Friday, 5 March 2010

Science and innovation in Africa

By Gordon Conway and Jeff Waage
Published by UK Collaboration of Development Sciences
2010, 380pp, ISBN 978 1 84129 082 9(Pb), £20 or free to download
March 2010. Using the Millennium Development Goals as a framework, Science and innovation for development demonstrates the value of science in combating hunger, improving health, achieving environmental sustainability and adapting to climate change. "Science is only one of many factors which can contribute to development, but we want that factor to be well understood," the authors write.

From the development of NERICA rice, using tissue culture technology, to treadle pumps, mobile phones, and biotechnology, the book clearly presents numerous innovations that are helping to increase agricultural production and combat hunger. Other examples include integrated pest management, zero-tillage, drought-tolerant crops, and the role of vaccines in eradicating rinderpest. "Today there is a need for a new Green Revolution - but one that is in many respects very different," the authors state. "Production has to increase but in a way that is sustainable, environmentally friendly and equitable, ensuring that more food becomes available to the poor."

With many case studies and examples of real life success stories, this accessible publication clearly illustrates the importance of science and innovation in resolving many of the challenges that developing countries face.