in the industrialized world....
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