Boom and Bust?
Two Western Tales of Technology in Africa
AbstractCurrent Western models of technological development in Africa exist at two extremes. On one end, Africa is perceived as a tech-barren land that relies heavily on Western imports for technological access. On the other end, recent narratives depict Africa as a continent of unprecedented and largely self-initiated technological growth. This paper analyzes the problems that arise when looking at Africa’s access to technology through one of these two extremes. My findings demonstrate that these two contradicting models of technology in Africa are 1) concurrently prevalent across Western media and academia and 2) sharply inadequate in their generalization of technology and the African continent. These insights call for a more complex, multidimensional model of African technological development. To work towards such a layered model of Africa, I propose a strategy to export learning models from Africa to the West. By breaking out of the traditional flow of knowledge in the opposite direction, from the West to Africa, well-rounded insights can be drawn from and about both regions. In this paper, I detail an example of implementing this strategy and analyze its potential strengths in stepping towards a more accurate narrative of Africa.
Copyright (c) 2018 Intersect: The Stanford Journal of Science, Technology, and Society
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).