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Science and Technology as a Tool for Poverty Reduction and Socio-economic Development in ECOWAS...

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Science and Technology as a Tool for Poverty Reduction and Socio-economic Development in ECOWAS Countries OMOBOWALE M.O. Email: [email protected] Url: www.tech.ui.edu.ng/MOOmobowale DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL ENGINEERING, FACULTY OF TECHNOLOGY, UNIVERSITY OF IBADAN, NIGERIA Slide 2 KEY NOTES Prevalence of poverty has been always been a major issue in many Sub-Saharan African countries Successive governments have attempted to find ways out of poverty and underdevelopment Typical problems include poor infrastructural development, inadequate health services, political instability etc. Slide 3 Considering the abundance of human and natural resources in the sub-region; it is rather disappointing that ECOWAS countries are still in the group of under-developed nations Slide 4 Slide 5 Slide 6 Slide 7 WHICH WAY OUT? Slide 8 Industrialization through Technological Development; both Indigenous (home-grown) and Transferred (foreign) Slide 9 A very important avenue through which the ECOWAS sub-region can grow economically is Technological Development both indigenous and transferred In the 21 st century world, technology is highly linked with development. Countries with lower technological output are at the mercy of those with higher and more sophisticated technology. Slide 10 Foreign exchange in international trade favours countries that are industrialized enough to convert raw materials to finished products. Level of industrialization in ECOWAS countries is still low as many infrastructural needs are not met. Consequently, Africa remains a dumping ground for old, obsolete and sub-standard technology Slide 11 Technology Defined.. Technology is defined as the use of human understanding of natural laws and phenomena gathered since ancient times to fabricate or produce things that can perform specific functions to meet needs. Slide 12 Countries seeking to become developed must out of necessity encourage a technologically driven economy aimed at making products and providing services which are better, more affordable and at a faster rate than others Slide 13 SOME ASIAN MODELS Slide 14 INDIA Indigenous technology critical to her economic development India since independence has invested a lot in scientific and technological research Government accounts for over 80% of expenditure in research Actively puts policies in place to support home- grown technology India is currently the second largest growing economy in the world with a GDP in excess of $1 trillion Slide 15 CHINA Since the 1980s, China put in place a lot of policies which was targeted at improvement and integration of Science and Technology with the economy These policies directly impacted research in which in turn improved the economy China is currently one of the most industrialized nations of the world Slide 16 GDP of about $4.9 trillion in 2009 Currently, China is the worlds largest exporter of goods as it benefitted from both transferred and indigenous technology Your laptop is probably made in China! Slide 17 SOUTH KOREA Utilized technological development in attaining economic growth and stability Towards achieving economic growth as well as the eradication of poverty, the government formulated policies (since 1960s) to encourage technological transfer and assimilation and improvement of such transferred technologies. Now one of the most industrialized nations in the world with a GDP in excess of $900 billion It is also the worlds ninth largest exporter of goods Slide 18 Studies on the industrial and economic development of Japan and China with regards to policy formulation and implementation in the area of technology showed that government in the two countries intentionally promoted domestic or indigenous technological capability by putting in place, effective technology policies, balancing the import of foreign technology and indigenous development, and engaging business/private sector as a major force for improving technological capabilities.effective technology policies, balancing the import of foreign technology and indigenous development, and engaging business/private sector as a major force for improving technological capabilities. Slide 19 It is however sad to note that the level of technology, both indigenous and transferred is still significantly low in ECOWAS countries despite the fact that the human and natural resources necessary for growth is available. Slide 20 LESSONS LEARNT From the Asian models, Policy Formulation and Implementation can either make or mar a nations economic development. Whereas, some other countries like Japan, China, India and Korea have through consistent policy formulation and implementation developed their economies to the extent that they are now major exporters of goods and services, same cannot be said of many ECOWAS states; NIGERIA being a good example! Slide 21 THE NIGERIAN CASE-STUDY Most policies implemented in the past did not achieve the overall purpose for which they were formulated Example can be made of the Cassava Initiative of 2002, a recent policy in Nigeria which favoured industrial growth and improved the local economy of the country initially through foreign exchange earnings, job creation and indigenous technological development Slide 22 A key factor in the cassava initiative was the mandatory inclusion of 10% of cassava flour into all products from flour based industries. This created a huge local market for the producers. However, a change in government in 2007 made way for a drastic reduction in the percentage of flour included in flour based products to 5% Even though the initiative has not been officially phased out, the kind of drive it had at the time of the administration that started waned considerably when the new government took over. Slide 23 IN CONCLUSION. Drawing lessons from the experiences of other emerging world markets, it is highly recommended that the following suggestions should serve as a guide towards formulating and implementing policies/vision statements targeted at poverty reduction as well as economic revival and development in ECOWAS countries: Slide 24 Vigorous approach towards identification, documentation and improvement of indigenous technology Systematic approach towards encouraging transfer of both simple and advanced foreign technology Proper funding for highly innovative science and technology research should be entrenched economic policy formulation Consistency in implementing government policies Cross-linkage of ideas and innovations from all countries in the ECOWAS sub-region; Creation of an enabling environment for the purchase of locally produced goods. Slide 25 THANKSFORLISTENING Slide 26 QUESTIONS

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