the Technology Gap, World Bank warns
in developing countries has expanded at double the rate in the West
since the 1990s — but still hasn't bridged the gap between them.
was the conclusion of a World Bank report on technology transfer in the
developing world, released last week (9 January).
authors say rapid technological advancement in developing countries has
helped to reduce the proportion of people living in absolute poverty
from 29 per cent in 1990 to 18 per cent in 2004.
report reveals that globalisation and a highly skilled diaspora have
exposed developing countries to foreign technology.
despite the progress, the authors say that capacity to absorb new
technology is still limited.
factor is poor technical literacy — even though the number of educated
adults has increased, the quality of the education remains low. Another
is the low penetration of technologies in rural areas.
to the report, the capacity of a country to absorb new technology
depends on its overall economic status and governance. This affects
risks for entrepreneurs taking on new technologies as well as basic
technological literacy and skills in the population.
promote capacity, the report recommends being receptive to foreign
technology, government policies that ensure uniform spread of
technology, improving technological competence among the public, and
motivating public and private sectors.
Gore, an economist and special coordinator for the UN Conference on
Trade and Development, told SciDev.Net that whilst open trade, foreign
investment and links with the diaspora are important channels for
knowledge acquisition, technological progress is best seen as a
"process of technological learning and the development of
require effort and investment on the part of domestic enterprises and
the process is far from automatic. Access is not equivalent to effective
use," he added.
says the report must be used as a starting point to consider how exactly
technology plays a role in development. "We are at a moment of
paradigm shift in development thinking and knowledge, and technology
will be an important part of this."