Dr. Shittu Raimi AKINOLA (Development Planner & Environmentalist)
Department of Architecture Covenant University, 10 Idiroko Road, Canaan Land, Ota, Ogun State, Nigeria. e-mail:firstname.lastname@example.org;
Whereas, knowledge and its application are acknowledged as key sources of growth and development in the global economy, especially if it is adapted to specific circumstances and effectively utilized to generate significant opportunities for reducing poverty and promoting sustainable development, structures for knowledge sharing and utilization in Africa are non-existent. The institutional mechanism and technical know-how of how to take theories to the streets in Africa have not been adequately explored and developed, hence, the persistent gap between theories and realities in the continent. This paper identifies some of the reasons for the failure to transform rhetoric by African governments, multinationals, international financial institutions and NGOs into reality in the continent. The paper found that foreign development paradigms, state-centered efforts and market economy have not yielded expected dividends in Africa simply because knowledge generated by Africans have not been properly harnessed towards African socioeconomic, political and technological challenges. This paper raises seven questions:
- What lessons have African scholars in diverse disciplines learnt from indigenous and endogenous knowledge and creativities in Africa?
- What robustness, limitation and weakness are associated with these knowledge?
- How can African scholars harvest development potentials that exist in these knowledge?
- What invention(s) or new idea(s) have the African scholars crafted in the course of their intellectual endeavor?
- What has he/she done with the invention(s) or new idea(s)?
- What are the impacts of the invention(s) or new idea(s) on the lives of the peoples of Africa?
- How can African knowledge be networked and shared among prospective end-users in the continent?
Using the Institutional Analysis and Development (IAD) framework, this paper analyses factors that have kept African knowledge in the ebb of development and also charts a course of action that could be taken to ensure that African higher institutions become “organic” in their activities and use their intellectual capabilities to impact positively on their communities. This paper argues that unless deliberate actions are taken to take theories to the streets and apply the knowledge to real life situations in the continent, it may be difficult for the continent to compete and find relevance in the global economy. It is in the light of this exigency that this paper attempts at applying three African development models capable of harnessing, networking and sharing African knowledge for application in a polycentric system. The models are:
- African Intellectual Gap Measurement Model (AIGMM);
- African Development Brain-Box (ADBB); and
- African Development Institutional Mechanism (ADIM).
The formation of diverse networks for knowledge sharing for development is central to the process of repositioning Africa in the global economy.