Methodological and Technological issues in Technology Transfer

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2.2.3 Developing countries actions

Assessment of local technology needs and meeting of local demands
Participatory development is now widely recognised as a way of achieving effective technology transfer at all levels of development endeavour. This has grown from a perceived need to move from donor driven technology transfer to national needs driven approaches. It can facilitate market transformation through the involvement of firms and consumers. Governments are the most direct and influential actors for promoting a favourable environment for participation among the private sector, public sector organisations, NGOs and grassroots organisations at regional and local levels. Practical experience with participation but the step towards mainstreaming in government and development agencies still has to be made.

Meeting local demands also includes examining what the social impacts of technology transfer will be and how negative impacts can be reduced. There is a particular need for developing guidelines for ensuring that technology transfer projects do not disempower or negatively influence weaker social groups in a society. Such guidelines could draw from guidelines on integrating gender issues in technology development.

Participatory development can thus achieve:

Property right issues and ownership
The experience in agriculture, forestry, and use of other natural resources has shown that the successful introduction of new technologies often depends on a recognition of the existing forms of ownership, or on taking steps to create an improved property rights regime. With an understanding of existing - legal and actual - forms of ownership, technologies or modified resource uses can be adapted to fit this existing system. If property issues are taken into account, those introducing new technologies or proposing modifications in land or resource use can be more assured of the support of the target populations or groups.

Appropriate R&D programmes for adaptation of ESTs to own local conditions

Developing countries' R&D efforts are often adaptive, following externally developed technology, suggesting the need for additional resources to develop indigenous innovative capacity. R&D and the process of innovation are closely linked, but innovation has been found to fail at the level of capability - the ability to focus specific sets of resources in a particular way (e.g., financial management, marketing, understanding user needs, etc.) rather than because of inadequate resources or hardware. The process of dissemination depends closely on influencing key opinion formers, at government, industry, firm or community level.

Improved pathways for South-South transfer
Most technology transfer to date has passed along a North-South axis, and given financial constraints in many developing countries and CEITs this situation is likely to continue. However, creative means of using developed country bilateral aid, multilateral programmes and increased access to world capital markets may provide opportunities to increase South-South transfers. Enhancing South-South transfers is important, because developing countries may encounter challenges that are unlikely to be found in developed countries, but for which solutions exist in other developing countries. Initiatives to improve the pathways for South-South transfer could include:

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