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The effects upon different areas of science and technology have been widely different
The third conclusion is that the effects of the undertaking of Structural Adjustment programmes in Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda have been extremely varied over different areas of science and technology. By different areas of science and technology we mean in different fields of scientific endeavour, in different sectors of the economy, and by different actors. (There are other ways of categorizing the differences: one involving different areas or types of products, will be considered in the next section of this chapter.)
The differences arising in different fields of scientific endeavour appear in the universities. In all but one, the engineering faculty has been particularly favoured, and the scientific faculties less favoured. But differences arise even within faculties, although these differences do not seem to be systematic across countries: in one, it may be the electronic and electrical engineering departments that prosper, in another the civil engineering, in still another the mechanical engineering.
Within the scientific faculties lesser favoured, the departments of Mathematics stand out as the least favoured of all. In all four countries, Mathematics is the Cinderella of the scientific disciplines. Posts for which finance is provided are fewer in number than posts established; posts for which suitably qualified candidates apply are fewer in number than posts financed; and posts filled are as often as not occupied by graduate students, rather than professional mathematicians. The evidence to support our conclusion that engineering is generally favoured over science, and science in its physical aspects over science in its metaphysical, is derived from Faculty and Departmental budgetary data. The funds which the different academic areas receive, in proportion to the funds they need (as measured by the requests of their advocates) were obtained for the chief university in each of the four countries in our sample. Approvals as a percentage of requests provide a relatively clear measure of the deprivation of Mathematics departments, for their ratios are universally lower than the ratios of the Faculties which they serve.
It is not difficult to explain the relative preference for supporting faculties devoted to applying, rather than advancing, science; but it is difficult to explain the lack of support for one branch of science Mathematics - rather than for others - Chemistry, or Physics, or Biology. All are requisites in the education of scientists and engineers; all are part of the scientific base of a nation. If one searches for explanations, one could conceivably argue that Chemistry, or Physics, or Biology are more nearly applicable to industrial or agricultural activities; although this pragmatic argument does not carry over to the services sector of the economy, in which Mathematics is the unifying discipline. Our easy answers to the lack of support for Mathematics are that the discipline is more abstract and that mathematicians are more reserved. The other sciences deal with physical phenomena, whereas Mathematics deals with abstractions; the other scientists promote their disciplines, both in their own universities and, via their presence on advisory bodies, to foreign assistance agencies, whereas mathematicians tend to reserve their energies for the practice of their art. But whatever the answers, the pursuit of that portion of science and technology dependent upon Mathematics is suffering in those countries undergoing Structural Adjustment.
The second of the ways by which we express variability of effect of Structural Adjustment Programmes on the pursuit of science and technology is by looking at different sectors of the economy. The effect of the adoption of Structural Adjustment Programmes in our four countries seems to have resulted in an overall shift of direction: from industry and commerce, on the one hand, to agriculture and public administration, on the other.
Before discussing this strange finding we shall present what evidence we have at our disposal. The first evidence may not at first appear to be evidence at all: it is drawn from the list of conditions imposed upon the borrowers by the IMF and World Bank. For our four countries, the most nearly complete list is that governing for Ghana (see Chapter 3); for the Sub-Saharan African countries the most nearly complete list is that compiled by the World Bank and entered in the data bank covering structural adjustment programmes (World Bank, 1990). If we assign conditions to one of our four sectoral categories - agriculture, industry, services and public administration - we find that agriculture and public administration have the greater number of conditions attached to the conduct of their activities, and industry and services the lesser number. What significance do we attach to these proportions? (Notice that it is not the content of the conditions themselves that concerns us, only the sector of the economy on which they bear.) The significance we attach stems from the likely effects, so far as advancing science and technology are concerned, of directing attention to an activity. The thesis is that the more attention an activity gets, be it from government, from foreign bodies, from local businessmen, from the press and other media, etc., the more likely is that activity to be performed more efficiently. As an example, if local civil servants and foreign advisors direct their attention towards the formulation of the government's annual budget, this activity will be assumed to be carried out more skilfully than in the past. It is a short step from there to the thesis that directing attention to the budgeting process has generated an advance in the science of public administration. In summary, directing attention towards any activity is likely to yield improvements in that activity's performance. Attention provides information; attention stimulates the use of that information so as to obtain improvement; improvement is the consequence of advances in science and technology. Therefore if more attention is directed towards one sector of an economy, we would expect that sector's state of the art to progress; i.e. we would expect that the science and technology applicable to that sector would be likely to advance more rapidly. If less attention were directed towards another sector, we would expect its science and technology to advance less rapidly. More attention, more progress: less attention, less progress.
If this thesis is valid, our information indicates that science and technology in the four countries of our sample are advancing more rapidly in the sectors of agriculture and public administration, and less rapidly in the sectors of industry and the remaining services, as a consequence of the acceptance of the conditions underlying the structural adjustment programmes.
Is there any corroborating evidence for our conclusion that science and technology in different areas of activity have fared quite differently? Some there is from budgetary data on the generation of the national product in the various sectors of the economy (Table 8.1) and on the expenditures of the public research institutes (Table 8.2). Table 8.2 is constructed by grouping public research institutes according to the sector to which their accomplishments chiefly relate. Thus the agricultural research institutes are assigned to the agricultural sector, and the industrial to the industrial sector. There are very few public research institutes specifically devoted to advancing science and technology in the other two sectors - services and public administration- so those sectors have few entries. The research institutes whose assignment is questionable are those devoted to intermediate or appropriate technology, of which we studied one each in Tanzania, Ghana and Uganda, and two in Kenya, and those devoted to the creation and promulgation of standards of measurement, of which we studied one in Ghana. Since most of the technologies investigated in the appropriate technology institutes are applied to the manufacture of products utilized in both the agricultural and industrial sectors - e.g. transport vehicles, stoves, hand tools - the nature of the product does not offer any criterion for categorizing activities. What we have done is to assign the intermediate technology standards organizations to that sector from which they draw their income. Thus the Appropriate Technology Group in Uganda, which receives its funds from the Ministry of Agriculture, is assigned to the agricultural sector; the Technology Consultancy Centre in Ghana, which derives its income from consultancies, is assigned to the services sector; the Centre for Agricultural and Mechanical Technology (CAMARTEC) in Tanzania to the Agricultural Ministry. The Scientific Instrumentation Centre in Ghana and the Appropriate Technology Group at Kenyatta University in Kenya are assigned to the sector of public administration.
The shares of GDP, by sector, and of expenditures by R&D institutes, again by sector, are compared in Table 10.5.
Would that there were consistency in the comparison between the two sets of figures in Table 10.5, but there is not. As it is, the figures suggest that the agricultural sector is universally and consistently well-favoured, and that services are not. In three of our four countries, the industrial sector receives a smaller share of the total funds devoted to furthering science and technology, than of value added in the sector; the exception is Tanzania, where the share of industrial R&D in total R&D has always exceeded the share of value-added. In Uganda, an explanation is immediately at hand for the different outcome since the establishment of a Structural Adjustment Programme; there was no R&D institute devoted to industry in Uganda until 1991, and so the mere establishment of one, with its initial injection of funds, results in a sudden increase in R&D's share.
The Tanzanian case aside, the other countries display a similar pattern; the direction of advance in science and technology appears to be mainly towards agriculture. Industry and services receive less. There do appear to be substantial differences in the extent to which R&D in the different sectors is treated.
Table 10.5 Comparison of shares of GDP and of expenditures by R&D institutes among agriculture, industry and services for Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda 1980-1992
|Average since structural adjustment||49||91||30||75||62||62||57||88-||13||3||20||6||7||38||10||4||39||7||50||22||33||0+||33||7+|
Tables 8.1 and 8.2
Structural adjustment begins in Ghana 1983, in Kenya 1987, in Tanzania 1986 and in Uganda 1988
The third and final way by which we can express the variations that have arisen in the favour which different areas of science and technology receive is via different treatment of different actors. What we observed is that certain groups of individuals engaged in advancing science and technology in Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda have been relatively favoured within the regime of Structural Adjustment and others have not. The differences appear to reflect status: both the status of the organization that provides their employment, and the status that is derived from their own educational attainments. Taking the latter first, those individuals favoured appear to be generally well-educated persons occupying positions at high levels, engaged in intellectual endeavour, either academic, scientific or administrative. The unfavoured appear to be the less well-educated, occupying mundane positions at lower levels, and engaged in practical endeavour. The first group includes scientists in R&D organizations, academics and public administrators; the second engineers and technicians in productive firms (both para-statals and privately owned firms in industry and services), farmers, school teachers, and low-level civil servants, For this statement we cannot provide any statistical evidence, since our quantitative data do not cover the sorts of establishments within which the second groups work. Perhaps we, too, are guilty of holding the same presumptions, namely, that science and technology are advanced by extraordinary individuals placed in elevated positions, and not by ordinary individuals carrying out ordinary activities. In defence of our lack of empirical evidence, we could argue that ordinary persons are more difficult to study, particularly if their contributions to scientific and technological advance are only a minor part of their role, or an occasional output of their activity. Even in modern firms in developed countries the contribution in advancing science and technology of nonscientists is little studied and seldom understood; it should come as no surprise that the same deficiency holds in developing countries too.
Considering organizations advancing science and technology, their status is crucial under regimes of Structural Adjustment. Research institutes within the public sector and universities are generally immune to 'reform' (agricultural research in Tanzania is an exception to this generalization), but the developmental activities of the para-statal organizations are extremely vulnerable, since the para-statal firms are targeted for privatization. Whether the activities take place within R&D laboratories or productive entities like factories and technical facilities, these activities can be terminated, or greatly reduced in scope, in the course of a transfer of ownership. In the cases of the commodity distributing and marketing organizations (like Ghana's Cocoa Marketing Board) the transfer of ownership is often, under the prescriptions of the Structural Adjustment programme, from one owner (the state) to many, many owners engaged in quite different activities (e.g. in the case of the Cocoa Marketing Board to peasant cultivators, processors, brokers, transport firms, exporters, etc.). Thus the transfer is not only from public to private hands, but also from one pair of hands under, in principle, single direction, to numerous hands responding to many interests. In such a multiplicity of ownership where lies the source of funds? of direction? of planning? necessary to undertake advancing science and technology.
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