John Afele has studied in Belgium, Japan and Canada. He has traveled further on development missions and for conferences, for instance as a Board member of Global Knowledge for Development. His focus is on innovative ways to bridge the global digital divide and to empower local economies with global knowledge.
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He pursues every possible way that the least fortunate could be assisted more effectively by development grants, intellectualizing indigenous knowledge, mobilizing Africans of the Diaspora and others concerned with development. The reader can see issues through indigenous eyes where actual conditions, needs and possible solutions can be more clearly assessed than through the intermediation of international development agencies.
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A social dimension of the book is evident in having extensive Acknowledgements near the beginning of the book, plus an emphasis on networks and partnerships as well as ideas and technologies. Content-wise, the book is classified as economic aspects of knowledge management, IT and telecommunication for developing countries. Afele also details agricultural issues, indigenous practices both ingenious and inefficient, along with scientific suggestions based on his Doctoral training.
His attitude is that Africans in particular need food but also IT, as knowledge is urgently needed for self-sufficiency and economic development. Drawing from his experiences with international development organizations, his critiques are understated in keeping with his humanistic ethics. Although not mentioned in the book, he remains constructive despite many of his own ideas having been adopted without reward or attribution by prominent international projects.
In any event the value of this book is not in sound-bite conclusions but rather in the stance and detailed prescriptions for greater effectiveness of development initiatives. Each chapter has numerous references, often available online with URLs provided.
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In the Preface, Dr. This is in contrast, as he explains later, with local talents serving as cheap labor for products made only for export. In Chapter I. Chapter II. Standards of Knowledge Communities briefly establishes the terrain of current events and debates in the development field, and the expectations that global standards could be applied to transitional and developing countries.
Chapter III. While he advocates expert systems, his focus is on empowering people for self-help, local talents and facilitators thereof. He acknowledges ingenuity gaps which justify importing state-of-the-art technologies from IT-rich countries, but tailored to the indigenous social system by local facilitators.
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Development projects are usually dispensed through governments and trickle down if at all through elite classes. Afele would have all local families record their life details and changes for online knowledge systems designed to assist them better with their input.
Digital Bridges: Developing Countries in the Knowledge Economy
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Chapter IV. Splicing Modern Knowledge and Ancestral Wisdom aims to preserve and capitalize upon indigenous cultural traditions in adopting new technologies. Since the colonial era, educational systems in Africa have not incorporated local knowledge, engendering technical and intellectual dependency rather than self- reliance. The continent has been subject to predations of cultural goods as well as diminution of traditions. So while readers may wish to hear more of what or how ancestral wisdom remains, Dr.
Afele seems more intent on finding every way that the well-being of the poorest humans could be enhanced by modern knowledge without attendant sacrifice of cultural identity. Chapter V. Digital Bridges and Digital Opportunities for Developing Nations is the longest chapter and does treat developing regions besides Africa, such as Southeast Asia.
Email Address. Sign In. Access provided by: anon Sign Out. Knowledge Networking for Development: Building Bridges across the Digital Divide Abstract: As the dependencies between developed and developing countries increase with the globalization of the world economy, the need to access and use dispersed knowledge and skills are at a premium.
As the costs of skill sets increase in the developed world, organizations are turning to the developing world to cater for their knowledge resources.