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Welcome to the Abstracts section!

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Gabrielle Hecht

Africa and the Nuclear World:

Labor, Health, and the Transnational Politics of Knowledge Production

The labor of African uranium miners has fueled atomic weapons and nuclear reactors around the world for over six decades, but remains invisible both in histories of the nuclear age and in African studies. This talk explores the nuclear world in Africa, and Africa in the nuclear world, drawing from extensive archival and field work on the history of uranium production in Madagascar, Gabon, Namibia and South Africa. It argues that nuclear things in African places were produced and dissolved in intersections between the transnational politics of knowledge and the remains of colonial power. Radiation shaped workers’ bodies; sometimes it also shaped their political possibilities.

y way of example, the talk will focus on the Rössing mine in Namibia. Partly for research purposes and partly to guard against potential transnational lawsuits, the company's medical service kept extensive records on radiation exposures and lung functions, but initially kept these secret from its employees under the guise of medical and research confidentiality (a practice I refer to as the epistemology of surveillance). Rössing labor leaders were eventually able to reverse this epistemology of surveillance. By forging together transnational activist networks developed during the freedom struggle with the emerging labor networks that would come to constitute the Mineworkers Union of Namibia, Rössing workers built independent methods of knowledge and research production. They deployed these to conduct their own secret monitoring of health effects, and ultimately changed labor and health monitoring practices at the mine.

Heather J. Hoag

Tilling the Fields: British Attempts at Agricultural Mechanization in the Late Colonial Era

On January 9, 1951 the British government withdrew from one of its greatest development failures in Africa: the Groundnut Scheme. The Scheme sought to convert five-million acres of Tanganyika’s land to groundnut production through the use of wage labor and agricultural machinery. With limited ecological knowledge of the region, planners soon realized that rainfall, soil conditions, and the imported machinery were not conducive to groundnut cultivation. The failure of such projects has led historians to declare the attempt of postwar planners and agricultural experts to develop mechanized agriculture in their African colonies “an abysmal failure.”

But not all mechanization projects failed as dramatically. This paper draws upon archival data from Britain, Ghana, and Tanzania to examine the role of tractors in postwar British agrarian ideology. It focuses on the Rufiji Mechanised Cultivation Scheme (1948-1956) in Tanganyika’s Lower Rufiji River valley. Administrators confronted the issues that challenged the larger Groundnut Scheme: problems with choosing the best technology for the ecological conditions, escalating operating expenses, and difficulties with farmers over land tenure and farm organization. However, confident that tractors could improve production, farmers embraced the new technology, often successfully negotiating for better terms. Disappointed with the sharply increasing plowing fees but not adverse to tractors, after a few seasons farmers pulled out of the RMCS in favor of their own locally controlled plowing societies. But as one official noted in 1955, “the seeds of mechanical cultivation have certainly germinated.” The case suggests that in non-settler mechanization schemes many African farmers accepted the benefits of tractors and worked to adapt the new technology to their ecological, social, and labor conditions.

Bessie House-Soremekun and Gilbert M. Nduru

The Political Ecology of Land Use and Water Resource Conflicts in Kenya

In the past few decades, Kenya has experienced a variety of ecological problems, often associated with complex political, economic, and social dynamics of the development process and the local dynamics of land use management. The purpose of this paper is to highlight two different cases which include the competition over water resources around the Mt. Kenya region and the Green Belt Movement’s efforts at halting the desertification process in Kenya. We will also discuss the ongoing challenges associated with improved farming technologies used by agro-pastoral communities in the region which have led to declining forest cover and water quantities. This situation has also been exacerbated by increasing desertification processes which have been affected by dry economic conditions as well as the continuous destruction of the forest land by the rural populace which is dependent on the provision of fire wood to heat their homes and to satisfy their household consumption needs. These activities increasingly conflict with current conservation strategies and policies that are already in place in Kenya.

With increasing population growth around Mt. Kenya, there has been unremitting pressure on water resources due to rising demands by different user groups. As each group is staking substantial claims on available resources, competition over water resources has sharpened. The use of a variety of new water resource management technologies by individual groups has intensified competition and set in motion resource use conflicts associated with seasonal biophysical dynamics and scarcity. Often resource use conflicts have intensified and taken political dimensions. Thus, the resolution of these conflicts has called for policy formulations that address the political ecology under which resources are utilized.

Nancy Jacobs

Birds in Africa: Power over People, Power among People

In recent African history, knowledge about birds has brought different sorts of power to different people. In my previous work, I have described the ways white scientists employed race to claim authoritative knowledge about birds. But the story of birds, people and power is not just one of colonial exclusions. Within historical African societies birds had power to sustain or endanger human life and knowing about them produced local authority and power. Guyer and Belinga argue that knowledge in central Africa (including environmental knowledge) is a diffuse and highly valued resource that constitutes both the material and the human basis of life. I will extend their “wealth-in-knowledge” analysis of social organization to the authority produced by local bird knowledges. My sources are drawn from writings by local intellectuals in vernacular languages, by foreign missionaries and by professional ornithologists, both foreign and African. The study focuses on Bantu-speaking areas of central, southern, and eastern Africa.

The paper will probe the power of birds to heal and harm by exploring the associations between birds and rain, birds and kingship, and birds and bodily health. For example in southern Africa, some species are known as lightning birds, which bring destructive hail and electrical storms. In central Africa birds are associated with rain and air and were present at creation as life-giving forces. In the rituals of the Owambo people of Namibia and in sculptures of Great Zimbabwe, birds are associated with kings. Birds serve as omens of witchcraft and healers use their bodies in pharmocopias. The paper will consider these examples of avian power in the light of other politico-religious and healing practices. It will attempt to identify common understandings of the birds and the social ramifications of their manipulation by people.

Kathryn H. Jacobsen

Title: Climate Change in Africa: Environmental, Socioeconomic, and Health Implications

Global climate change contributes to land degradation, water and air quality issues, loss of biodiversity, and weather extremes. In Africa, these changes are expected to stress water resources, decrease crop yields, and cause more floods and droughts over the coming decades. These environmental changes will have impacts on both socioeconomic stability and health status. The socioeconomic implications include an increased risk of food insecurity, unemployment, mass migration, and conflict. Africa already has a higher number of environmental refugees and displaced persons than other parts of the world, and climate change will increase these numbers. The health problems that are most likely to increase include malnutrition, injuries such as heat stroke and drowning, and infectious diseases spread through contaminated food and water, insects and rodents, and the crowded conditions associated with urbanization. Africa has a higher rate of mortality attributable to climate change than any other world region, and this rate is expected to rise, especially among already vulnerable populations. It is important to make plans to prevent, mitigate, and respond to emerging environmental, socioeconomic, and health situations that may occur in Africa as a result of climate change

Jennifer Johnson

[I]legal Adaptations: Local Social-Ecological Responses to the Globalization of Lake Victoria's Nile Perch Fishery

Lake Victoria is the world's second largest freshwater body and home to one of the most dramatic speciation of indigenous cichlids in the world. Bordered by Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda in East Africa, the lake provides livelihood opportunities for over 30 million people around its shores. The Colonial era introduction of the invasive Nile perch (Lates niloticus) in the 1950's, combined with the introduction of industrialized fish processing for export in the 1980's, rapidly altered socio-ecological systems throughout the basin. Recent dramatic increases in fishing effort and subsequent decreases Nile perch stocks continue to compromise the health of this important fishery. Here I present a comparative analysis of the export and local fisheries using a commodity chain framework to pose critical questions about the value of the fishery to various actors - from local fishermen to multi-national corporations. All price and empirical data are based on interviews, market surveys, archival searches, and observations conducted by the author in Kenya in June of 2007 and in Uganda in May of 2008 unless otherwise noted. Through this comparative commodity chain approach I find that more local actors in the basin benefit from the local Nile perch trade than they do from the international trade.

Emmanuel Etuk Justus

Culture, Environment and HIV/AIDS in Africa

This paper focuses on cloridectomy and male genital cutting. It examines organizational biases; especially by the UN and its agencies, for the eradication of female genital mutilation while male genital is largely under-prioritized or glibly treated. As the study argues, most international organizations conceive of genital mutilation, be it cloridectomy or female circumcision, as gross violation of human rights and made all attempts at ensuring governmental and organizational collaborations in stopping it. The Parliament of Sweden, for example, sees male circumcision as a violation of children's right, as it encroaches on the physical and psychological integrity of the male. In spite of this general agreement about the phenomenon, not much has been achieved in practice, as most of these organizations and their individual imperatives are conceived from the international organization's perspective of the problems and not from the Africans' point of view of the phenomenon. As the paper argues, it is this gap between theory and actual practice that has contributed enormously to the spread of HIV/AIDS in Africa.

As recent statistics from the UN have shown, 13.3 million male children and babies are still subjected to this practice. New York Times of August 6, 2007 reported the death of thirty five males as a result of this practice. This raises a lot of questions: in spite of concerted global campaign, why have the practices endured in Africa? In what ways has culture contributed to the spread of the pandemic? Considering the current trend in global approach, especially by international organizations, to the phenomenon; can the UN and other international agencies actually interface in a people's cultural practices without running afoul of people's preferred practices? What underlying factors underlie this and other cultural practices and how can international organizations incorporate these into policy developments in confronting HIV.AIDS in Africa? These and many other questions are answered in their relations to HIV/AIDS eradication in Africa.

Using oral interviews, documentary and archival records, especially among peoples in war-torn countries in West Africa, the paper isolates genital cutting as a security risk that must be addressed urgently should Africa aim at surviving the likely problem that may result.

Nnenna George-Kalu
George Kalu

Increasing Filth in the Face of Government Policies: Exploring the Possibilities in a Precautionary Approach

Systemic environmental protection policies world-wide have the common history of having been created in response to grave and sometimes crisis level situations. Most nations have developed their initial regulatory organs and body of rules for protecting the environment as a means of tackling hazardous situations. Nigeria is not exempt from this reactionary approach which has been recognized as the foundation of domestic and international environmental law globally. The reactionary approach has encouraged an incrementally worsening global environmental situation. In an effort to combat this some nations have gone beyond the preventive to the precautionary approach.

In many African countries, including Nigeria, there is the arguably negative tendency to adapt policies and environmental principles from the noted developed nations. The pertinent question here would be in determining the aim of research which has formed the basis of existing policies and the geo-cultural region involved.

This paper analyses the current environmental situation in Nigeria against the background of existent environmental policies. The current emphasis is on the preventive method. This paper posits that a precautionary approach which involves the participation of the public is a viable alternative for sustainable control of the environment in the country.

Abdullrauf Kamardeen

The Role of Science and Technology in Development Schemes

This paper seeks to examine the interface between science and technology in development schemes. The paper will also examine the meaning of development in all its ramification and offer a better understanding of the roles science and technology can play in development processes. Similarly, the paper will also take a look at the meaning of science and technology along with their evolution and impact in achieving sustainable development.

The old or dominant paradigm of development represents the western model of the 50’s and 60’s designed and packaged as a “development made – simple” seen as a panacea for the perceived backwardness of the under-developed nations of the world. However, while the 50’s and particularly the 60’s were characterized by great optimism, the decade of the 70’s the old paradigm had fallen severely short of the great expectations that heralded it. As a result, radical ideas about development and reconceptualization according to lent (1987) as cited by soola (2003:11) were the foremost scholars and advocates of the dominant paradigm such as Everett Rogers and Wilbur Schramm.

In totality, they made a u-turn and renounced the top-down flow of development and instead see development as a widely participatory process of social and material advancement (including greater equality, freedom and other valued qualities)

Inayatullah (1967:10) as cited by soola (2003:12) definition of development shifts the focus and goal of development away from as economic to a more harmonized and contextualized one. In his word: “Development is change toward patterns of society that allow better realization of a society greater control over its political destiny, and that enables its individuals to gain increased control over themselves.” Oladipo (1996:1) as cited by Soola (2003:13) on his part noted that: “Development in general is a process of economic and social advancement which enables people to realize their potentials, build self confidence and lead lives of dignity and fulfilment. It is a process aimed at freeing people from evils of wants, ignorance, social injustice and economic exploitations.”

Oladipo in line with this paradigm shift has reasoned that development should focus on investing in people, participation by people and equity for people. Development should, according to him, be environmentally, economically, socially, politically, and intergenerational situated to make it sustainable. With this insight into development and what development represents. We now focus our attention to the role science and technology can play in development schemes.

Science and technology are central and pivotal to the development of any nation. Advances in the field of medicine, tele-communication, Agriculture e.t.c are all products of science and technology. Similarly, science and technology also aid technology with positive impacts on the lives and well being of the citizenry. Today we talk of globalization as a result of the world becoming a global village. This has been made possible because of the advance in science and technology. In the same vein, Agriculture has benefited tremendously from science and technology. Many research breakthroughs are being recorded on how to improve agriculture to boost food production in the overall attempt to ensure food security. Worthy to mention is the on-going research in the application of Biotechnology Genetic Engineering which experts say have the capacity to transform agriculture especially in the developing countries. The use of aircraft and other forms of space travels including the development of satellite imagery to monitor happenings on the earth such as desertification, erosion etc. is also evident of advances in science and technology. As experts have pointed out, development must be people centre, people focused and people oriented. All the products of science and technology in all the above mentioned areas and other spheres of human endeavor are helping in no small measure to transform our society for the ultimate benefit of the people. Unfortunately, developing countries are yet to accord science and technology top priority in their schemes of things. This is evident in delaying infrastructure in science research centers due to lack of proper funding. Laboratories which experts described as conducting meaningful research still rely on absolute equipment. The situation is further compounded by lack of adequate power supply.

For the developing countries especially in the sub-Saharan Africa to keep pace with the developed Economic Nation in the world, the development of science and technology must be accorded top priority. Better funding of science based research institutes will enable it play more active role in the transform the society and in essence will transform the society and ensure sustainable development that is people based.

Indiana Kelechi Godknows

Depite the euphoria that followed the establishment of the African Union (AU) in 2001, Africa, as the paper argued, is currently facing both economic, political, environmental and security deficits.Of these and many troubles bedevilling Africa, there seems to be little, or no, attention paid to the issues environmental security.It constitutive instruments,like other protocols orchestrated by AU and its numerous organs, were silent on environmental security therefore Africa risk a total lack of coordinated continent - wide efforts at amelliorating,curtailing,coordinating actions capable of ensuring safer, better and a more amenable environment to political,economic and social cultural globalisation.By examining AU and its institutions protocols this paper teased out structural deficits that could undo the goals of the new initiative to attain African unity and development in the continent.

Kairn A. Klieman

Title: “Oil Companies in Africa Before the Discovery of Oil”

This paper will provide a broad historical overview of the changing role of oil companies in Africa during the colonial era (roughly 1890s-1960s) as distributors and marketers of a variety of petroleum products (kerosene, aviation fuels, gasoline, etc). Much of the discussion will focus on the early history of Socony-Vacuum in Africa (later to become Mobil Oil), which dominated the “downstream” sector across Africa until the early 1960s. Based on archival data from the U.S. National Archives in College Park, Maryland, the Exxon-Mobil archives at U.T. Austin, and a variety of oil and gas journals, the paper will attempt to establish a basic understanding of the experiences and attitudes that Mobil and other marketing companies developed about operating in Africa during the first half of the twentieth century. This type of historical or “background” information, it will be argued, is essential to understanding oil companies’ actions and operating strategies once oil was discovered in Africa, as well as the nature of these companies’ interactions with the newly independent African governments during the early decades of oil production (1960s and 70s).

Alexander Kure

The Depiction of the Socio-Psychological Dimensions of the Niger-Delta Crisis in Recent Nigerian Drama

 Historically, the crisis in the Niger-Delta in Nigeria as a consequence of the exploration and exploitation of crude-oil has remained a topical issue in local, national and international discourses. In addition, there have equally been various responses. Some of these responses have remained a major threat to internal peace in Nigeria and local, national, and international economic stability. Meanwhile, the discourses on the nature, scope, consequences, and solutions to the crisis have remained inadequate since they centre more on the ethno-political, historical, and economic dimensions only. In the context of the flux above, this paper is fore-grounded on the premix that, by their very nature, the different genres of literature go beyond to address the multiplicity of dimensions which include the socio-psychological. In addition to the above, this paper also contends that it may well be literature that is better poised to effectively interrogate and proffer solutions to the crisis. To achieve proper contextualization of the exploration, the study adopts the multidisciplinary approach since it draws from both literary and non-literary materials. However, for the purpose of this paper, the anchor is the three randomly selected dramatic texts on the Niger-Delta that are the representative artistic transcripts of the crisis in the region. In context, J. P. Clark-Bekederemo’s Wives Revolt (1991), For Oil (2000), and Ahmed Yerima’s award winning Hard Ground (2006) have been used to interrogate the dimensions at issue in the paper

Emmanuel M. Mbah

Cattle in British Southern Cameroons:
Scientific and Technological Innovations and Environmental Control, 1916-1960

 The cattle potential of the Southern Cameroons Grasslands of Bamenda was quickly realized by British colonial authorities upon taking over the territory from the Germans in 1916 during the First World War. The region is not only covered by a sea of grass that carpets both highlands and lowlands, but is also blessed with the absence of cattle diseases, as well as a climate that is mild and temperate, and in many respects resembles that of Western Europe. These conditions, which were excellent for cattle grazing, coupled with the anticipated financial benefits that would accrue from taxing cattle were initially at the core of the British decision to make cattle the mainstay of the economy of the Bamenda region.

In light of the above, the British sought, during their tenure in the region, to modernize the cattle industry through the application of scientific and technological innovations, as well as adequate controls to minimize the environmental effects of wide scale grazing through trampling, which often resulted in soil erosion and destruction to indigenous crops. These innovations included amongst others, pasture development, innovations in land use, grazing control, breeding techniques, development of infrastructure, innovations in marketing strategies, and the establishment of research, investigation and training centers. But these initiatives proved to be more financially and physically tasking than was initially conceived, and by the end of their tenure in Southern Cameroons in 1960 the British had only been partially successful in accomplishing their set goals.

The objective of this essay is three-fold. First we discuss the various innovations introduced by the British in attempt to transform the Southern Cameroon Grasslands into a veritable cattle reserve, as well as analyze how successful these attempts were. Second, we examine reasons why the British fell short of accomplishing the various projects. Finally, we examine the legacy of British colonialism on the cattle industry in the Southern Cameroons.

Teshager Mersha

Urban Environment in sub-Saharan Africa: Slums as Wife of Life and Coping Behaviour in the Case of the Capital City of Ethiopia-Addis Ababa

As African countries entered the phase of modernization and as they experience rapid urbanization, their population has been much larger than the resources available. The high natural population growth within the urban combined with the rapid and high rural-urban migration reaches to a level where it poses serious problems to urban development and the promotion of individual and social welfare. Most cities in sub-Saharan countries faced immediate concerns of poverty, housing, environment and administration. Sharing three toilets and one shower with 250 households in a community is not at all unusual in cities of sub-Saharan Africa.

Addis Ababa is the industrial, commercial and service centre of Ethiopia. The city, however, is not capable of accommodating the increasing population that is being attracted by better facilities and apparent employment opportunities. By the year 2006, 80percent of the dweller live in slum areas. In relation to infrastructure and basic service, the data shows that in the same year, 35 percent of the urban population didn’t have access to water supply and 47 percent didn’t have sanitation facilities.

Like other cities in sub-Saharan Africa the deteriorating environmental quality in the capital is the source of variety grave problems facing the residents. This article reports slum residents’ perception and response to air and water pollution, noise, garbage, crowding and traffic. Specifically, the study briefly sketches the key climate change adaptation challenges from urban perspectives. Furthermore, the study aimed to identify the perception of some of the environmental stressors. The level of analysis will be at a household level which shall be selected among slum dwellers.

Laura J. Mitchell

Claiming Nature: Pastoralist Ownership and Landscape Ideology in Colonial Southern Africa

 Ideological struggles were a significant component of colonial encounters. Appropriate governance, adjudication of social transgression, religion, sexuality, and even notions of good and evil have been analyzed insightfully as sites of colonial contest. The environment, too—in terms of resource use and changing patterns of access—has been productively cast as a locus of contention. I take this line of argumentation one step further, postulating that nature was the focus of both material and ideological struggles between Africans and colonial settlers in South Africa in the eighteenth century.

Since places in the landscape held particular religious significance to Khoisan people, then fights over land have additional layers of meaning beyond the materialist interpretations that prevail in current historical interpretations (including my own published work). This paper is an initial exploration of both Khoisan and settler ideas about nature, attempting to go beyond the issues of access to and use of land. If colonialism can be seen as a clash of ideologies and cosmologies, then how did ideas about nature come into play?

The paper uses rock art, archaeological reports, nineteenth and twentieth century ethnography, European travel accounts, colonial land tenure records, European landscape art, and the Bible to construct two very different sets of attitudes about the meaning of the natural world and its relationship to human society.

This eclectic combination of sources begs larger theoretical questions: How flexible are ideas about “the environment” across different cultures? What are the limits of historical imagination? How far can we stretch Western epistemology to incorporate alternative world views and stay intelligible?

Jolande Morkel and Maria Leus

Sustainable design, a Democratic tool for social upliftment

The challenges faced by a needy community and one willing to give, were tackled in a ground breaking project based in a poor community in the western province of South Africa.We would like to present the results of a co-operative service learning project, undertaken by the two departments of architecture, respectively from the Cape Peninsula University of Technology ( Cape Town, South Africa) and the PHL University of Hasselt ( Belgium, Europe.) 

This project provided the groundwork for the design and realization of an educational hub in a small and poverty stricken agricultural hamlet, approximately 50km to the northwest of the Cape Town metropole. The school needed to act as a cultural centre for the previously disadvantaged (and fast growing in numbers) coloured and black communities, serving to provide general health and HIV and aids education, adult literacy programmes, skills development and training.

The paper will focus on the economic, functional and structural concepts of the building design that were developed from the cross-continental academic collaboration, which, together with a process of community participation and professional input, resulted in the successful implementation thereof. All these aspects are considered within the context of diverse values that different groups of the population attribute to the democratic process. Identifying the special needs of this community proved the first step to developing a sustainable concept for a school building that effects the social upliftment thereof.

In this architectural project based on sustainable design and building principles, issues around public participation, social responsibility and democracy in architecture is addressed.By reinforcing best practises, the South African-Belgian co-operation proved to enrich students and learners on both continents Furthermore it was found that the value transfer was a two-way experience, with all parties learning more than they ever expected!

Monsuru Muritala

From Jesse to Ijegun, the carnage occasioned by the pipeline explosions no doubt remains monumental. Prior to the discovery of oil and gas in Nigeria, there were myriads of natural resources capable of transforming the society from traditional to a developed economy, but events of over four decades have shown that mismanagement, corruption, environmental degradation and poor leadership seem to have turned what ordinarily should be a blessing to a “curse.”

This paper critically highlights recurring calamities associated with oil and gas in Nigeria. By adopting the political economy approach, the paper raises some fundamental questions such as why people keep risking their lives in spite of the obvious dangers of destroying and scooping petrol from pipelines

Shadrack Wanjala Nasong’o

Ecological Roots of Social Conflict in Kenya: Pastoralism, Land, and the Development Paradox

G lobally, at the beginning of the decade of the 2000s, five of the ten countries generating the most refugees were in the Eastern African region. Estimates at the end of the 1990s indicated that 29 percent of Rwanda’s population and 12 percent of Eritrea’s lived as refugees in neighboring countries. The refugee crisis was compounded by the civil war in the Sudan, with over one million displaced persons, state collapse in Somalia, and a variety of internally displaced groups on account of social conflicts in Uganda and Kenya. Accordingly, three countries in the region, including Kenya, Ethiopia, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo ranked among the top-ten refugee hosting countries worldwide. Traditionally, emphasis on intervention in these conflicts in the region, and in Africa generally, has historically centered on negotiating competing political viewpoints. This paper sets out to argue and to demonstrate that there is an environmental dimension to conflict in Africa that has either not been fully understood or effectively incorporated into the development of conflict prevention and management strategies. The paper focuses on Kenya and seeks to delineate the ecological roots of social conflict in the country with a view to elaborating a holistic approach to conflict management and prevention in Africa.

Marie Chantale Mofin Noussi

Nature in Human Cultures: A Study of Zakes Mda’s The Heart of Redness and TheWhale Caller

How can literature contribute to resolving ecological problems? Zakes Mda is one author who deals with the reconciliation between human and non human worlds. This paper analyzes the place of nature in religion, traditions and economics of the native South African people and their colonizers in the light of Zakes Mda’s novels. This research contends that the relationship between nature and human cultures depends on human conceptions of nature. Mda focuses on the pre-colonial environment versus the postcolonial one. African Traditional Religion and Christianity as presented in the novels are neither anthropocentric, nor ecocentric. The final section studies the traditional practices as either ecological or as ecocide. The research also handles the role of South African ecology in world economic politics, in globalization and as a tool for imperial conquest. Both novels, especially The Whale Caller attempt to turn people away from destructive attitudes, toward a more protective consciousness of life in the biosphere.

Hannington Ochwada

“Western Biomedicine and Colonialism: The Church Missionary Society Medical Mission in the Lake Victoria Basin”

I explore the role of Western biomedicine in inscribing the European project of colonial hegemony on the bodies of African living within the Lake Victoria basin between 1 900 and 195 0. I analyze the role of the Church Missionary Society (CMS) medical mission in fostering new regimes of health and African response. I argue that the CMS evangelists and British colonists shared a perception about the functionality of science and the contribution of science to Christian missionary work in East Africa. Western biomedicine was a great encouragement of CMS evangelists in East Africa as they intervened in the affairs of the communities living in the Lake Victoria basin. Europeans perceived Western biomedicine not only as bestowing health but also providing the ‘Christian light so lacking’ in the peo ple of the region. Western biomedicine was an effective a tool of converting and controlling African s. T he CMS medical missionaries working in the Uganda Protectorate and the adjoining territory of present-day Kenya largely acknowledged the importance of the medical mission p roject in colonizing Africa. T he y considered the medical mission to have a significant role to play in the conversion of African communities whom he argued ascribe d many diseases ‘ to witchcraft or malicious poisoning or the breach of taboo or a hundred other sup erstitious or imaginary causes’. Using archival materials from the CMS Special Collections at the University of Birmingham and the Public Records Office in the United Kingdom I explain how Europeans and Africans reconstituted health regimes within the region in their own interest.

Mike Odey

The Economy of Accelerated Food Production, Environmental Degredation and Land Conflicts in Central Nigeria

Different regions in Nigeria, like most of the African continent are invariably zones of perpetual violent conflicts. A combination of factors; both ancient and emerging ones have brought about complex irreconcilable contradictions to exacerbate this. Although, most regions in Nigeria may be tagged violent conflict prone environment with peculiar factors for such violence, land and fragile environmental conditions where life support system is constantly depleted stand out clearly and constitute the most significant variable. In central Nigeria, agricultural land is becoming increasingly inadequate to meet the demands of the burgeoning population. Land factor is both a trigger and a dynamic in the consideration of violent conflict in central Nigeria area for two related reasons: agricultural production and depletion of life support system. This is because, much of the north central geog-political zone of Nigeria is regarded as the food basket of the Nation and agriculture is the live wire of the majority of the people but production strategies are very poor and are on small scale, and agriculture is largely unsustaible.Furthermore, food demands from all over the nation remain high especially under the prevailing circumstances of national food insecurity that has gripped the nation for nearly a year now. Unknown to most of the small scale farmers is the unprecedented real and potential threats to life support systems under the widespread and accelerated agricultural production to meet such growing demands. Unless there are alternative ways and means of meeting the food needs of the people, it would appear that the Malthusian specter is fast closing on the area and with contagious effects on other security issues. Before 1999, only about 12 incidents of violent conflicts were recorded but today, there is hardly any area that has not witnessed land related violence. The analysis is situated around the prevailing environmental insecurity in central Nigeria which is traceable to accelerated poor agricultural strategies and land conflicts in historical perspective, for the most part of the post colonial period. The conclusion of the paper is that environmental insecurity in the area cannot be isolated or taken for granted but carefully interrogated to avoid bigger ecological disaster like in the Niger Delta.

Adewale Adeniyi Odulate

Conflicts, the Environment, Food and Nutrition Insecurity in Africa

The recent constellations of conflicts and wars in Africa have left, at their trails, equally devastating, deep-seating and awe-inspiring problems. These include displacements, the need to cater for the displaced; the need to debrief the combatants and engage them in more profitable tasks; reconstruction and rebuilding of the socio-economic and political fabric of societies destroyed by conflicts and wars. None of these have proved more devastating as food and nutrition insecurity.

Two factors are identified in this study as responsible for this sad development: the use of land mines, cluster bombs, etc and crop-losses caused by natural disaster. As the examples of DR Congo, Rwanda (used to interrogate the use of land mines, cluster bombs and other military hardware used in war situations in these countries) and Niger Republic (used to interrogate the nexus between natural disaster and crop-losses) have shown long after peace accords had been signed and the loud noise of guns and muskets had died down; a silent war - that of food and nutrition insecurity - more devastating in its impacts than the open-war, soon began in the different conflict zones in Africa threatening the future survival of the continent.

This paper aims at answering all these questions and many more with respect to how conflicts and wars have interfaced with natural resources to create one of the most challenging problem facing Africa, food and nutrition insecurity.

Bolawale Odunaike

Interogating the Role of Culture in the Spread and Prevalence of HIV/AIDS in Contemporary Nigeria

This paper interrogates the nexus between cultural practices such as polygyny and the spread of HIV/AIDS in contemporary Nigeria. Using six case studies obatined in four Nigerian cities - Lagos, Ibadan, Enugu, Port-harcourt, Kaduna and Gboko, the paper finds a positive individual-level correlation, and a negative ecological correlation between polygyny and the prevalence of HIV/AIDS in Nigeria. Using two variables: self-reports and spousal reports of adultery suspicion, the two mechanisms that contributes to the individual level correlation, the paper finds that men in polygynous marriages have more extramarital sex than men in monogamous unions. Secondly, the paper finds evidence of adverse selection of HIV positive women into polygnous unions via an investigation of the relationship between marriage order and polygyny status. The study therefore concludes with reflections about possible explanatons for the distinct individual and ecologic correlations.

Kayode Omoniyi Ogunfolabi

Fictionalizing the Crisis of the Environment in Ben Okri's The Famished Road and Songs of Enchantment

This paper examines Ben Okri’s The Famished Road and Songs of Enchantment as discourses, which attempt to intervene in the global crisis of the environment, particularly, the frightening manifestations and consequences of environment degradation. It focuses on how the fictional tropes function to articulate the urgency of the crisis within narrative fiction, beyond the limits of conventional literary realism.

Because Okri’s selected novels raise epistemological questions on the nature of reality, the growing problem of the environment, and the controversial values of the Enlightenment, simultaneously becomes concomitant with the resistance to the colonial, neocolonial and late capitalist agenda, which is at the core of the metaphysical issues in Okri’s fiction.

his essay will interrogate Okri’s profuse use of animistic and marvelous references, which can potentially shed light on, not only how centuries of imperialist attitudes have negatively impacted the environment particularly in Africa, but also on how the crisis of realism in these texts are manifestations of the desire to foreground the discourse on the environment. More importantly, if the novels are partly concerned with the dialectic of representation it will be crucial to investigate how they capture the immediate dangers threatening the environment without occluding them within the general meta-discourse of literary representation.

Segun Ogunbemi

Modern Science and Technology in Conflict with African Environmental Ethics

There is no gain in saying that modern science and technology has contributed to the development of Africa both positively and negatively to the extent that there is hardly anywhere in Africa where the two double barrel blessings are not being felt. Of course, Africa developed her own science and technology before the advent of modern science and technology which sought to ameliorate human suffering and provide a slow paced development with cognizance that man and environment co-exist and insofar as man realized this fact and treated nature with caution there would be harmony and peace, but failure to recognize the fact that man and nature will be in conflict and that it is man who will be worse for it.

It is this lack of understanding on the part of the modern man of science and technology that this paper is concerned about. In other words, the conflict that arises between modern science, technology and African environmental ethics is the lack of understanding of how in Africa, environment is treated and the role of man in living with nature as man-nature relatedness. African environmental ethics has taught man over the ages not to take from nature more than he needs and to be in harmony with nature he must do so with the traditional moral value of common sense ethics, if his life is to flourish. The exploration of oil in Africa and the exploitation of other essential minerals with the attendant pollution, deforestation that is causing environmental disasters in the continent, and the global warming that the world is experiencing are a result of modern man and his technology's total disregard for African environmental ethical values. In all this what should be done? What role should an African philosopher play? Are African traditional moral values of environment relevant to contemporary solutions to the environmental crisis? These and other issues will be discussed in this paper.

Olatubosun Ogunnaike

Studies on the interrelationships between the environment, HIV/AIDS and children's educational attainment largely focus on the direct impacts of parental illness and death, overlooking the potential indirect impact the environment and parental knowledge and perceptions of the HIV status may have on children's school enrollment. Using oral, written and archival sources as well as drawing on both quantitative and qualitative envidence from Malawi, this paper finds that women's real and perceived anticipation of future health shocks has a positive impact on their children's educational attainment.

The paper posits that interventions that target healthy uncertainties like HIV/AIDS programmes, can make significant contributions to maintaining children's educational attainment in areas wracked by HIV/AIDS.

Sade Olubukunola Ogunyakinu

This paper analyzes the phenomenon of rural-urban migration as it impacts on environment in two Nigerian cities. Lagos and Ibadan, usually characterized by blocked drainages, overflowing with heaps of garbage, remains of food, disused household items and disposed sachets of bagged water (pure-water) in waterways, present us a mosaic through which challenges of urban planning can be studied. Whether forced or voluntary, migration is not without its costs. With a population of 11,135,675, Lagos remains the largest city in Nigeria and the second largest in Africa after Cairo, in term of population. In terms of geographical size, Ibadan remains the largest city in Nigeria. Both Ibadan and Lagos have played significant roles in the emergence of the nation: Ibadan, which was set by British colonial administration, housed major institutions like the first university, the University of Ibadan, the first teaching hospital in Nigeria, University College Hospital; Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria and the internationally acclaimed International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA). Ibadan was and remains a home to the most sophisticated and liberal scientific and cultural community on the continent of Africa. The push and pull factors of colonial service and colonial exploration of Nigeria drew people's attention to Ibadan and people flocked from all parts of Nigeria to Ibadan either in search of colonial job or greener pasture after independence. Despite these laudable infrastructures and development, Ibadan is today regarded as the dirtiest city in Nigeria.

C.A. Olarewaju

Diet in the aetiology and prevention of non-communicable chronic diseases in Africa

on-communicable diseases are usually thought of as chronic conditions that do not result from an acute infectious process. These diseases and injuries account for over two-thirds of deaths world-wide (non-communicable diseases – 59.8%, injuries – 9.1%). In addition they cause pain, disability, loss of income, disruption of family stability and an impaired quality of life. They are often thought to be public health problems of significance only in high – income countries. In reality only 20% of the chronic disease deaths occur in high income countries, 80% in low and middle income countries where most of the world’s population live. These diseases are silent killers, have insidious onset, provide debilitating complications and result in painful deaths. The estimated number of these disease related deaths in WHO African Region in 2005 was over 2million. Without action an estimated 28million people will die from a chronic disease in this region in the next 10years. (deaths from diabetes will increase by 42%). To prevent this prediction, this historical study identified the role of diet in the aetiology and prevention of some of these diseases (namely diabetes mellitus and hypertension). It was discovered that changes in the world food economy have contributed to shifting dietary patterns (increased consumption of energy – dense diets, high in fat and low in unrefined carbohydrates). These patterns are combined with a decline in energy expenditure and sedentary lifestyle. Primary prevention of unhealthy diets should include promotion of consumption of local fruits and vegetables, reduction of salt, refined sugars and animal fat. Control of diet and increase of physical activity will result in reduction of obesity, hypertension, high cholesterol and diabetes. WHO Global Strategy on diet, physical activity should be implemented at country level in a relevant manner.

Omolade Olomola

African Dispute Resolution: An Antidote to Displaced Population in Boundary Disputes, The Bakassi Peninsula

 The term dispute or conflict as used interchangeably means virtually the same thing. The idea which either connotes is the fact that there is a situation of restiveness between two or more groups or people. Disputes have always been with man, from his earliest days as a hunter through his period of settling down as a farmer to the present day. And, over time, man has learnt various methods of dealing with conflicts. Conflicts are therefore universal and recognised as one of the fall – outs of the living and interacting together of human beings.

The idea of a displaced population/refugee has been widely defined by International instruments and these laws variously define migrants for different reasons.The Bakassi people were literally forced out of a place they had known and lived all their lives. The boundary dispute between Nigeria and Cameroon had been on for some time and this conflict was ignited because of sudden realization of the economic viability of the Oil rich peninsula.

It is the position of this paper that dragging the matter to the International Court may not have been the best solution for the two neighbouring countries.The antidote is African dispute resolution mechanism and it is thus the position of this paper. By its features African dispute resolution technically avoids the win all or lose all approach of the court and so promotes reconciliation

Samuel Oloruntoba

The State and the Governance of Multinational Corporations in Africa: The Case of the Shell Petroleum Development Company in the Niger Delta

That multinational corporations foster economic growth and development has been a common cache phrase since the third world countries came in contact with the advanced capitalist economies. The petty bourgeoisie and the political elites of the third world countries have spent fortunes trying to attract foreign direct investment to the capital and technology intensive sectors of the various economies.

Empirical evidence supports the fact that the activities of multinational corporations especially in Africa are concentrated in the resource rich countries like Nigeria, (Oil and gas), Zambia (Diamond), Democratic Republic of Congo (Copper), Angola (Oil), among others. We contend in this paper that the nature of the state in Africa and the character of the ruling elites as well as their psychopathic configuration is such that the easy access to money from these resources as well as rent seeking are the major force and reason for seeking political office either through the barrel of gun or through democratic means. In other to achieve their insidious profiteering objectives, the MNCs routinely compromised the political elites through bribery and corruption, which make them to look the other way while the multinational corporations exploit and expropriate the natural resources in contravention of local and international laws and statutes governing their operations.

The resultant effects are neglect, bastardization of the environments and pauperization of the people in the locations where the resources are being extracted. This is the situation today in the Niger Delta region in Nigeria where many years of criminal collusion between the oil companies and the successive military regimes as well as civilian governments has led to environmental degradation, destruction of means of livelihood for old and young alike, youth unemployment and suppression of dissenting voices through military operations by the state.

The problem in this research work is to interrogate the nature, capacity and the willingness of the state in Africa to set up acceptable codes of governance for the multinational corporations with the aim of reigning in their monstrous powers and making them behave as good corporate citizens such that the incidence of “resource curse” in the otherwise resource rich countries will be reversed to engender citizenship empowerment and improvement in the standard of living of the people.

Lai Olurode

Gender, Work and Technology in Rural Africa

Most human activities in Africa are gender-typed. As an activity, work in most societies is thus gender specific. Of course, the variations across societies cannot be ignored. It is for the reason of the absence of a perfect fit across societies between work and gender that compel scholars to concede to culture a more powerful explanatory potential rather than physiology in discussions relating to work and gender.

The dynamics of social change and the flux that is triggered is an added reason why the gender-work relationship cannot be regarded as settled. The diffusion of technology and its impact on gender-work relationships, particularly how it alters them are often ignored. Under globalization, the diffusion and adoption of new technology in agriculture and food crop processing cannot but have some consequences for the linkage of gender to work.

Theoretically, the introduction of new technology into rural Africa may be expected to strengthen or weaken pre-existing patriarchal system. From my casual observations however, I suspect that with the increasing diffusion of new technology in farming and food processing in rural Africa, new opportunities, challenges and constraints are being thrown up which cannot but exert some leverage on gender and work relationships.

he paper would speak to findings drawn from rural communities in south-west Nigeria and some other parts of Africa on how the adoption of new technology in agriculture and food processing is altering gender relations of work and in re-defining farm work itself. As a background, the paper would present an overview of the conception of work among the Yoruba of south-west Nigeria as evidenced from their proverbs and religious mythology.

Donald Omagu

Oil Multinational's "Environmental Genocide" and Socio- Economic development in Nigeria's Niger Delta

Nigeria ranks as the world's sixth largest oil exporter and Africa's top producer. In spite of its resource endowment, it's immense potential for economic growth and development Nigeria's Niger Delta where this resource derives from is a classic illustration of the paradox of poverty in the midst of plenty. The Oil producing region is characterized by extreme poverty, serious dearth of serviceable infrastructure, and environmental degradation occasioned by oil spillage and gas flaring. Blame for the lack of development lies with the multinational oil firms that operated in the delta for years with little environmental oversight. Worst still is the attitude of oil companies towards mop up exercise and environmental impact assessment.

The oil multinational exploration and exploitation activities in the Niger Delta has led to attendant cost to the environment, the economy and future generations. The gradual build up of water, soil, air pollution and gas flaring takes their toll on the flora and fauna of the regions ecosystem and acid rain takes its toll on their houses, bodies and other physical structures, soil and crops, as well as the increased risk of disease. There is a problem of alternate employment for fishermen and farmers whose traditional means of livelihood had been eroded by oil production. Lack of attention to environmental concerns by the multinational oil firms and government, partners in the on shore operation, have turned the Niger Delta into one of the world's most endangered ecosystems.

This paper critically examines the impact of the perennial oil spillage and gas flaring on the environment. It equally examines the effort by government and multinational oil companies to deal with these problems. It concludes by offering some suggestions as to how to deal with the environmental problems in the Nigeria's Niger Delta.

Osarhieme Benson Osadolor

Military Technology and the Production of Firearms in Benin Kingdom 1750 – 1897

Benin was one of the most famous pre-colonial empires of Africa, and undoubtedly, the most powerful state in the forest region of West Africa from the 15 th century until the British conquest in 1897. The development of its military culture evolved in different phases of Benin history, eventually leading to the establishment of a powerful military system. From 1750 to 1897, the building of Benin Army was matched by internal defense production of firearms, designed as a military and security policy for less dependence on European firearms in an international trade that began in 1492. The organization of the defense production by Oba Akengbuda, 1750-1804 to produce light firearms, muskets and flintlock hand-guns was an all-out effort envisaged in his victory program after the ravages of a long, wasting civil war and revolts from vassal states during the first half of the 18 th century. The key to success of internal production was the organization of the guild of Igun Ematon (gunsmiths), specialists in iron-casting, by creating a new quarter at Igun n’Ugboha as distinct from Igun Nekhua (the guild of bronze casters) in Benin City. The guild system was an aspect of Benin economic organization that worked for the Palace, and all were affiliated to the three palace societies according to their specific functions and services. The internal defense production marked one major aspect of the military program of Benin to improve supply, high firepower and efficiency of operations by the Army; also strategically calculated to adjust to changes that may arise from the threat of Europeans who may ban the sale of firearms such as the experience in the 16 th century when the Portuguese government forbade the sale of arms to West Africans. However, by the 19 th century, Benin had built a huge armory in the Palace, and even supplied firearms to Ekiti during the Yoruba civil wars of the period. With the fall of Benin in 1897, the defense industry ceased to exist but the guild continued its services to the Palace of the Oba of Benin.

Emmanuel Chibogu Oseji

Ecology, Disaster, Food and Nurtition Insecurity in Africa.

Conflicts and wars in Africa have led devastating, deep-seating and awe-inspiring problems at their wake. Associated problems include, but not limited to, displacements, the need to cater for IDPs and refugees; debriefing combatants, de-mining mined-lands, reconstruction and rebuilding socio-economic and political fabric of societies, etc. All these are contributive to the burgeoning era of food and nutrition insecurity that abounds in Africa.

Two factors are identified as causative of this: the use of land mines, cluster bombs, etc and crop-losses caused by natural disaster. DR Congo and Rwanda are used to examine the use of land mines, cluster bombs and other military hardwares in conflict situations while and Niger Republic and Uganda are used to interrogate the nexus between natural disaster and crop-losses. The results are the same for the two sets of case studies used: A silent war of food and nutrition insecurity, which present more devastating consequences than even the open-wars and conflicts that have pitched different communities in Africa.

The paper advocates that the use of military hardwares such as land mines, cluster bombs, etc that potentially stayed buried under the soil and could be detonated when trampled on should be barn. As the victims from DR Congo and Rwanda have pointed out, food and nutrition insecurity inexorably lead to one thing. Food insecurity leads to hunger and death. Nutrition insecurity leads to stunting. Both are noxious bedfellows that do no one any good.

Using oral interviews, documentary and archival records, especially among victims in war-torn countries like DR Congo and Rwanda as well as in pestilence ravaged Niger Republic and Uganda, the paper advocates (i) more governmental efforts at halting the production and procurements of cluster-bombs, mines, etc as well as (ii) increasing attention to how we use the environment.

Oyelola Morenike Oyekoya

Waste Management in Contemporary Nigeria: the Abuja Example

Population growth and the construction boom in Nigeria over the past few years have resulted in the daily production of over 3, 000tonnes of solid waste. Some of this has been accummulating, causing serious health and environmental damage, according to an Abuja Municipality.

The municipality now reckons that there is now a daily build-up of at least 300 tonnes of solid waste in and around Abuja, the Federal Capital. Despites it 2, 000 workers and about 50 trucks, the municipality cannot keep pace with the daily solid waste production in Abuja. "We need more and better resources to keep the city somehow clean", said Aliyu, adding that weak public support for waste management was a "serious problem".

This problem is not peculiar to Abuja alone. Similar situation has been reported in Ibadan, Lagos, Calabar, Port Harcourt, etc. In fast-growing residential areas in particular, there has been a build-up of waste material, posing a direct health and environmental hazard to the people, most especially children who play nearby and/or those who try to eke out a living by scavenging anything of value from the rubbish hips.

As the study shows, wind and rain, in recent times, are spreading polution: in Ibadan and Lagos, an destimated thirty million residents have no intergrated sewage system. As UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) had noted, about 12 percent of children in most Nigerian cities have access to sanitation and 32 percent to improved drinking water, and water-borne disease such as diarrhoea kill thousands of children annually.

With solid waste recently decorating street corners and every space, Nigerian cities may be on the brink, and, as the Director of Waste Management in the nation's capital had noted, "we have no resources to cope". This raises a lot of questions: How is waste management managed in Nigerian cities? Can Nigeria cope with the avalanche of solid waste it citizens produces daily? If not, why and how can the potential be built? What values of cleanliness abound amongst the people and why do we have solid waste all around?

These and many more questions are raised and answered, using Abuja, Nigeria's seat of government, as a case study in this study. The paper uses oral interview, archival and documentary sources to engage solid waste management in Nigeria. The study possits that solid waste management has overwhelmed the government in Nigeria as a result of attitudinal irresponsibility of most Nigerians, the establishment, ineptitude and graft within the fabric of the nation.

Bukola Adeyemi Oyeniyi

Failed Promises: A Study of the Promotion of Science and Technology in Nigeria

This paper examines how science and technology is promoted in Nigeria since independence. The paper asserts that from independence in 1960, efforts at ensuring the development of science and technology dominated national dialogue. Rather than ensuring development, evidences abound to assert that much of the energy dissipated is wasted through non or half-hearted implementation. Going by the number of commissions of inquiry, seminars, symposia, lectures, etc which we have had on how best to promote science and technology, it goes without saying that the failure of the enterprise is not lost on Nigerian government. What factors therefore militiate against the implementation of sustainable science and technology policy in Nigeria? As preliminary researches have shown, Nigerians, undoubtedly, posses the knowledge and even the right policies to attain any goal; but lack the will and the leadership to do what we know is necessary to be done. Besides the above, Nigeria also lacked the culture of science and technology. As conceived in the study, the culture of science and technology refers to the social environment in which science and technology can best be promoted and one in which science and technology can flourish and grow in a sustainable manner.

The major issue in the paper is that past efforts at promoting science and technology failed to see the relationship between culture and the development of science and technology. Development implies healthygrowth of a society and culture is the life of the society. The paper therefore advocates that one cannot achieve scientific and technological development if it is pursued as an end in itself. And that when science and technology is imported from outside, it remains adventitious until it is integrated into the culture - the life - of the people. Education is the process by which the integration takes place and growth is stimulated. How much of our educational system derives from our culture? For sustainable development whether in science, technology or medicine; there must be the political will which should provide the motivation and the direction of development, as well as the economic sinews.

The paper concludes by advocating in spite of the recognition of the need for a culture of science and technology among the citizenry, official efforts so far have been concentrated on centralized planning, financing and control under predominantly authoritarian regimes. To ensure that scientific development attains sustainable growth, it is necessary to link it more closely with indigenous technological development and traditional science.

Bukola Adeyemi Oyeniyi

The Factor of Culture in Technological Development: Nigeria since Independence

Using Nigeria as a case study, the paper interrogates the nexus between culture and development in Africa. It queries the conception of development as efforts at ensuring the development of science and technology, which was considered to be in dissonance with African culture. As an integral part of nation-building in Africa, national dialogue on establishing socio-cultural environment wherein science and technology can best be promoted, flourish and grow in a sustainable manner was dominated by an obtuse fascination with perceiving culture as anti-development.

In two separate studies, the IMF was unequivocal that a new dawn is here in Africa, especially following the wave of democratization witnessed in the 90s, but that a trend is noticeable today in Africa that policies and procedures successfully implemented in countries of Europe and the America hardly succeed in Africa. It is unfortunate that the studies finalize that reasons for this are basically associated with leadership and African culture. The Breton Wood institution maintained that African culture is anti-development.

Consequently, National Policy on Science and Technology conceives of development as solely related to science and technology and, as such, several national agencies and commissions for the sciences were created. These are to complement the separate Federal and State Universities of Technology and two of Agriculture established to implement these policies and promote science and technology. Since then, Nigeria had the ratio 60:40 formula for University admissions: Sixty percent for science and applied sciences, forty percent for humanities and the social sciences. Among other incentives, the National Education policies awarded scholarships in a way to favor "useful" disciplines such as Science and Technology, and discriminate against the so-called "use-less" ones, such as History, Theatre Arts, Classics, and Philosophy. However, as the paper demonstrates, these policies and the conception of development that underlies them have been of little effect.

As the paper shows, Africa, by default, may not witness any meaningful development, even in information and technology, unless such development is ingrained in the people's culture. Culture, as defined in the paper, is the complete system of art, thought and customs of a people; that is to say, the whole way of life of a society - material, intellectual, spiritual. Understood in this way, the paper canvases that you can borrow some technology; you can begin by imitating some aspects of other peoples' technology; you can even try to transfer technology; but technology cannot develop- it cannot grow- outside the context of a people's culture. This is because the growth of science and technology may be assisted by experiments in laboratories, as well as by studies, inventions and patents in the Universities, but these do not grow and become sustainable development except within society, and within particular cultures. Experiments, inventions, and patents grow only when they are acquired as skills by individual artisans, or by a group of collectivized artisans within the industrial process, artisans who apply technology to make things that become part of living, part of life.

In view of this, the paper argues that development, whether of medicine, commerce, science and technology, cannot exist in a vacuum. It requires an awareness, a culture upon which to build that which it aims. Culture, i.e. the totality of our historical experiences as a people, our values, our traditions, our beliefs, world-view, and way of doing things is a sine qua non to development. Development, as the paper argues, implies healthy growth of a society while culture is the life of the society. When development is imported from outside, it remains adventitious until it is integrated into the culture - the life - of the people. This, rather than the reasons IMF advances, are the factors underlying why policies and programmes imported to Africa have failed to attain the desired ends. While not dissenting on leadership, the paper advances that leadership is an incidental factor underlying underdevelopment but that policies and programmes, to be successful, must be based within a culture.

The paper therefore uses oral interviews, written, archival, and documentary sources to interrogate the place of culture in sustainable development. It also considers how the misconception of the relations between culture and development has occasioned policy failures, socio-economic woes and educational inconsistencies in Nigeria.

Rubin Patterson

Making a Global Green Economy: Africa’s Role

Fortunately, a sea-change has recently occurred in the world’s imagination about the need to make a global green economy. From heightened environmental threats, foreseeable exhaustion of key minerals, an explosion of middle class consumption in the global South, and recognition of the need for a new sector to source jobs and business opportunities, elites in world power centers now “get it.” The need is so large and the opportunities are so monumental with a green economy until the world needs “all hands on deck,” yes, including Africans. Africans stand to gain from the emergence of a green economy as much as anyone. When the sun goes down on Sub-Saharan Africa, the light literally goes out as three-quarters of the population there are not connected to any electric grid. They have to prepare food with open-air, biomass methods, which is an underreported means of undermining health in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. No power also means no new information and communications technologies either, which are the tools that make much of the rest of the world several orders of magnitude more productive. Just as most Africans will eventually get telephone service as a result of leapfrogging landline telephony to cellular, most Africans will also one day have electrification, but only after leapfrogging the fossil fuel variety. Africans can achieve more of the benefits of the global Green economy, and get there sooner, if they were to be the pioneers or at least the early-adopters of the new eco-friendly technologies, rather than the mere recipients or late-adopters. To help pioneer these technologies, African leaders will have to strategically engage in a form of “brain circulation” so that their nationals can first study and work in leading green related fields and businesses. As they build up human and economic capital in these technological areas, they would then be in position to invest some of that capital back into their African homelands. This migration-development model, which has worked so well for some Asian nations and others, depends on governments opening up space economically, politically, and culturally for others to contribute. My papers further explores of the dynamic intricacies of this model so that Africans can become major contributors to a global green economy.




Africa Conference 2009: Science, Technology and Environment

Convened by Dr. Toyin Falola and Coordinated by Emily Brownell for the Center for African and African American Studies

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