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 know-how to a visiting American professor and to his spouse. First, he mentioned, there was a necessity to review applied sciences already in use at grassroots enterprises, after which introduce extra superior know-how achievable inside current materials provide constraints. uncooked supplies, infrastructure, market dimension and preferences, and entrepreneurial abilities. Usually this is able to be achieved by adopting or adapting historic, extra labor-intensive know-how utilized in Western nations at a time when manufacturing models and their markets have been a lot smaller. ‘Oh no!’ the professor’s spouse retorted, “I do not suppose these individuals needs to be subjected to a Victorian period of sweaty work.” On the time, it appeared inconceivable to provide you with a sweat-free path to a contemporary technological society, however through the years, the dream of the great matron has turn out to be an increasing number of achievable.

It was definitely going to be very troublesome 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 yr of 1957. Economists have undoubtedly recognized many contributing elements to the disparity within the price of financial progress. , however one distinction is obvious: the price of labor. Multinational firms established manufacturing models in Southeast Asian nations to reap the benefits of low labor prices and Malaysia was one of many first nations to get wealthy from this phenomenon. Ghana has at all times been unlikely to learn on this manner. Overseas firms working in Ghana within the Seventies complained that low labor productiveness made their operations unsustainable, and a number of other of them closed. Research carried out by the TCC on the time indicated that labor productiveness was about thrice decrease in Ghana than in India. Evidently the professor’s spouse had nothing to fret about; Ghanaians had an innate resistance to laborious work.

Few individuals within the Seventies may have predicted the digital revolution that swept the world over the subsequent three many years. Anybody visiting Ghana at this time who knew the nation within the Seventies is straight away struck by the seemingly common scourge of earache. Everyone seems to be clutching a mobile phone. Out on the streets of cities and villages little or no has modified, however inside each workplace a private pc has changed the previous typewriters. One marvels not a lot on the know-how itself as at the truth that it appears to be universally accessible 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 direction of an period of wealth with out sweat?

Computer systems and cellphones maintain nice promise for speedy communication and entry to data 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 nations have been utilizing know-how on a really massive scale that the daddy of applicable know-how, Dr. EF Schumacher, rightly identified in Small is Lovely, was inappropriate for many growing nations, not solely due to its excessive price but in addition as a result of it was designed to serve a lot bigger markets. Nonetheless, as electronically managed manufacturing amenities have been launched, many developed into small models that could possibly be mixed in massive numbers in massive factories, but in addition 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 identical time, progress is speedy and additional price reductions are doubtless.

Laptop managed machines can be very fashionable in Suame Journal, Kumasi and all fundamental 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, satisfactory financial and social preparations can be made to make sure hassle-free employment for all licensed technicians and artisans.

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