Tuesday, 8 January 2008
The "browning" of Africa--a new trend in tech transfer?
Writing in Intellibriefs, G Pascal Zachary discusses what he calls the 'Browning’ of African technology. This is his term for the sudden influx of Chinese and Indian technologies into Africa, which has long been the domain of “white” Americans and Europeans who want to apply their saving hand to African problems. The “browning” of technology in Africa is only in its infancy, he explains, but the shift is likely to accelerate. Chinese and Indian engineers hail from places that have much more in common with Africa than Silicon Valley or Cambridge. Africa also offers a testing ground for Asian-designed technologies that are not yet ready for US or European markets. While technology transfer from China and India could be a smokescreen for a new “brown imperialism” aimed at exploiting African oil, food, and minerals, Africans genuinely need foreign technology and the Chinese, in particular, are pushing hard to fill the gap.