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Research in Africa on downward spiral

Wachira Kigotho recently wrote an article in The Standard Online Edition on the “Death of Research in Africa”. In this article he indicates that the scientific gap between Sub-Saharan African countries and the rest of the world is widening to unacceptable levels as a result of weak or total absence of research policies. He reiterrates that when these countries are measured in terms of published scientific papers and patent applications, most countries are experiencing a staggering collapse of scientific output and innovation. National scientific communities that flourished between 1970s and 1980s in Sub-Saharan Africa have floundered or become too small to function effectively. He lists the following possible reasons for the decline:

  • erosion of academic oversight and direction
  • paralysis because of budgetary shortfalls
  • absence of career prospects
  • high staff turnover
  • large number of researchers emigrated or changed professions
  • virtually no recruitment of scientists in the region throughout the 1990s
  • wages paid to scientists in most African countries are no longer adequate to live on
  • funding for science and research partnerships with universities and research institutes in other countries have declined
  • vibrant scientific journals, many of them supported by university departments have disappeared and those that appear are so poorly edited that they have lost their reputed contributors or have been discarded by scientific databases, thus marginalising the scientific output of these countries

Exceptions are countries in Sub-Saharan Africa whose scientists are relatively active in agriculture and medicine.

To read the whole article Click Here!

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