Dr. Gloria Emeagwali supports the call for local technologies.
The challenge is to move on the pathway of endogenous technology as Iweriebor points out. We have to do this in spite of the draconian restrictions of the US dominated IMF, World Bank and WTO.
South Korea and Malaysia refused to adopt the kinds of IMF and World Bank conditionalities demanded after the 1997 economic crisis. Indonesia caved in. Today South Korea and Malaysia seem to be winning the game to a point but one has doubts about Indonesia.
Even so my visit to Malaysia and Singapore last week reminded me that we have to be clear about what kind of development we really want. At the hotel I stayed at and the many restaurants visited, not one single Malaysian song was played and the local museum still had a larger than life European adventurer as the main hero. Australian tourists seemed to be calling the shots. As I walked through the other side of the town, beyond the bright lights and the high rise buildings, I saw the face of poverty. This was outside Kuala Lumpur.
In Singapore I was told that the cost of living for the poor was quite high and for many, making ends meet was not easy. I did not have the opportunity to do a broad enough analysis in the wider society but clearly this was not the proverbial paradise. Everyone in the region was trying to produce cheap consumer electronics and the lower the wages the better the prospect for the survival of the entrepreneurs. Workers were paid low wages and this applied for those within and outside the sweat shops.You couldn't tell that from Singapore's magnificent airport, perhaps the world's most beautiful.
Development must be for the needs and satisfaction of the majority of the population. Clean air, clean water, health and education are human rights. In the early stages of decolonization we had laudable goals. Development from within was recognized as an option by many even if the appropriate strategies were not embarked on. We have to get back on that pathway, even if this entails de-globalization and the abandonment of privatization and neo-classical backed market policies. Iweriebor's call for the building of basic technological infrastructure should be acted on.
Dr. Gloria Emeagwali
Professor of History and African Studies
Central Connecticut State University