I can always count on SciDevNet to provide some of the most interesting articles as it relates to science and technology in the Global South, and they did not disappoint last week. Panoply Digital Co-Director Michael Sean Gallagher posted this on LinkedIn and I had to share it, especially since it ignited a pretty fierce debate. The very brief overview of the article is that when compared to the 1990s, the number of inventions and patents coming from the Global South has really declined. Of course this may seem obvious since there were a number of extremely unfortunate yet high profile natural disasters, wars and protracted conflicts that contributed to disruption for millions and upended any STEM-related R&D that had been taking place. Not to mention the associated brain drain.
But now that "developing" Asia and Africa are unarguably rising, why haven't we seen a return to the level of inventiveness like what was observed in past decades? I made this point on LinkedIn and to my surprise people agreed that the ever popular tech hub proliferation doesn't really seem to be leading the charge in inventing anything so much as these hubs are making new products and services more easy to access.
I definitely don't think that patents should be the only way that people in the Global South are measured in terms of the level of innovation, yet you can't help but wonder about the hype of the many tech hubs and question whether their present remit is actually what's needed. If the Global North is putting a stranglehold on knowledge based on the sheer volume of patents it produces, how, or indeed should, the Global South respond?
Surely, there is no easy answer here, but it would be good to hear your ideas!