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Technological Sovereignty: Can Africa Wean Itself From Western Dependence?

Technological Sovereignty: Can Africa Wean Itself From Western Dependence?
Western technologies have become the backbone of every economic sector in any country in Africa. This overdependence begs for a critical self-assessment by African governments to address this widespread problem and prioritize fostering homegrown inventions and innovations to attain technological sovereignty.
A thorough observation of Africa's technological ecosystem reveals imprints of colonialists' premeditated design to "de-skill" Africans and deprive them of the opportunity to advance their inventive prowess in several spheres, which had previously been hallmarks of a people with advanced civilization, argues Artwell Nhemachena, a professor of Social Anthropology at the University of Namibia, Windhoek, Namibia, and a Research Fellow at the University of South Africa, in an interview with Sputnik Africa.

"Unfortunately, due to colonial history, African inventions and innovations have actually been stymied by colonialism. Prior to colonialism, of course, we had African technological inventions. We had textile industries prior to colonization in Africa. Think about West African countries, including Nigeria, Ghana, Angola, and many others, even Zimbabwe," Professor Nhemachena says.

Nhemachena emphasizes the need for African universities to introduce updated curricula that would correctly reflect the history of the continent's indigenous technology and innovation.

"It is important to teach African students the history of innovations and inventions in Africa, including pre-colonial Africa. Because the problem that we're sitting with now is one of Afro-pessimism," Nhemachena notes.

He suggests that Africa should leverage international, mutually beneficial partnerships with other countries to transition from dependence to technological self-sufficiency.

"Think about Russia, for example. If Africans could learn from Russia, from China on questions of technological sovereignty, including developing cyber sovereignty, for example, they could learn from Russia with its RuNet [Russian segment of the Internet]. So Africans could partner with Russia, could partner with China, like African universities, for example, African research institutions, could partner with Russia," the academic stresses.

To find out what else our guest had to say, tune in to the African Currents podcast, brought to you by Sputnik Africa.
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