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Experiences and approaches in the third world

Since independence, and for some, well before that, the developing countries have been experimenting with a wide variety of approaches to STP and have accumulated a diverse base of experience in this respect. In this section I attempt to review some of these experiences, though obviously not exhaustively.

Latin America

The Latin American contribution to STP for development has always been significant. Perhaps having had a longer history of independence allowed for the growth of a more broadly based and deep rooted intellectual and political appreciation for the role that science and technology can and should play in society. Also, the support of the Organization of American States (OAS) in the 1960s to encourage science and technology policy research had a positive impact on the development of these capabilities. After the OAS programme declined, support was provided by the IDRC of Canada, which was somewhat unusual in the development assistance community in having a strong emphasis on the development of local capabilities for research in developing countries. (The Swedish Agency for Research Cooperation with Developing Countries [SAREC] has also been notable for its innovative approach to development assistance, though it has tended to be more active in Africa.) In any event, the influence of Latin American thinking on STP developments around the world, and in particular in the initiatives undertaken by the United Nations, has been significant and positive. Significant policy-level research has also come out of Asia, particularly India and Pakistan, the Arab States, and some parts of Africa.

The evolution of STP research in Latin America reflects how thinking on this subject changed during the post-war period.

Sagasti [31] identifies four overlapping phases:

(a) the Science push" phase, lasting throughout the 1950s and early 1960s; (b) the "transfer of technology and systems analysis" phase that began in the late 1960s and flourished through the 1970s: (c) the innovation and technology policy implementation" phase that began in the mid-1970s and extended through the early 1980s; and (d) a phase of "politicalization of science and technology policy", which was ushered in by the 1981-1982 economic crisis and also led to concerns about industrial restructuring and the impact of new technologies on the region.

During the "science push" phase, where the influence of Bernal's The Social Function of Science was evident, the main emphasis was on the establishment of a scientific and technological infrastructure consisting of laboratories, research institutes, universities, and science and technology councils. Governments responded to appeals from the scientific communities and suggestions from international organizations such as Unesco and agreed to large expenditures for these purposes. Hence, today there is a heritage in many developing countries, not only in Latin America, of large, often unwieldy, science and technology apparatuses that are for the most part state-supported. In some instances, as in India, this system has become bureaucratized to the point where its value to the nation is highly questionable [19]. During this period, the prevailing view was that science was primary and fundamental to development. The commercialization of science was not seen as a problem and the focus was on ensuring autonomy for scientists so as to encourage the production of new knowledge that in turn could be used for socially productive purposes. It was during this period that a number of countries in Latin America and elsewhere established National Research Councils (in Latin America referred to as ONCYTs).

The second phase, that of "transfer of technology," sought to address the impact of technology flows into Latin America on the balance of payments of these countries. Technology inflows were seen as having a negative effect on their foreign exchange holdings, and the need to control or restrict these flows began to be felt. National regulatory agencies to monitor technology transfers from outside were set up as a result. In the long run, and in retrospect, these mechanisms may have had a deleterious effect on the acquisition of technological capabilities in many countries. By making access to technology a much more cumbersome, expensive, and difficult process, the path of technological development was constrained in important ways, some of which were positive, and some negative. On the positive side, there was greater pressure to undertake indigenous innovation, but this could only be done in certain areas of technology. On the negative side, access became difficult to important new areas of technology, leading to "gaps" in the technological profiles of these countries and the emergence of uncompetitive industries.

During this period, the "systems approach" to science and technology also became popular and expanded the concept of science and technology beyond the limits of R&D alone. National councils of science and technology became popular, and there was increased debate about the distinction between science policy and technology policy. The political balance began to shift in favour of the technologists and economists of technology and away from the scientists.

The third phase emerged in the late 1970s and focused attention on innovation and the development of innovative capabilities through appropriate technology policies. A much more explicit focus on the enterprise level was to be seen during this phase, with much research being conducted on the best mechanisms to generate local technological and innovation capacities. During this period, more concern began to be expressed about the linkages between environment, energy, universities, and industry, and technical cooperation between developing countries.

This wave of research was based more soundly on empirical research and was often more micro in its focus. The problems addressed dealt with the causes and consequences of technological change in developing countries and the reasons for the continued inability of these countries to develop their technological capabilities properly.

In this period, the work coming out of Latin America was significant. The 1980s began to see a decline in government support for science and technology, in large part because of the declining economic situation of these countries. The colossal debt burden and the political and economic crises facing these nations led to drastic cuts in government expenditures for science and technology, and increased debate at the political level about the proper role of science and technology in national development. In some cases, the trend was reversed after a few years, as in Brazil, with the establishment of the Ministry of Science and Technology in 1985 [1]. At the same time, research on technical change at the enterprise level continued to grow, with a broadening empirical base. The IDRC/UNDP/ECLAC research project based in Buenos Aires under the coordination of Jorge Katz began to bring new insights into the nature and dynamics of technical change at the firm level, based on detailed case studies and empirical research. Also, there began to appear a convergence between this research and research being undertaken in the industrialized countries on the economics of technical change [18]. Primarily this was to be found not within the neoclassical economics tradition, but in the "neo-Schumpeterian" approaches to the analysis of technical change, which present an alternative, albeit more "muddy," view of how technical change occurs and how it affects society. The work of Dosi [6], Nelson and Winter [26], Freeman [12], Katz [18], and Perez [27] is significant in this regard.

Also during this period a strong shift in terms of economic philosophy was seen at the macro level. The view of the private sector, hitherto seen largely as a passive and homogeneous entity that simply responded to policy directions, was replaced by one that emphasized its entrepreneurial potential and its importance as a driving force for industrialization. "Export orientation" became fashionable, as did structural adjustment programmes (under the tutelage and with the support of the World Bank). The goal of STP was one of developing technological capabilities aimed at improving the export potential of local industry, and questions of competitive advantage, productivity, and growth emerged to the forefront. The experiences with structural adjustment programmes were, and continue to be, mixed, since the built-up inertia of years of import substitution and protectionism has been hard to overcome. But at the same time the success of the four East Asian "tigers" (South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Singapore) prompted people to begin to enquire into how the STPs of these countries contribute to their economic success and what lessons could be learned for other countries.


At the time of independence, most African nations demonstrated a remarkable measure of enthusiasm about science and technology. Many established national STP bodies and R&D institutions. An African scientific journal was established and important political figures such as NKrumah, Nasser, and Kenyatta espoused modern science and technology as essential to the development of their new nation-states.

It was during the 1970s that many African nations established national policy mechanisms for science and technology. Algeria, Ghana, Mali, Niger, and Egypt had all set up national research councils by the end of the 1970s. Côte d'Ivoire had a Ministry of Scientific Research in 1970; Senegal had a Délégation Générale pour la Recherche Scientifique et Technologique (DGRST) by 1974. Later these were transformed into ministries for higher education and scientific research (MESRES), for instance in Senegal, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, and Benin. Nigeria established the Federal Ministry for Science and Technology in 1979, Tanzania set up the Tanzania Commission for Science and Technology in 1986, and Zimbabwe set up a National Science Council in 1986. Ethiopia's Science and Technology Commission was established in 1975; Somalia had an Academy of Sciences and Arts in 1979; Morocco established the National Centre for Co-ordinating and Planning Scientific and Technological Research in 1976; and Sudan set up its National Research Council in 1970.

The first CASTAFRICA (Conference of African Ministers Responsible for the Application of Science and Technology to Development) conference, organized under the auspices of Unesco, was held in 1974. At that time only a few African countries had explicit policies. By the time of the second conference, held at Arusha in 1987, 18 African nations had STP bodies at the ministerial level. However, this increase in numbers did not necessarily imply efficiency.

Indeed, the story of science and technology in Africa is somewhat unfortunate. Though there have been a variety of initiatives and experiments in STP, very few have borne fruit. Many countries built up science policy bodies without any scientific tradition or even infrastructure. The result was the growth of useless and irrelevant bureaucracy. Partly, the problem may have to do with the overall weakness of African states and the multitude of economic problems they face. Also in part, at least for sub-Saharan Africa, these states began with a weak science and technology infrastructure at the outset - Africa's contribution to world science is the smallest in comparison to the other developing regions.

But primarily two factors seem to have affected STP in Africa most seriously: the lack of a real commitment at the national and regional levels to the development of science and technology, and the significant dependence of the economies on raw materials and commodity exports within a global system that allowed little flexibility in terms of developing domestic industrial capabilities that would enable a larger share of the value-added pie to be captured by these nations. Whether this is a conspiracy, an accident of history, or the dispassionate logic of the global market-place, Africa has not come out very well in terms of harnessing science and technology for its development.

There have been exceptions, such as the International Centre for Insect Physiology and Epidemiology (ICIPE) in Nairobi, for a short while the Kumasi Science and Technology University, WARDA (the West Africa Rice Development Agency), and ILRAD (the Institute for Livestock Research and Development) under the umbrella of the Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), and to some extent the African Regional Centre for Technology in Dakar. But these are international centres with heavy international support and should be seen as the exception.

Africa has also produced many important scientists - Edward Ayensu, Aklilu Lemma, Thomas Odhiambo, etc., who have made their mark internationally. But the general trend has been gloomy.

For example, if one examines Unesco's data for Africa for the period 1974-1978, Africa's share of global R&D personnel rose from 0.4 per cent to 0.7 per cent, but the level of expenditures stayed at 0.4 per cent. On a per capita basis, the average R&D expenditure in Africa is below US$2.00 and below 1 per cent of GNP in nearly all countries.

The Unesco data also offer some perspective on the availability of science and technology personnel. Most countries in the region possess about a third of the corresponding numbers in Asia and about 3 per cent of the level in Europe, though countries such as Nigeria, Egypt, Libya, and Zambia have substantially larger manpower resources than the average. The shortage of science and technology personnel can be attributed to a number of factors - the lack of higher educational systems and research facilities, the emphasis in the past on the liberal arts and the humanities over the more applied fields of engineering, and the "brain drain." And one cannot minimize the impact of political regimes that lead intellectuals and scientists to leave.

Most African nations are, however, taking the shortage of trained personnel seriously: the average governmental expenditure on education in Africa is 15.6 per cent of total governmental functional expenditure, with some countries spending as much as 20 per cent (Botswana, Guinea-Bissau) and even 35 per cent (Côte d'Ivoire).

In recent times, there has been a growing interest in the science and technology problems of the least developed countries (as defined by the United Nations). These countries happen to be mostly in sub-Saharan Africa. For them, the options available with respect to science and technology capability development are much narrower, given their levels of poverty, shortage of financial and science and technology resources, weak infrastructure, etc. In such countries, the question must be raised as to whether science and technology, and particularly science, is not a luxury that they can ill afford. The priority may well be to find the most effective ways to use available science and technology resources from whatever sources, rather than focus on an unrealistic goal to develop local capabilities.

The Arab world

For centuries the Arab world was one of the revered centres of science and learning. In modern times, however, it has lagged far behind the industrial nations, particularly in science and technology. Although there is considerable variety in levels of development, some countries in the region remain technologically dependent on more advanced nations, with a trade structure based on importing technology and exporting primary products. Even technology produced within the Arab world is frequently the result of a design transfer, often with foreign participation in or supervision of the process. Nevertheless, attempts are being made to improve both science and technology research and planning in the region [35, 5]. Institutions engaged in such efforts include the Supreme Council of Sciences (Syria), the Royal Scientific Society (Jordan), the Foundation for Scientific Research (Iraq), and the Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research, among others.

In order to expedite these efforts by individual countries, a cooperative approach seeking to integrate the scientific endeavours and policies of the entire region was undertaken, beginning in earnest in the early to mid-1970s. First, in 1970, the Arab League Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization (ALESCO) was founded. It arranged a conference for Arab ministers of science in Baghdad in February 1974, which was the first time an intergovernmental meeting at the ministerial level had taken place. Although the conference adopted no plan of action, it did produce several noteworthy recommendations. Significant among them were suggestions for closer links among scientific and socio-economic bodies, preparation of science policy by high political authorities, Arab scientific cooperation, and a request for ALESCO to study the feasibility of establishing an Arab foundation for scientific research and an Arab fund for the promotion of such research [7, pp. 149-150]. This last request was taken up by the Economic Council of the Arab League at the summit meeting in Rabat in October 1974, and the results of the study were presented at the Conference of Arab Ministers Responsible for the Application of Science and Technology to Development (CASTARAB) in Rabat in August 1976.

This first CASTARAB meeting, organized by Unesco with the aid of ALESCO, did not produce markedly different recommendations on science and technology policy from the Baghdad meeting, but it went considerably further with regard to regional cooperation, detailing specific plans in certain fields and integrating Arab science efforts in general. On hearing the results of the feasibility study, delegates decided to drop plans for an Arab science foundation and concentrate instead on creating a fund for scientific and technical research [7, pp. 152-154].

However, the plans for setting up this fund were also dropped, not because of a lack of funds, but rather owing to a lack of political will. Furthermore, although preparations were made for CASTARAB 11 through a series of meetings in the 1980s, the conference never took place for similar reasons. In the meantime, several other meetings with experts in the field have been held, arranged primarily by Unesco in conjunction with other agencies, yet none of these has been at the ministerial level [34, p. 10].

In 1979, the Vienna Science and Technology Conference called upon countries to formulate national science and technology policies. Ten years later, not one of the Arab countries had done so. Among nations in the ESCWA region (Economic and Social Council for West Asia), only Egypt and Iraq have formulated concrete science and technology strategies that consist of five-year research plans. Most other countries in the region do not have national research plans or government bodies for science and technology, and they therefore lack comprehensive plans and policies in this field [5, p. 17].


In Asia there has been a very wide array of experiences, ranging from those of the new industrialized countries (Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Singapore) to those of the two "giants," India and China, to the poor countries of Laos, Burma, and Cambodia. With some significant variations, the new industrialized countries mostly followed a model of STP based on a significant role of the state and a major emphasis on the development of local capabilities. Their success is also partly due to the heavy export orientation of their economies, their size (especially for Singapore and Hong Kong), and the opportunities they were able to exploit as a result of development in the North. Whether these models can be easily replicated in other developing countries is highly questionable. Moreover, particularly in the cases of Korea and Taiwan, industrialization was accomplished at a massive environmental cost, and it is hard to contemplate a similar process being pursued today.

India followed a strong state interventionist model as well, but with a heavier emphasis on import substitution and the protection of domestic markets and industries. Also, it managed to develop one of the most bureaucratic and stifling science and technology systems in the world, from which it is still trying to free itself. Though India has one of the largest pools of science and technology resources in the third world, the contribution of science and technology to economic development has been far from satisfactory. But one must recognize the contribution to the defence infrastructure and establishment.

In a general sense, the Asian experience with science and technology has been more practical than theoretical - little has come out in terms of dramatic, new conceptual developments with regard to the role of science and technology in development. The contributions have been more specific the success of the new industrialized countries, the progress made by India and China in specific areas of technology, the tremendous human resource pool that is available, the quality of science and technology education available, and the quality of the statistics available on science and technology in the region. On the other hand, science and technology is still largely seen as an élite activity primarily concerned with the generation of wealth. What becomes of significant interest, therefore, is the emergence of an incredibly dynamic and creative movement concerned with "alternative" models of science and technology.

This historical experience with STP in developing countries is important not only for itself, but also in terms of providing a deeper understanding of the issues that confront STP in today's world, which are discussed later.

The United Nations system

A discussion of STP for development would be incomplete without some description of the important and changing role of the UN system in this field.

The UN system's involvement in STP-related matters dates back to the 1963 Geneva "Conference on the Application of Science and Technology for the Benefit of Less Developed Areas," where science and technology was conceived of as a large pool of accumulated knowledge from which the developing countries could pick and choose in order to solve their development problems. The conference participants were mainly scientists and engineers and the purpose was to draw attention, especially among policy makers, to the advances that were taking place in various fields of science and technology and their relevance to the problems faced by developing countries in such sectors as agriculture, health, and transportation. Little attention was paid to non-technical matters, such as problems of acquisition and transfer, social impacts, policy issues, etc. In a sense, the entire approach at the conference was somewhat naïve in its belief that technology was a "public good" that could simply be acquired at will, given the resources. This is in sharp contrast to the prevailing viewpoints of today, where the possession of technological knowledge and its "appropriability" for private returns are of major concern to individual firms as well as matters of contention in international discussions about intellectual property rights (IPR), for example within the GATT round of talks.

Sixteen years later, a major conference was held in Vienna, the United Nations Conference on Science and Technology for Development (UNCSTD) of 1979. Here, the thinking was quite different, using what was then referred to as the "horizontal" approach to STP, meaning one that did not subscribe to sectoral categorizations but viewed science and technology "horizontally" cutting across sectors. Priority was given to the development of "endogenous capabilities" in science and technology in developing countries, a term that even today is subject to various interpretations. The conference was preceded by nearly five years of preparations, and the influence of the Latin American perspective on STP was clearly evident. Almost all countries prepared country papers summarizing the status of science and technology for the conference according to an agreed format and this in itself was a major achievement. The conference was essentially an intergovernmental event, and much attention was given to the differing needs of different types of countries and to international cooperation in science and technology. The conference ended with the adoption of the Vienna Programme of Action (VPA) on Science and Technology for Development, which became the basis for ensuing UN activities in this area and served as a frame of reference for developing countries in their individual STP efforts. A Centre for Science and Technology for Development was established at the United Nations secretariat in New York, and several other agencies created special units or divisions to deal with science and technology matters - including Unesco, UNDP, UNIDO, ILO, and the regional commissions.

Ten years later, the UNCSTD conducted the End of Decade Review to assess what had been accomplished since the VPA was adopted [33]. The VPA was essentially a broad set of guidelines regarding policy and the structural and institutional dimensions of science and technology and did not really get into specific individual situations, a deficiency that perhaps explains why one of the conclusions of the end of decade review was the substantial lack of implementation of the VPA recommendations. The review had little, however, to say about how developing countries could proceed to be more productive and effective in their STP efforts, focusing instead on newly emergent issues of concern to development. Nevertheless, it is an important document for the emphasis it gives to endogenous capability development, the impacts of new technologies, the key role of cooperation, and the changing character of the development problématique. However, as is the case with most UN reports and initiatives, it is basically a consensus document that operates at the governmental level. As such, it fails to deal in any substantial fashion with science and technology at the level of the firm or enterprise, which is basically where real processes of technical change occur and are experienced.

Nevertheless, the United Nations plays an important worldwide role in STP. Most of the arms of the United Nations are involved in specific science and technology activities. Unesco continues to be the main source of statistics on science and technology in the developing countries, though their quality may be questioned. The ILO's Technology and Employment Branch has produced an enormous number of studies and reports on a variety of topics related to science and technology and has played an important role in the appropriate technology debate. The sectoral agencies, such as FAO and UNIDO, also have strong science and technology programmes. The Centre for Science and Technology for Development continues to be an important focusing point within the United Nations for science and technology activities, and its Advisory Committee consists of leading STP experts from around the world. The World Bank, however, has played a weak role in this area. Partly due to the disciplinary bias of economics against recognizing science and technology as an important economic factor, the Bank has done relatively little in furthering our understanding of the role of science and technology in development. In recent times, the efforts of the Industry and Energy Department, however, have been more directly focused on the issues.

The knowledge base for STP

As STP has evolved, it has involved a growing number of disciplines and is today seen largely as an interdisciplinary area. But this does not imply that there is a consensus as to the base of knowledge that is now needed for STP. In particular, there is a dichotomy between the manner in which economics approaches STP and the perspective taken by the other social sciences. Many of the UN analyses, for instance, do not directly address the economic aspects of STP. This is a serious issue - what types of skill sets are required for effective STP? Rosenberg [29] addresses this issue head on:

Although research in the realms of science and technology is obviously a highly specialized activity best left to the appropriately trained professionals, science and technology policy is an entirely different matter. Insofar as interest in these subjects is due to their economic consequences, the formulation of science and technology policy is inseparable from the formulation of economic policy.

Some clarification and elaboration are in order. Putting the point negatively' it is not possible to isolate science and technology policies from economic policy making without seriously diminishing their effectiveness. In fact, it is difficult even to identify a very specific set of science-and technology oriented programmer and label them as "Science and Technology Policy". The reason is that there are a great number of factors that affect the commitment of resources to science and technology and that determine the "output" that society is likely to derive from such use of resources. Science and technology are economic activities, and they represent ways of pursuing a wide range of economic goals and objectives. They are not activities that run along some parallel track to, let us say, the Departments of Energy, Transportation, Defense or Agriculture. Nor can they be readily isolated in a Department of Science or a Department of Technology. [pp. 135-136]

The issue is in fact more complicated. STP has, as discussed earlier, become the subject of interest for a number of different disciplines. It has in the past been a domain where scientists and technologists dominated as well. Today, the range of "intellectual stakeholders" in STP is vast, and this is precisely because the subject itself is so complex and multifarious. But Rosenberg's argument is an important one, precisely because the economic dimension has tended to be excluded from STP, particularly in UN circles and in the STP efforts of many developing countries. It is only recently that one finds the World Bank conducting research on technology policy with a strong economic perspective.

On the other hand, it can also be argued that the discipline of economics has not been able to address effectively many of the problems associated with science and technology in development in any meaningful sense. In most cases, technical change has been treated as a "black box" that is beyond the elegant analysis of, say, neoclassical economics. Similarly, practical matters of implementation and management are not dealt with. The tendency has been to tackle the problem at the macro level, assuming away the heterogeneity of firms and the particularities of the entire technical process, and certainly giving no recognition to either the idiosyncrasies of technical change broadly defined nor to the specificities of technical change processes in a developing country context, where many of the assumptions that are valid in an industrialized setting simply cannot be sustained. It is only among the recent and still evolving neo-Schumpeterian school of economists studying technical change that one finds a more realistic appreciation of the peculiarities of technical change and thence its relevance, both analytically and practically, for developing countries.

Therefore, though the UN style of approach to STP and similar perspectives may admittedly be deficient in their lack of attention to economic detail and the analytical rigour that economics encourages, they are still valuable for their better sense of the complex and interdisciplinary character of the STP issue. The neo-Schumpeterian approach, by providing the rigour of the discipline but also admitting the "muddiness" of the problem, therefore offers a hope for a new and more relevant approach to STP analysis, one that is needed in the changing times that we are experiencing.

Conclusion: Key contemporary issues for STP

In effect, the issues facing STP research and analysis today consist of three elements.

The first relates to the disciplinary content of STP, with a fairly strong argument for an emphasis on economic analysis, albeit with the proviso that economics itself lacks some of the tools needed to render a realistic perspective on the complexity of issues contained in STP. The second relates to the need for a stronger integration between the imperatives of STP and those of industrialization in developing countries. While STP has many goals, and the argument of "science for science's sake" is still tenable, the core rationale for STP is, for developing countries, the harnessing of the potential of science and technology for an equitable and efficient process of industrialization broadly defined (and not confined solely to Western models of industrialization). Finally, there is the issue of levels of analysis of STP. Most effort has been concentrated at the broad macro level, but relatively little has been done in terms of understanding firm-level processes of technical change (but see refs. 18, 14, 17, 20, 21).

The challenge for STP is to try to balance the macro and micro perspectives. This is relevant as well for the industrialized countries but it is clear that failures and oversights will not matter for them as much as for developing countries. Moreover, the market sector is much stronger and more dynamic in industrialized countries. For all these reasons it is all the more essential for developing countries to design analytical tools that allow for the development of realistic and rigorously formulated policies.

For STP today, the major issues centre around concerns over the use of technology to achieve competitive advantage, access to technology, new forms of government intervention to promote technological development at the firm level and greater participation in world markets, and all of this within the new principles of an emerging techno-economic paradigm.

Ernst and O'Connor [9], based on extensive research on the new industrialized countries and the "latecomer" countries, suggest several policy issues for consideration in the coming decade:

  1. Access to technology and acquisition strategies, including the need to diversify technology sources, assess the value of different sourcing strategies, leverage complementary assets, and counter efforts to restrict access to new technologies.
  2. Technology diffusion and generation, including creating effective demand through government procurement, providing information and generating skills for effective use of new technologies, supporting financial and technical needs of small and medium-scale firms, creating a more conducive macroeconomic environment, upgrading product design and development capabilities, and speeding up the process of automation.
  3. Industrial transformation, including developing policies for "sunset" industries (in sharp contrast to the protection of noncompetitive firms practiced by many developing countries - the "safeguard" measures, for example), and managing the trade-off between specialization and diversification and between vertical integration and flexible supplier networks.
  4. Restructuring of trade and investment relations, including avoiding "premature liberalization," export market diversification, playing the "reciprocal market" game promoting regional integration and cooperation, and reassessing policies regarding foreign direct investment (e.g. developing "backward linkages" programmes).
  5. The role of the state, where the rationale for state intervention needs to be reassessed and its proper role examined for the development of indigenous technology and absorption capabilities and human technical resources.

Most of these countries had, as a result of the battle for independence and the Marxist influence afterwards, state-oriented, planned, and subsidized economies. Now they are condemned, like the ex-communist countries in Europe, to the "transition to the market." This does not imply the end of state intervention, especially in scientific, technological, and industrial matters. It does imply at least a clearer delineation between the sectors where state intervention can be useful and those that have to be left to market forces.

From within the field of STP itself, there is a need to take stock of the situation in STP in developing countries - what resources are available, what is the knowledge base, what programmes, organizations, and institutions exist, etc. Further, more research at the theoretical and conceptual levels is required with regard, for example, to the disciplinary content of STP, the linkages between science and technology and economic development, the relationships between STP and other policies, etc. Finally, a serious effort needs to be made to improve the teaching and training of STP and related subjects in developing countries [31].

STP has changed considerably during the past four to five decades. Its importance to developing countries has, if anything, increased, simply because technology has become more important to economic activity. Yet the field is still young and needs to be further developed. This is a challenge that needs to be addressed in the 1990s if there is to be a quantum leap in the contribution of science and technology to the development process.

The concerns that will face the developing world as it enters the twenty-first century are complex. Finding the proper role that science and technology can play in resolving these problems is the challenge that faces science and technology policy analysts and decision makers in both the industrialized and developing countries.

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