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Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Techn-Fix for Africa ?

African countries require not an Asian-type green revolution but at a transformation catalyzed by ideas, attitudes and institutions. This must include, but not be limited to, a high and sustained public and private investment in science and technology led innovation.

Africa is no Asia or Latin America of the 1970s and 1980s. And the solution is not as simple as making available high yielding varieties of rice, wheat or corn. A multitude of factors, acting singly or in combination make the alleviation of acute and chronic food shortages in Africa profoundly more complex than in Asia and Latin America.

At the heart of this complex interplay of factors include a wide diversity of farming and food systems, a testament to the dizzying variety of socio-cultural, ecological and climatic conditions. Other critical factors range from range from weak and accountable civic and political institutions, a lack of sound scientific and technological infrastructure, inadequate road and railway network, weak input and supply chains.

There are no easy technical fixes. Action is required at several levels. And Africa must find its own solutions.

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