I  U  P  A  C


Chemistry In Africa's Least Developed Countries
An Overview of Capacity Building and Research Support
Report prepared by C. F. Garbers (1998)

- Back to contents -


In considering initiatives in Sub-Saharan Africa, there is a tendency to generalize, despite the great differences between countries and the institutions within those countries. With regard to research in chemistry, the performance of countries varies from practically non-existent, to institutions performing quite well with donor assistance. Research showed that those countries in need of aid, were the least able to benefit from it. (ref. 26) Any strategy for the stimulation of human resource development and research in chemistry should cater for these diversities, which should preferably be addressed on a regional basis.

Due to the poor performance of the economies of many Sub-Saharan countries, the creation of job opportunities for the emerging trained individuals did not occur. Many Africans, trained in the best laboratories throughout the world, elected to pursue careers outside Africa (Brain Drain). (ref. 46) Nevertheless, Chemistry Departments in Africa have at their disposal a core of excellently trained chemists and leaders on which to build. Many academic staff members are demoralized due to the lack of housing, the scarcity and inconvenience of public transportation in the absence of private motoring, and low pay compared to cost of living. (ref. 47)

Addressing the human resource and research development issues of chemistry in isolation will improve the situation inefficiently, due to a large number of built-in interrelated uncertainties and deficiencies in the higher education system in many African countries. Concentrating on just chemistry already presents an international challenge of enormous magnitude, requiring a long-term commitment and a total investment that can only be met by a sustained international effort. The outcome of the project is largely dependent on political decisions by African governments on a continent of changing political fortunes and under-performing economies as well as on the universities to seize the initiative. It will be a challenge to be met by the universities - institutions under enormous pressure to meet access demands, requiring restoration of greater autonomy and greater financial security in order to strategically plan for and positively impact on the outcome of their countries' knowledge and technology driven future.

- Back to contents -

Home - News & Notices - Organizations & People
Standing Committees - Divisions - Projects - Reports - Publications
Symposia/ Conferences - Links - AMP
Page last modified 27 January 1999.
Copyright © 1997, 98 International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry.

Questions or comments about IUPAC
please contact the Secretariat.
Questions regarding the website
please contact Web Help.