African engineers: no sweat?

African engineers: no sweat?

African engineers: no sweat?

Shortly after the institution in January 1972 of the Know-how Consultancy Heart (TCC) on the Kwame Nkrumah College of Science and Know-how (KNUST), Kumasi, Ghana, the director was explaining the method of applicable expertise to a visiting American professor and to his spouse. First, he mentioned, there was a necessity to check applied sciences already in use at grassroots enterprises, after which introduce extra superior expertise achievable inside current materials provide constraints. uncooked supplies, infrastructure, market measurement and preferences, and entrepreneurial abilities. Usually this may be achieved by adopting or adapting historic, extra labor-intensive expertise utilized in Western international locations at a time when manufacturing items and their markets have been a lot smaller. ‘Oh no!’ the professor’s spouse retorted, “I do not suppose these folks must be subjected to a Victorian period of sweaty work.” On the time, it appeared unattainable to provide you with a sweat-free path to a contemporary technological society, however over time, the dream of the nice matron has develop into increasingly achievable.

It was definitely going to be very tough to introduce a Victorian period of sweaty work into Ghana. It was clear even in 1972 that Ghana would by no means advance as quickly as Malaysia, shaped from different British colonies which gained independence in the identical 12 months of 1957. Economists have undoubtedly recognized many contributing components to the disparity within the charge of financial progress. , however one distinction is obvious: the price of labor. Multinational firms established manufacturing items in Southeast Asian international locations to benefit from low labor prices and Malaysia was one of many first international locations to get wealthy from this phenomenon. Ghana has at all times been unlikely to learn on this approach. Overseas firms working in Ghana within the Seventies complained that low labor productiveness made their operations unsustainable, and several other of them closed. Research performed by the TCC on the time indicated that labor productiveness was about 3 times decrease in Ghana than in India. Plainly the professor’s spouse had nothing to fret about; Ghanaians had an innate resistance to laborious work.

Few folks within the Seventies might have predicted the digital revolution that swept the world over the following three many years. Anybody visiting Ghana at this time who knew the nation within the Seventies is instantly struck by the seemingly common scourge of earache. Everyone seems to be clutching a cellphone. Out on the streets of cities and villages little or no has modified, however inside each workplace a private laptop has changed the previous typewriters. One marvels not a lot on the expertise itself as at the truth that it appears to be universally obtainable in a low-income nation. It may be left to economists to elucidate, however the truth that it’s reasonably priced is past doubt. Has the exploitation of the electron opened a window of alternative in the direction of an period of wealth with out sweat?

Computer systems and cellphones maintain nice promise for fast communication and entry to info that are important conditions for financial progress, however in manufacturing industries the technique of manufacturing have to be equally superior. Within the Seventies, superior industries in Western international locations have been utilizing expertise on a really massive scale that the daddy of applicable expertise, Dr. EF Schumacher, rightly identified in Small is Stunning, was inappropriate for many growing international locations, not solely due to its excessive price but additionally as a result of it was designed to serve a lot bigger markets. Nevertheless, as electronically managed manufacturing services have been launched, many developed into small items that might be mixed in massive numbers in massive factories, but additionally used singly or in small numbers in small and medium-sized companies. The pattern continues and the price of CNC machining facilities and robotic manipulators continues to be unaffordable for most simple industrialists. On the similar time, progress is fast and additional price reductions are probably.

Laptop managed machines will probably be highly regarded in Suame Journal, Kumasi and all primary engineering firms in Ghana. Machines that produce 24/7, want no wages, attend no funerals, and steal no instruments or supplies appear to current a panacea to all their ills. It’s to be hoped that if this woman’s dream comes true, sufficient financial and social preparations will probably be made to make sure hassle-free employment for all licensed technicians and artisans.

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