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The Role of Research in Harnessing Indigenous Knowledge Systems (IKS) for Rural Transformation and Technological Innovations in South Africa

28 May 2020
12:30 - 14:30

Prof. Francis O.C. Nwonwu, Honorary Research Fellow: Human Science Research Council (HSRC), Director: Research and Development Consulting (Pty), Pretoria

Date: 28 May 2020    
12h30 –14h30

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Research is a sine qua non in development planning. Regrettably, it is grossly underrated and underfunded in Africa. Bendana (2019) averred that research projects in Africa stall due to failure of governments to match donor funds. While sub-Saharan African countries spend less than 1% of their gross domestic product (GDP) on research, countries like United States and South Korea spend 2.7% and 4.1% of their GDP respectively.

Indigenous knowledge systems (IKS) are gaining currency as new strategies for Africa’s development. IKS is a unique system of knowledge owned, inherited or developed by close groups, communities or individuals of common historical or genetic origin. For generations past and present, IKS have driven healthcare, food and nutritional, safety and security, housing construction, and ecosystem management practices in Africa’s rural communities. Yet, colonialism and religion have labelled IKS as fetish, cultic, primitive and superstitious practices.

This work attempts to elucidate nuances that would reverse the rapid demise of IKS; exploit the synergy between research and IKS; and interrogate how IKS and research interface would provoke technological innovations for rural transformation in South Africa.
Prof. Nwonwu holds a Ph.D. in Agriculture and Forest Economics from Iowa State University, Ames, USA earned in 1983. Previously he had served as Chief Research Specialist and Head of Sustainable Development Research Division at the Africa Institute of South Africa (AISA); Professor Extraordinaire, Faculty of Science, Tshwane University of Technology; and Consultant Regional Adviser at the African Trade Policy Centre (ATPC) at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA). He has taught and researched in over seven universities and academic institutions in Africa and Europe and has authored seven books and numerous journal articles. Prof. Nwonwu is currently an Honorary Research Fellow in the Africa Institute of South Africa (AISA) unit at the HSRC as well as the Director of his research company – Research and Development Consulting (Pty) based in Pretoria, South Africa.

Kindly RSVP by 27 May 2020

The HSRC seminar series is funded by the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI). The views and opinions expressed therein as well as findings and statements of the seminar series do not necessarily represent the views of the DSI. Please also note that this seminar may be recorded and published on the HSRC podcast channel.

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