Globally science and technology is uneven distributed. Others countries posses advanced science and technology, but other have rudimentary science and technology. Those countries with advanced science and technology are considered as an industrialized countries or developed countries (DC’s) but those with rudimentary technology are referred to as non- industrialized countries or lowest developed countries (LDC’s).
Majority of LDCs are countries in Latin America, Africa, Pacific – Caribbean and Asia. So with that uneven distribution science has to move across territorial boundaries to other countries (with no science and technology).
Meaning of science and technology transfer
As already noted previously, that science and technology is unevenly distributed. It means even those countries with no science and technologies do require such skills and knowledge from the sources.
Transfer of science and technology means acquisition of scientific and technological know how from the source to the recipient.
The transferred science and technology is through both hardware and software. Transfer of technology is only possible when the receiving country/firm has capability to assimilate and diffuse such technology or the ability to manage the transferred technology.
Many developing countries are recipients of technological transfer from developed countries or the source.
Importance of technological transfer
Technological transfer has got several significant in the recipient countries as follows:-
1. Technological transfer promotes an indigenous technological base and technical capacity. Because, the technological vacuums and gaps are always filled with transferred science and technology.
2. Technological transfer assists in utilization of idle resources and opportunities. For example in Tanzania case ,recently the communication and information technology sector had monopoly of Tanzania Telecommunication Company Limited Company (TTCL) but, with transfer of technology in such sector many communication companies have invested but also other idle resources which were not utilized with technological transfer in agriculture, mining and transportation can be utilized by the transferred Science and Technology.
3. Lead to increase in productivity in many sector of the Economy. The transferred technology has increased both industrial and agricultural products. The use of better machines, seeds and other tools from foreign companies which are invested in recipient countries contributes in productivity increase.
4. The transferred science and technology lead to development of transport and communication. Thanks, to the presence of constructing companies of Konoike, Kajima and others in the developing countries like Tanzania have improved infrastructures especially roads.
Technological transfer has got several significant in the recipient countries as follows:-
5. It improves the provision of social services such as education and health services which include use of x-rays, computer, ultra sound and medicine. Tanzania has received science and technology is social services from Scandinavian countries under the project of DANIDA, Cuba and other western countries. It has been through aid given by developed countries to the developing countries.
6. The transferred technology has been adapted, assimilated and managed to develop some SMES (Small and Medium Enterprises), small scale industries such as SIDO (Small Industries Development Organization) and VETA, but, also some technological institutes such as Dar es Salaam Institute of Technology (DIT) and University of Dar es Salaam Engineering College which assimilates and adopt such technology. These act as consultation centers but also design some required science and technology in our environment.
However, besides of importance there are also some disadvantages such as culture distortion, neo-colonialism which is attached with its operation, motivates the environmental degradation and corruption. Thus, the transfer of science and technology should be appropriate to the recipient countries’ conditions.
Means by which science and technology is transferred
The transferred science and technology has got channels through which it moves from the source to the recipient countries. These channels are correctively called means in which science and technology is transferred.
The following are some means by which science and technology is transferred.
1. Through training of people in other countries
The best way of transfer of technology is through training of people by government in other countries with science and technology. These people acquire skills and knowledge (software) in which after their graduation they disseminate this knowledge in their recipient countries.
Recently in Tanzania many people in military, doctors, architectures, and engineers have trained in western countries and they have been very vital in training of scientists in different fields. But other countries like China, Indonesia, Taiwan and Malaysia used this kind of technological transfer to advance their domestic science and technology base.
2. Foreign Direct Investment (FDI)
due to globalization policies which allow free movement of capital services and labour, it has caused multinational companies to move across their boarders with their science and technological capabilities and invest in other countries especially third World countries.
These investments have been in health services, mining, energy extraction, agriculture, industries, transport and communication and information technologies. In Tanzania there is Barrick company dealing with mining, other companies are in communication field like Vodacom, Tigo, Airtel (Zain), and Zantel
3. Technical assistance
This has been rendered by the donor’s countries. Technical assistances have been injected in many sector of the economy such as mineral processing, energy utilization, installing of imported machines, just mention a few. Technical assistance has been through importation of experts, importation of capital goods such as machine and finance.
Recently, the World Bank assisted the Energy and Water Utilities Regulatory Authority (EWURA) to boost its performance, but also the installment of health equipment at Muhimbili National hospital was done with Western technical assistance. From technical assistance science and technology is assimilated and diffused
4. Through industrial espionage
This means that a person in imitating without being permitted by owners of the said technology. For example there was scandal of industrial espionage of two countries on the issue of using NOKIA trade mark.
5. Through Turn key operation
This is the process of signing the contract between the technology owners and the recipient country. This has been used in engineering field whereby the companies such as Konoike and Kajima have brought in their capital good and technology to work in many developing countries. In Tanzania case these companies have been active in building of roads, bridges and buildings.
6. Buying license of technology
This is a situation whereby the recipient countries buy license from the source and uses it in other environment. For example, soft drink Companies such as Pepsi and Coca-cola sold their technology to other countries of the world.
7. Through imitation
This is simply copying technology from other countries for example, a country like China has been copying other country’s technology without license but has been able to acquire science and technology through copying other countries technology.
By any means of science and technology transfer, the transferred technology should be relevant, appropriate and affordable to an environment of recipient countries. If not appropriate, the transferred science and technology becomes useless for the development of recipient country.
The concept of relevant and appropriate technology use for a country development
For development of a country’s economy science and technology is needed, but a relevant and appropriate one. An appropriate and relevant technology is easily to fit in the environment of the recipient country. Ordinarily, the relevant and appropriate technology is kind of technology which can fit in the recipient country’s environment, but also useful and needed by the country concerned.
It is obvious that, training of experts and imported science and technology should be compatible with the country’s needs. But also, such technology will be suitable to local requirements and fit into a pattern of internally generated growth.
However, relevant and appropriate technology has these characteristics:
1. Should perform the duty and functions which is supposed or intended to do. If the technology is for development of local industries should target on intended purposes
2. Should not be expensive compared to the economy in the recipient country. The imported of science and technology should correlates with nature of the economy in the recipient country.
3. Should be easy to adopt, assimilate and diffuse. That means should not be complicated as to demand the importation of foreign experts. This will reduce dependency to the western or developed countries.
4. Should target on provision of employment and elimination of poverty. This is especially a kind of technology to be transferred and used in developing countries.
5. The relevant and appropriate technologies should safeguards and prioritize the environmental protection and management. For a country like Tanzania the appropriate technology should be that which protect environment and henceforth alter environmental problems. This is because the life of people solely, depends on environment for their socio-economic development.
A kind of technology which is appropriate should be such which protect culture of recipient country. If it happen that the nature of technology imported or used contributes in distortion of culture should be observed and monitored by departments concerned.
Advantages of relevant and appropriate technology
There are some advantages derived from the relevant and appropriate technology use as follows:-
1. The appropriate and relevant technology use reduces the loop hole of corruption
The appropriate and relevant technology use reduces corruption in the sense that the innovated or transferred science and technology meet the requirements it intend to do. For example, the appropriate and relevant technology needed in Tanzania is that of eradication of poverty through processing of agricultural products and development of rural energy production. Therefore any misallocation of technology induces corruption.
2. The use of appropriate and relevant technology assists to cut down the government expenditure
The appropriate and relevant technology use, besides of containing corruption, also can assist in cutting down the government expenditure because finances are directed in proper channels. With this regards the country which import the relevant and appropriate technology will reduce irrelevant technologies such as outdated technology, the one coupled with corruption and the one which is not expensive. Henceforth development will be inevitable.
3. The appropriate and relevant technology enriches the science and technological base of our country
The use of appropriate and relevant technology improve technological base through assimilating and diffusing such technology or simplifying it to fit in Tanzania environment, inevitably ,will ensure development and improve our technological base.
4. The appropriate and relevant technology use assists in utilization of idle resources
Third world countries particularly Tanzania is endowed with natural resources such as land, forest, wild life, minerals, water and human resources. With appropriate and relevant technological use the natural resources will be utilized like extraction of minerals, environmental protection, and the rural energy provision. It will consequently, lead to poverty alleviation and employment provision through improving agriculture; Small scale industries and Small and Medium Enterprises. (SME’s)
5. Appropriate and relevant technology use, profoundly protects the nation’s culture
The technology which is appropriate and relevant should comply with the environment on which it is applied, this environment must suit with culture values of the country concerned, and otherwise it won’t be relevant. Thus, the people concerning with choosing the nature of technology to be applied and used should make sure that relevant and appropriate technology has been considered, and henceforth being responsible in protecting our national culture.
Consequences of using appropriate technology in Tanzania
There are several consequences for using appropriate technology in Tanzania as follows:
1. Ensure development of our technological base i.e. the local technology, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and Vocational training colleges
2. Leads to lessen government expenditures especially if the used technology will meet the requirement of the recipient country.
3. The appropriate technology use lead to alleviation of poverty. In Tanzania poverty has been prioritized thus the nature of technology required is that which will assist in alleviation of poverty by improving agriculture sector.
4. Lead to development of alternative source of technology such as solar energy, wind energy and hydroelectric power energy which assist in lessening deforestation problems.
5. The appropriate technology use assist in checking the misuse of government finances. If the use of technology will suit to the country’s economy will inevitably reduce the misuse of money or eliminate the room for corruption
6. The use of appropriate technology induces the development of important sectors of development especially industries, agriculture, rural technology communication and information technologies (CIT) which are drives to the national development.
7. The relevant and appropriate technology use is very crucial; it is extensively assist in finding some solutions for many of our problems especially alleviation of poverty, provision of employment, development of rural technology (irrigation activities, processing industries, and development of alternative source of energy) and so forth. Thus, it is very important that the technology to be used in Tanzania should be relevant and appropriate.