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Vol. 32 No. 3
May-June 2010

Bookworm | Books and publications hot off the press.
See also www.iupac.org/publications

Science, Technology, and Innovation for Socioeconomic Development
Edited by Sospeter M. Muhongo, Francis P. Gudyanga, Achuo A. Enow, Daniel Nyanganyura
ICSU Regional Office for Africa, 2009
ISBN 978 0 620 45741 5


As part of its outreach activities, the International Council for Science Regional Office for Africa (ICSU ROA) has published a book that showcases the achievements of science and technology in Africa. Science, Technology, and Innovation for Socioeconomic Development highlights the continent’s contribution to the development of science and technology in the world.

Africa has a rich history of indigenous knowledge systems that are still unknown to the outside world. It is also true that research activities in Africa have yielded results that remain largely unpublished in international journals. A good example is in medicine where, for centuries, scientific techniques have been deployed for culturally specific and psychologically significant treatments involving hydro- and thermal therapy, spinal manipulation, quarantine, and bonesetting (orthopaedics).

The book gives an account of modern scientific developments that may contribute significantly to the realization of the objectives of some of the Millennium Development Goals. It brings together, under one cover, research reports from different African scientists and institutions. In addition, it describes African science and technology innovations that are helping to solve some of the chronic developmental and societal challenges facing the continent in the fields of health, the environment, and energy sustainability. The book comprises eleven chapters organized in four sections representing the disciplines covered: health, ICT and mathematics, the environment, and energy. Following is a sampling of various chapters:

  • Ameenah Gurib-Fakim (Mauritius) shows how medicinal plants provide solutions for certain chronic diseases. He advocates the formulation and implementation of biodiversity policies and laws that translate ancestral traditions into modern businesses that will make the continent healthier and keep it prosperous.
  • Charles Wambebe, Hadiza Khamofu, Joseph Okogun, Nathan Nasipuri, Karynius Gamaniel, and the late Rev. P.O. Ogunyale (Nigeria) describe the discovery of an African herbal medicine, Niprisan, which, if successful, will save the lives of many people suffering from sickle-cell anemia on the continent.
  • Bhanooduth Lalljee and Sunita Facknath (Mauritius) discuss the vulnerability of small island states to the effects of globalization and investigate the main measures (including policies) taken by the government of Mauritius to face the challenges.
  • Francis P. Gudyanga, Clement S. Shonhiwa, and Zivai Chiguvare (Zimbabwe) detail the production of biodiesel from nonedible jatropha seeds and the economic importance of this type of energy to the rural community.

This book is innovative in scope and important in its conclusions. The collection of chapters reveals science, technology, and innovation as critical tools for poverty reduction through accelerated socioeconomic development in Africa. It shows the private sector to be an important player in education, research, development, and the commercialization of Africa’s natural products, such as traditional medicine and indigenous knowledge. The book is the first in a series of planned volumes of science, technology, and innovation success stories from Africa that will be published by the ICSU Regional Office for Africa.

www.icsu-africa.org


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