Technology Transfer and Third World Development

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Guest article by Jerry Omulo,

Technology transfer is crucial, critical and necessary for 3rd world development, without which it would be difficult to transfer necessary equipment, knowledge and aspects of development from one place to place. However it would be amorphous to do this in the absence of proper legal and management framework. Africa and other developing nations in particular would benefit from research that has taken billions of dollars of the developed world instead of reinventing the wheel. In technology transfer it is not only developing nations that will benefit but also Developed nations will get opportunity to license their technologies and recoup massive investment they have put in this technologies.
Technology could originate from several places and transferred again to different places e.g. from university to university, government to government or from company to company. Furthermore, technology could be transferred from individual to individual, expired patents to the public or through open source and open access. These are just some examples of the ways in which technology could be transferred.
The Third World has lagged behind in terms of development for decades. Development could mean different things to different people, however due to modernity and globalization development will almost mean the same thing globally. Holistic development therefore could address most of challenging problems i.e. socio-economic, political and environmental problems. Ignoring any of these four aspects of development can be disastrous and jeopardize the gain of the other. Any technology that take into consideration the above four aspect of holistic development can take the world to greater heights.
Since technology is conceived, developed and tested in different areas it is important to transfer most of these technologies to other areas for various reasons including but not limited to business, charity, research and development. Technology can be transferred in a number of ways i.e. through university to university, government to government company to company individual to individual, through expired patents, open source, open access etc. The most important thing is agreements, frameworks and channels for technology transfer to the Third World
When technology is transferred to new places the effect is felt positively or negatively and sometimes both. In Africa the positive effects has been seen socially where entertainment has taken new dimension, culture has changed, religion has taken new shape. Lifestyle, fashion and nutrition is a new story. In economy e-commerce, e-banking, advertisement and computers have revolutionized third world. In political sphere technology has greatly changed how politics takes place in third world, totalitarianism, tyranny and dictatorship are giving into democracy courtesy of social media, biometric voter registration, electronic tallying and extensive media coverage during voting. Environmental development has also benefited immensely on technology transfer e.g. the development of systems that consumes environmental waste e.g. plastic recycling, cloned trees that grow faster, development of crop and trees which are pest and disease resistant.
However on the other hand technology has to some degree adversely affected the Third World in a number of ways. Socially in entertainment has distorted life of people since modern entertainment is expensive, traditional cultures are being eroded at the expense of western culture; western religion is killing fast our religion. In nutrition people no longer take food with less nutritional and medicinal value but have resorted to fast-foods. Third World economy has also suffered at the hands of technology, for instance, increased ways of fraud, counterfeiting, piracy and cyber-crime.
As a final parting shot, one wonders: Is technology good or bad? My answer would be that technology is neither good nor bad it depends on how the technology in question is used.

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