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Professor Mozammel Huq of the the Uttar Bangla University College in Bangladesh has said the major challenge facing technology development and growth in sub-Saharan Africa was the lack of commitment by governments towards technological capability building.

He said technological capability building was not an automatic process and that governments needed to be committed to ensure that the required learning took place.

Prof Huq, who has written a book on the economy of Ghana and is also a professor at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, said this at a public lecture organized by the University of Cape Coast on Wednesday.

The lecture chaired by the Pro-Vice Chancellor of UCC Prof John Nelson and attended by professors, deans, heads of departments and faculties was on the topic “Building Technological Capability: Lessons of Technology Transfer for Sub-Saharan Africa and challenges for the Future.”

He said the issue of a successful transfer of technology was of particular relevance, especially at a time when many developing countries were struggling to compete in domestic and international markets.

Prof Huq said one important lesson that could be drawn was that technology development faced various markets failures and that if it was left to market forces there would be under-production, hence the need for state intervention.

He said the commitment from the national government to ensure efficient absorption and adaptation of imported technology appeared to be a vital factor and that it would be reflected in various ways including the growth of investment fund, the development of domestic capital goods sector and the promotion of technology learning.

He said there was also a need for carrying out a systematic technology evaluation with particular emphases on technological capability building, stressing that a commitment in this regard would necessitate careful evaluation and the use of locally produced equipment.

Prof Huq said gaining technology capability needed a systematic conscious effort over a long period of time and that it also needed a catching-up process as well as a lot effort and institution building.

“Technological capability building is a learning exercise and a serious commitment is required to acquire it” he added.

Touching on challenges for the future, he said technological capability building was not an automatic process and that the situation was a challenge to developing countries in general and the sub-Saharan Africa in particular.

Prof. Huq said the low manufacturing base combined with low research and development and the poor and fragmented science and technology infrastructure found in almost all over sub-Saharan Africa gave rise to serious concerns.

He said another major challenge was the inability of developing countries to produce manufactured goods locally and compete in domestic and international markets, adding that industrialization has a powerful in-built strength because of its stronger impact in the creation and diffusion of technological dynamism.

He said it was therefore important for developing countries and more especially Sub Saharan Africa to consider seriously the importance of manufacturing growth.

Prof Huq said it was important for state commitment to build capability in a number of key areas such as production, investment and innovation, but regretted that in this age of globalization many developing countries were not ready to show commitment to face the challenges.

Prof Huq who is a graduate of universities of Rajashahi and Glasgow, career includes extensive teaching and wide-ranging research on Third World development in which his detailed first-hand knowledge of the experience of a large number of countries of Asia and Africa has proved invaluable.

He has written a number articles and books including “The Economy of Ghana: The first 25 years since independence”.
Source: GNA

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