GDEST 2008 Conference Sessions
Theme 2 - Analysis of Regional Challenges
Sustainable Intellectual Communities: Best Practice in Engaging African Countries in High Technology Partnerships
Harold Annegarn, University of Johannesburg, South Africa
The notion of sustainability in a globalised world is common currency in intellectual, political and social discourse of the current world, with great emphasis placed on the causes and possible mitigations of global change. There is a broad realisation that extreme gradients between wealth and poverty, between advanced technological rural sustenance economies are inherently unstable. Improved access to advanced technologies is often regarded in the developed world as a key factor in liberating the developing world from the perceived traps of underdevelopment and poverty. Many well-intentioned technical (S&T) aid projects across diverse fields have been initiated in the developing world over the past five decades. Many, if not most of these have succeeded only as long as the initial funding and North involvement persisted, or failed outright. Most often, the lack of success is inherent in the absence of appropriate social engagement, including sympathetic consideration of the actual, as opposed to perceived needs of the target communities. In this paper, we address some of the best practice modes of technological partnership and innovation that are gleaned from recent successful high technology partnerships in the fields of remote sensing and atmospheric sciences, involving several African countries on the one hand, and partners in the United States and Europe on the other. I demonstrate how projects with respectful engagement, extending over periods of at least seven years, have contributed to development of sustainable intellectual communities, successful knowledge sharing and ultimately global security.