Background & Introduction
with A literature review

Local solutions
Action Principle No 1. Needs & user driven


The renewal of markets, industries and societies is driven and developed through competing innovative ideas and initiatives from companies, scientific researchers, innovators and entrepreneurs. The development takes place under uncertainty about what will succeed, and only a few will be successful. The uncertainty and risks that entrepreneurs, researchers, innovators and start-ups take by daring to test new technologies, business models and products/services in new innovative ways constitute important engines in the renewal of markets, industries and societies. Even if the projects would not lead to the results hoped for, the individuals’ lessons are valuable as these individuals often start new innovative projects.

HR&S aims to contribute to a more experimental economy with a focus on Sub-Sahara African countries (SSA). HR&S supports young or small, innovative and gender-equal companies that, with the help of our support package, can validate, verify and develop their business and the solution the business is based on. The goal is to create conditions for social enterprises to develop their operations at locations where other support is difficult to obtain.

In the short term, we want to contribute to:
• Increased ability of young companies in SSA to build a business by interacting with the market, verifying and validating offers and business models.
• Increased awareness among young companies to work with sustainability and gender equality as competitive factors in their business.
In the long term, we want to contribute to:
• More companies that have developed their business acumen, grow and are profitable in national and international competition.
• More companies whose innovation contributes to creating value for the customer, the society and the environment.
• Sustainable and equal entrepreneurship that strengthens SSA’s competitiveness through innovations that contribute to the sustainability goals in Agenda 2030.

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Local solutions are unrecognized

Although researchers, innovators, and entrepreneurs in lower-income countries present amazing ideas, their solutions are often unrecognised and unsupported.  Consequently, locally developed and locally adapted solutions are not implemented and local enterprises that would address the needs of the local people are not started.

As a consequence, these societies lack access to locally relevant scientific findings and innovations, products, services, and employment opportunities that would otherwise have improved people’s lives. This also limits the tax income to the government, why these countries tend to lack advanced education structures, social security systems, and resourceful institutions.

Moreover, international negotiations and international trade become unbalanced, and lower-income countries remain behind in the international competitive arena. Consequently, these countries tend to suffer from poverty, causing corruption, crime, and forced migration.


Rosa et al. (2006) examined the relationship between the state of necessity and entrepreneurial activity, through qualitative case studies from Uganda and Sri Lanka, and the survey of 1006 Ugandan adults. Questions are posed on the tenability of the hypothesis that necessity is a primary motive for a business start-up in poor countries. The relationship between necessity and business start-up, though significant, is in the opposite direction from that predicted by the “necessity hypothesis”. Those with low incomes were much less likely to start a business because they often became “trapped” by having to work long hours for just enough income to survive. Opportunistic diversification, however, flourished once resources improved. The results question recent attempts to classify countries on the basis of distinctive forms of entrepreneurship based on necessity and opportunity.

Babajide, et. al. (2020) examined the relationship between financial stability and entrepreneurship development in Sub-Sahara Africa. The study made use of pooled data from 24 Sub-Sahara African countries covering the period 2004 to 2017. The findings revealed that financial stability (the financial strength of the banks, real economic stability and the level of financial market development in the region) have a significant positive effect on entrepreneurship development. The findings of the study suggested that stability in the financial environment facilitates the provision of credit facilities for entrepreneurship. The result also shows further that East African countries make a significant positive contribution to entrepreneurship development in terms of responsiveness to changes in financial stability, governance, strong institutions, economic development and human capital development in comparison to other regions.

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TEAM-BUILDING & MOTIVATION for positive change

Mungiu-Pippidi (2017b) argues for coalition building and that the groups benefiting from a positive change need to come together to make change happen. HR&S adds to this argument that when these coalitions have been built, then team-building and motivation must be addressed.

Members of a team

We need to put together a team with the required knowledge, skills and ability to complete the tasks. When choosing a participant for each team, we must also consider what complementary skills and attitudes each member brings (Peacock, G., 2016). Teams that bring different styles together enjoy many benefits of cognitive diversity; increased creativity and innovation; improved decision making (Peacock, G., 2016). Each team member must then appreciate the value each other team member can bring to the team, and how a diversity of opinion and some conflict will lead to better and faster decisions. According to Peacock, G. (2016), successful teams need to be small, between six and ten participants. If larger teams are required, the team can be broken down into smaller groups for regular problem-solving sessions.

The right team dynamics is also crucial. In a team, members are interdependent; they interact and depend on each other to achieve shared goals. Peacock, G. (2016) argues that in a successful team each participant has to: i) recognize the opportunity, ii) feel accountable for the entire company’s success, and iii) have the energy to persevere when the going gets tough. Team members must also trust each other, communicate openly, and be willing to accept conflict.

Training teams & leaders

To ensure a team is successful, we need to provide training (Peacock, G., 2016). Training teams together rather than individually is preferred because i) it helps teams develop, test and run processes such as coordination, ii) it enables team members to build trust, which is necessary for sharing information and knowledge, iii) it develops a shared memory of the awareness and ability of the team to identify and process information. Teams develop an awareness of which team member has knowledge on which topic. Shared memory is also important in creative problem-solving.

‘Leadership’ training shall not be confused with ‘management’ training (Peacock, G., 2016). Management training will improve our ability to dictate and manage individuals but not motivate, engage and develop individuals.

Virtual Teams

Virtual teams rarely, if ever, meet in a face-to-face setting and such teams are becoming more common, for a variety of reasons. Townsend et al. (1998) described virtual teams as groups of geographically and/or organizationally dispersed co-workers that are assembled using a combination of telecommunications and information technologies to accomplish an organizational task.

Virtual team members require great skills. Team members will be challenged to adapt to the new technologies that link the team. Team members must also learn new ways to express themselves and communicate. Virtual team’ challenges highlight how traditional performance factors, goal clarification and communication are even more important in virtual teams (Townsend et al., 1998).

Cross-cultural teams

Cross-cultural team members require great skills. Team members will be diverse and thus must be able to manage advanced communication skills (Townsend et al., 1998).

Team management

There is a complexity to teamwork that must be recognised when pulling a team together, and teams cannot be left to develop their own internal processes (Hackman, 1990). Many teams can benefit from having an impartial observer/facilitator in the initial sessions to help identify and improve the team dynamics and initially keep the project focused (Peacock, G., 2016). Peacock, G. (2016) mentions that besides team member ability, also team member motivation and coordination strategy are required for successful teams.

Hackman (1990) identified a number of actions required to ensure a team’s success:

  1. Career and reward system must include an incentive to work collaboratively. Action must be taken to build a team and establish boundaries, giving the team authority to manage their internal processes and relationships, internally and externally.
  2. There needs to be a careful balance between managerial and team authority. Managers need to provide direction (where the team is aiming) and set outer limit constraints on team behaviour (things the team must never do). However, the team must have full authority for the methods to accomplish their tasks.
  3. Teams must have an enabling structure to succeed. Teams cannot be left to develop their own internal processes. An enabling structure has three elements: i) A well-defined team task that engages and sustains team members motivation. ii) A well-composed team (as small as possible) with clear boundaries, including members with technical and interpersonal skills. The team should be a good mix of different types of people. iii) Clear and specific expectations of the extents and limits of the team’s accountability and authority limits.
  4. Providing reward, training and information systems that align with the team working. Ensure the team has the necessary resources to succeed (equipment, tools, space, money and staff).
  5. Teams need coaching and development to obtain the skills required to work successfully as a team.

Peacock, G., (2016) also proposes a number of actions related to team management:

  1. Alignment on direction: each individual must have a shared belief in the end goal
  2. High-quality interaction: participants must trust each other and openly communicate, with a willingness to accept conflict
  3. Team members are energized to take risks: this will create an innovative environment, where individuals learn from each other and outside ideas.

Also deciding which problems to tackle is an important part of successful team management (Peacock, G., 2016). Choose issues that need collective, cross-boundary expertise. Avoid issues that could be handled by individual business units or functions, as these problems or opportunities can be addressed as part of business-as-usual.

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The process of resolving problems

Organizations cannot improve unless they consistently seek out and resolve their problems (Cook, R and Jenkins, A., 2014). When a company engages its people in problem-solving as part of their daily work, they feel more motivated, they do their jobs better, the organization’s performance improves, and a virtuous cycle starts to turn. Such an approach can tap the enormous potential for the company and its customers (Cook, R and Jenkins, A., 2014).  

  1. Openness to talking about the problem: It is important to have an openness to problem-solving (Cook, R and Jenkins, A., 2014). Great problem-solving begins with being able to acknowledge problems without judgement. Hidden problems don’t get fixed and keep organizations from reaching their objectives.
  2. Willingness to see problems wherever they may be: Before you can acknowledge a problem, you have to be aware of it. Identifying problems, particularly before they grow into a crisis, is a skill that can be learned (Cook, R and Jenkins, A., 2014).
  3. Understanding that small problems matter: We need to understand that small problems matter as much as large organizational problems (Cook, R and Jenkins, A., 2014).
  4. Commitment to approaching problems methodically (Cook, R and Jenkins, A., 2014). An effective process for identifying and solving problems involves five steps:
    1. Define the problem. Clarify what should be happening and what is happening. The gap between the two is where the problem lies. Defining the problem well ensures that the team has a shared understanding of the real issue.
    2. Identify the root causes. Learn as much as possible about the problem, preferably by observing it as it occurs. This step is often skipped, but it is essential; without it, there is no way of knowing whether you are solving the real problem.
    3. Develop a solution. Crafting a good solution rests on distinguishing cause from effect. A solution that tackles the root cause will eliminate the symptom that the problem causes; if the root cause has truly been found, removing the proposed solution will lead to the symptom’s return.
    4. Test and refine the solution. The solution must be tested to ensure it has the expected impact. If it solves only part of the problem, further rounds of the problem-solving process may be needed before the problem disappears completely. For validation, conduct a final experiment without the solution to see if the problem recurs.
    5. Adopt new standards. The last step is to incorporate the solution into standards for work, with training and follow-up to make sure everyone has adopted the new method. That should eliminate any possibility of recurrence. Moreover, sharing the solution more broadly across the organization allows others to glean insights that might be applicable in seemingly different scenarios.
  5. Recognition that observations are often more valuable than data: Observation and questioning partners and team members provide a powerful and immediate source of insights into processes, workflows, capabilities, and frustrations with current ways of working (Cook, R. and Jenkins, A., 2014). Gathering and analyzing financial and accounting data is geared toward financial outcomes and cannot replace gathering and analysing information about the operating processes.
  6. Ensure continuous improvement: Problems never cease to arise. Building a problem-solving culture that lasts is not about fixing particular problems but about always striving to do things better (Cook, R and Jenkins, A., 2014).
  • Through having a process, we will generate more ideas faster and select ideas faster. If we find we always get the same results from our problem-solving/innovation meetings – maybe it is time to take a different view (Peacock, G., 2016). Reframing our problem and looking at it from different perspectives or viewpoints can help us find different solutions – many of them are different from the usual raft of solutions. A change of focus can reveal a solution that was lying just outside our frame of vision (Peacock, G., 2016).  
  • A true problem-solving organization will have the ultimate goal for everyone in the organization to own the responsibility and take the initiative to solve the problems that are most relevant to them (Peacock, G., 2016). In these organizations, people build capabilities more quickly and collaborate across internal boundaries more effectively.
  • Leaders shall be following a constant problem-solving approach, define the real problem, and rely on facts (rather than behave instinctively) (Peacock, G., 2016). Thus, leaders need to step back, be asking questions and take time to reflect (rather than jump to conclusions). Leaders need to commit to approaching problems methodically.
  • Using a problem-solving process also allows teams to move faster, avoiding competition or conformity (Peacock, G., 2016). When working on complex problems in teams, teams tend to take too much time or too little time (Peacock, G., 2016). Teams take too much time because they do not have an agreed method to generate ideas or select the best ideas. Teams take too little time because they generate too few solutions and then approve solutions quickly, without exploring all the possibilities. Teams that take too little time rarely challenge accepted ways of doing things.
  • Barriers to innovation are pervasive and predictable, but not that strong (Peacock, G., 2016). The simplest and easiest way to overcome them is to help people notice what they have been overlooking. We shall take a different view and see what is right in front of us.
  • When people compete, instead of looking for ways to develop ideas, they actually tend to look for ways to destroy ideas (Peacock, G., 2016).


Mungiu-Pippidi (2017a) claims that corruption is a default governance order, as people tend to favour their own, be it family, clan, race or ethnic group, and that treating the rest of the world fairly, seems to be a matter of extensive social evolution and sufficient resources. Mungiu-Pippidi (2017 b) argues further that the most countries today are corrupt rather than non-corrupt and that we should understand corruption as a social practice or institution, not just as a sum of individual corrupt acts. The author continues that in a development perspective, countries whose governance is presently based on norms like ethical universalism (public goods distributed fairly and equitably) have a past with other norms, and that the history of clean countries shows that good governance is the product of evolution. Modernity is a long and frequently incomplete endeavour to build private separation and a state that is autonomous towards private groups.

Mungiu-Pippidi (2017b) claims further that treating corruption as a deviation is problematic in lower-income countries. He points out that most anti-corruption approaches are built on the concept that public integrity and ethical universalism are the default governance norms. The author claims that this approach leads to policy failure, as norm building and norm enforcement require two different approaches. The approach of treating corruption as a deviation leads to investing in norm-enforcing instruments in cases where instead norm-building instruments are required. The Mungiu-Pippidi recommends rather to draw and support national long-term strategies aimed at building public integrity and ethical universalism, as well as to reduce opportunities and increase constraints for corruption.

An individual is corrupt when engaging in corrupt acts, regardless of whether the person is on the public or private side (Mungiu-Pippidi, 2017b). In one context, the corrupt agent is just a deviant and can be sanctioned by the principal if disclosed. In another case, the principal colludes with the agent, and corruption is exercised throughout a pyramidal organization that extracts resources disproportionately in favour of the most powerful group. So, anti-corruption means solving problems of power discretion and collective action.

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Strategy for change

If we target change, then, Mungiu-Pippidi (2017b) argues, we need a “Theory of change” addressing why the status quo would change and who would bring the desired evolution. (HR&S is using the terminology “Strategy for change” instead of the commonly used “Theory of change” to avoid confusion with the terminology “Scientific theory”.)  Mungiu-Pippidi (2017b) also claims that the main theories of change presently informing intervention are too general: modernization theory (although education and economic development have increased over the past twenty years without bringing better governance), and state modernization (the belief that by building state capacity, the integrity problems will be resolved).

International collaboration for  development
Action Principle No 2. Equal partnership

Sustainable Development Goals

The Sustainable Development Goals or Global Goals are a collection of 17 interlinked goals designed to be a “blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all”. The SDGs were set in 2015 by the United Nations General Assembly and are intended to be achieved by the year 2030.
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Private sector

Companies have a central role in the work to achieve Sustainable Development Goals.
Achieving Sustainable Development Goals requires economic growth that simultaneously safeguards social and environmental sustainability. The responsibility that lies with the business community is basically about running companies in a responsible and sustainable way that takes into account social, environmental and economic factors in the company’s operations at all levels.

The potential of social enterprising in Sub-Sahara African countries

Traditional actors have not been able to close the delivery gap to the poor (Navarette Moreno and Agapitova, 2017). Public and non-public providers face large challenges in improving service levels and uptake. As a result, the public sector struggles to meet service demand in low-income communities in terms of delivery and quality. Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) try to fill these gaps, but can only reach as far as grant funding and sponsorships allow, which limits the scale of services. The formal business sector provides many services but often prioritizes delivery to high- and middle-income populations (Navarette Moreno and Agapitova, 2017). Reaching low-income population is difficult and often unattractive, given difficult-to-access markets, lack of existing infrastructures, high risks, and low-profit margins. As a result, low-income population often rely on informal providers or, simply, lack service options.

Social Enterprises (SEs) in Africa already address service delivery gaps for the poor (Navarette Moreno and Agapitova, 2017). Although positive examples abound, SEs have not yet fully realized their potential in Sub-Saharan Africa (Navarette Moreno and Agapitova, 2017). Indeed, Africa is one of the most vibrant and dynamic regional markets for social enterprises.

While effective in reaching the poor, SEs face significant obstacles in growing their activities to a scale where they can substantially contribute to the achievement of development impact. Many SEs struggle to scale-up and develop sustainable business models. SEs face high barriers that are often aggravated by the difficult markets they serve. Common challenges include: i) unconducive regulation and policy, ii) lack of financing solutions, iii) weak infrastructure and human capital, and iv) lack of information and networks (Navarette Moreno and Agapitova, 2017).

Therefore, a key question of development programmes, research and policy is how best to identify and remove these obstacles. SEs often fall between traditionally recognized public and private organizations, and the public sector often does not play a catalytic role, in terms of taking steps to help develop or partner with the SE sector (Navarette Moreno and Agapitova, 2017). Looking toward 2030, achieving the SDGs for the poorest populations will be costly and cannot be done solely by the public sector—SEs can be partners in achieving the SDGs. Development practitioners will need innovative solutions and supportive environments that will allow these SE innovations to scale and accelerate results.

Cross-cultural AWARENESS (CROSS)

HR&S recognizes a social context post-colonial attitude in higher-income countries and a social context fragile accountability in lower-income countries.

HR&S targets deep cross-cultural respect, and that is crucial to recognize that all communities have social contexts, some strengthen the people in that community, and some weakens us. HR&S proposes the expression “fragile accountability” rather than “corruption”, cause each and everyone can decide to change, and we see that change among our partners. It is the same with post-colonial attitudes, and both require an eye-opener among individuals. The social context post-colonial attitudes link closely to the wording in our postings on social media.

Culture is borderless

A meta-analysis of intra-national compared with international differences found greater variety within than between countries (Gerhart et al., 2005). It was argued that one important reason for this variety was to be the notion of agency—that people can and do make independent choices. Another was that culture is not invariably exclusive. Instead, people are simultaneously part of overlapping, sometimes even apparently contradictory, cultures through circumstance and choice.

The Europeans’ activities in Africa in the pre-colonial and colonial eras benefited them and their African counterparts, though in varied degrees (Rex, O., 2022). Their activities led to transfer of technology from Europe to Africa. They also introduced a new form of religion [Christianity] in the region, and facilitated the establishment and development of banking institution and money system. On the contrarily, the interrelations of the two entities exposed Africa particularly to a number of issues: exploitation of human and material resources, and intensification of internal conflict and ethnicity problem. Their activities, in social aspect, suffocated the indigenous culture and religion, and nearly displaced African civilization. It also, to an appreciable extent, introduced and amplified racism on the long run as Africans faced issues of discrimination and segregation abroad and even on African soil (apartheid in Southern Africa as a case study) in pre-colonial and colonial times. In essence, Afro-European relations in the periods under study never reflected a partnership of equals; it was rather a lopsided and parasitic partnership.


World value survey (WVS)

An analysis of world value survey (WVS) data made by the political scientists Ronald Inglehart and Christian Welzel asserts that there are two major dimensions of cross-cultural variation in the world:

  • Traditional values versus Secular-rational values and
  • Survival values versus Self-expression values.

The global cultural map, created by the two scientists, shows how scores of societies are located on these two dimensions. Moving upward on this map reflects the shift from Traditional values to Secular-rational and moving rightward reflects the shift from Survival values to Self–expression values.

Traditional values emphasize the importance of religion, parent-child ties, deference to authority and traditional family values. People who embrace these values also reject divorce, abortion, euthanasia and suicide. These societies have high levels of national pride and a nationalistic outlook.

Secular-rational values have the opposite preferences to the traditional values. These societies place less emphasis on religion, traditional family values and authority. Divorce, abortion, euthanasia and suicide are seen as relatively acceptable. (Suicide is not necessarily more common.)

Survival values place emphasis on economic and physical security. It is linked with a relatively ethnocentric outlook and low levels of trust and tolerance.

Self-expression values give high priority to environmental protection, growing tolerance of foreigners, gays and lesbians and gender equality, and rising demands for participation in decision-making in economic and political life.

People’s priorities shift from traditional to secular-rational values as their sense of existential security increases. The largest increase in existential security occurs with the transition from agrarian to industrial societies. People’s priorities shift from survival to self-expression values as their sense of individual agency increases. The largest increase in individual agency occurs with the transition from industrial to knowledge societies. 

The value differences between societies around the world show a pronounced culture zone pattern. The strongest emphasis on traditional values and survival values is found in the Islamic societies of the Middle East. By contrast, the strongest emphasis on secular-rational values and self-expression values is found in the Protestant societies of Northern Europe. These culture zone differences reflect different historical pathways of how entire groups of societies entered modernity. These pathways account for people’s different senses of existential security and individual agency, which in turn account for their different emphases on secular-rational values and self-expression values.  

Generally speaking, groups whose living conditions provide people with a stronger sense of existential security and individual agency nurture a stronger emphasis on secular-rational and self-expression values. On a global scale, basic living conditions differ still much more between than within societies, and so do the experiences of existential security and individual agency that shape people’s values.


Carlos M. Palacios wrote a paper aiming to contribute to the public and academic debate on the appropriateness of young Westerners’ participation in projects of volunteer tourism conducted in developing countries (Palacios, 2010). The results illustrate that such projects can produce similar benefits to other educational initiatives of international volunteering and service (IVS) in terms of global engagement, career development, intercultural competence and psychological support. However, the author claims that these projects need to harmonize personal and institutional expectations with real volunteer capacities. Thus, until IVS programs in the university context distance themselves from a development aid discourse, they will potentially fall under the umbrella of “neo-colonialism”. The research provides a model of impact analysis and raises challenging questions for universities or similar organizations involved with short-term group placements of volunteer tourism. Palacios concluded that in the 1960s, when the boom of international volunteering for young Americans started through the Peace Corps program, it was clear that there were political and colonial-like intentions involved. However, the current literature about international volunteering and service (IVS) rarely comments on the political interests of the donor nations sponsoring IVS agencies. Instead, charges of neo-colonialism are currently placed on the volunteers themselves and the “voluntourism” industry. Thus, it is important to understand that the recent comments about colonialism, have less to do with elaborated critical theories of development, and more to do with “ineffectiveness” and practical concerns. In reality, what has been at stake in most debates about volunteer tourism is not whether the help of Westerners has any relevance in the development of poor nations, but whether these Westerners possess the necessary capacities and motivations to produce effective help. Evidence of this can be found in the conclusions of many authors when they suggest that the projects have a low impact in the local communities because the young volunteers do not have enough knowledge, reflection capacity, appropriate skills or qualifications, volunteering and international experience, time to get involved with the locals or altruistic intentions.
*Neocolonialism: the use of economic, political, cultural, or other pressures to control or influence other countries, especially former dependencies.

Real-time outcome planning and evaluation.
Action Principle No 3.

Testing the Strength of Evidence for impact (TestE)

Toetzke, et. al. (2022) claims that given the financial magnitude of development aid, it is important to monitor how development aid is distributed across recipient countries and what topics are funded through aid activities (for example, disease prevention, electrification). On the one hand, this helps donors coordinate their global activities. On the other hand, it helps other stakeholders assess whether overall financial volumes are distributed reasonably and effectively. For this, the topics of aid activities should be monitored with high granularity (for example, solar energy instead of energy) and without substantial delay. This enables donors and policymakers to respond to current disparities with coherent policy responses. To overcome the limitations of existing monitoring, Toetzke, et. al. (2022) developed a machine learning framework that enables a comprehensive and granular categorization of development aid activities based on their textual descriptions. They clustered the descriptions of ~3.2 million aid activities conducted between 2000 and 2019 totalling US$2.8 trillion.

The effectiveness of foreign aid in stimulating economic development is a topic of intense debate in the scientific community and among policy analysts (Asatullaeva, 2021). Research on aid effectiveness has been undertaken both at the macro-level, investigating the impact of foreign aid on the economic growth/development of recipient countries (Asatullaeva, 2021), and micro-level, the social welfare impact has to be evaluated for almost every single aid intervention (Metzger and Gunther, 2015). 

Metzger and Gunther (2015) claimed that randomized controlled trials had become one of the most applied methods to evaluate aid effectiveness at the micro level.

The Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) is a global research
center working to reduce poverty by ensuring that policy is informed by
scientific evidence Anchored by a network of 262 affiliated professors at universities around the world, J-PAL conducts randomized impact evaluations to answer critical questions in the fight against poverty.


Despite the rapid growth of non–Development Assistance Committee (DAC) emerging donors, these non-traditional donors are historically left out of the discussion on aid effectiveness (Palagashvili and Williamson, 2021). Palagashvili and Williamson (2021) found that non-DAC donors rank similarly to DAC donors: Both groups are equally poor performers  concerning transparency, overhead costs, aid specialization, selective allocation, and effective delivery channels. Emerging donors engage in less aid fragmentation across countries and use fewer ineffective delivery channels. Traditional DAC donors, however, provide more transparent reporting. Overall, Palagashvili and Williamson (2021) found that multilateral agencies and UN donors outperform both DAC and non-DAC bilateral agencies. Collectively, Palagashvili and Williamson (2021) suggest that most aid donors do not meet their own standards for best practices, and this finding is not unique to emerging donors.


Most cross-country studies on project-based aid use ex-post evaluation ratings or economic rates of return to measure project performance (Metzger and Gunther, 2015). An ex-post evaluation refers to an evaluation that is carried out after the programme has been completed and  is a method used throughout the European Commission to assess whether a specific intervention was justified and whether it worked (or is working) as
expected in achieving its objectives and why. Metzger and Gunther (2015) claims that the ex-post evaluation ratings are subjective assessments and that their interpretability and comparability therefore is limited  They are not standardized across donor organizations and may not even be comparable within an organization as evaluators follow common rules and guidelines, but are given flexibility in their rating decisions (Metzger and Gunther, 2015). By aggregating projects from heterogeneous sectors, many studies further reduce the comparability and interpretability of the ratings. Moreover, because of the heterogeneity of different aid sectors, analyses on the drivers of project aid effectiveness can only include sector-unspecific project management variables (Metzger and Gunther, 2015).

A circular economy (CE) decouples economic activity from the consumption of finite resources. Roos et. al (2020) claims that CE assessment has a low level of maturity, and that the level of implementation of CE assessment approaches by organizations appears to be limited. Roos et. al (2020) found that most CE assessment approaches were very different in terms of methodology, both when reflecting on their scale of assessment as well as use of methodologies. Gaps include different understandings of the concept of CE, of the micro level and of the links between CE and sustainable development (SD), and as well that the connections between academic research and practical implementation of CE assessment approaches werein an early stage.  Roos et. al (2020) found that relatively little is known about company needs, operational-, mid-management-, or strategic must-haves and skillsets, decision-making contexts, internal- as well as external barriers to implementation, and other real-world attributes that appear to be relevant to CE assessment.


Institutional Capacity
Action Principle No 6.


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Serving the under-served  in a sustainable manner

Donations & the expectation of the receiver

After donations have been raised, whether it is through charities or tax, and the administration costs have been removed, the money is transferred to the target country. Now the real challenge begins, the implamantation of a programme that actually honours both the donor and the receiver of the donated funds. 

60 years of enormous amounts of aid money, while still the number of extremely poor people in Africa is still increasing proves that this is a very difficult task. Thus for obvious reasons, this diffult task cannot be manages by NGOs and/or volunteer workers, but the implemetation of the poverty reducing programmes requires professionsal institutions.

Institutions with professional staff, who operated according to professional practical strategies,  The funds is ususlly not transferred to the underserved themselves, but to institutions who are serving the underserved. Institutions that can show scientific evidence for that the funds invested are actually increasing the level of livelihood among the underserved population in a sustainabel manner.

Practical strategies & professional operations. Sustainable impact requires practical strategies and professional operations. HR&S offers this service.

Professional local HR&S institutions. Thus we need professional local institutions serving the underserved. Such institutions are already implemented in high-income countries. If the institutions benefit from donations, they must honour that the funds is targeting the under-served. The donated funds must reach the poor. Such institutions cannot be managed by volunteers, nor staff without proper and advanced edcuation. The institutions must have a professions, effective and efficient set-up, like a professional business providing social good as a business idea. HR&S offers this service.

The perceptions of the receiving institutions. Now, what is the perception among the staff at the institutions receiving the donated funds. Is the receieving staff made aware of the intention of the donor, that this money shall ONLY serve the under-served, for example extremely poor communities, either directly or indirectly but only the targeted population, or, do the receiving institution staff consider themselves vulnerable enough to be entiteled to have direct benefit from the donated funds?

Concusion & recommendations

Institutions in target countries receiving donations  CANNOT use the funds to cover their own institution’s running costs, but can only be used to cover project specific direct  implementation costs. Moreover, activities MUST generate evidence based sustainability for the social good they implement.

HR&S proposes international-national social enterprises as the sole method to eradicate extreme poverty. Local business loans and local business coaching can preferably be funded through donations.

Hierarch & Beaureaucracy

These are two factors that are very often challenging efficient institutional capacity in SSA.

Traditional aid

Official development assistance (ODA) – six decades of aid

Official development assistance (ODA) is defined by the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC) as government aid that promotes and specifically targets the economic development and welfare of developing countries (OECD, 2019). The DAC adopted ODA as the“gold standard” of foreign aid in 1969 and it remains the main source of financing for development aid.

ODA flows to countries and territories on the DAC List of ODA Recipients and to multilateral development institutions are: i. Provided by official agencies, including state and local governments, or by their executive agencies; and ii. Concessional (i.e. grants and soft loans) and administered with the promotion of the economic development and welfare of developing countries as the main objective.

The DAC list of countries eligible to receive ODA is updated every three years and is based on per capita income: ODA data is collected, verified and made publicly available by the OECD at statistics are the only source of official, verified and comparable data on aid reported by 30 members of the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC) and about 80 other providers of development co-operation, including other countries, multilateral organisations and private foundations.

In 2020, official development assistance (ODA) by member countries of the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) amounted to USD 161.2 billion, representing 0.32% of their combined GNI (OECD, 2020) . This total included USD 158.0 billion in the form of grants, loans to sovereign entities, debt relief and contributions to multilateral institutions (calculated on a grant-equivalent basis); USD 1.3 billion to development-oriented private sector instrument (PSI) vehicles and USD 1.9 billion in the form of net loans and equities to private companies operating in ODA-eligible countries. A billion is the number equivalent to the product of a thousand and a million; 1,000,000,000, i.e. one thousand million, or 10⁹. (In Swedish around SEK 1,6 trillion, million million or 1,000,000,000,000 or 1012.)

The DAC has measured resource flows to developing countries since 1961. Special attention has been given to the official and concessional part of this flow, defined as “official development assistance” (ODA). The DAC first defined ODA in 1969, and tightened the definition in 1972. ODA is the key measure used in practically all aid targets and assessments of aid performance.

According to Mills, G. (2021) Africa has received $1.2 trillion in development assistance since 1990. He continious that even though donors have spent more than $1 000 per person over these 30 years, the average income of sub-Saharan Africans has increased by just $350. The continent has very little to show for this money, some of which has been consumed by the donors themselves, much of it by local governments and elites. 

It is widely accepted that foreign aid provided by wealthy nations during the past five decades has failed to reverse global patterns of poverty and inequality (Ovaska, 2003).

The number of poor people continues to rise in Sub-Saharan Africa, despite a slow decline in the poverty rate (Schoch & Lakner, 2020). One reason behind the slowdown in global extreme poverty reduction is the slow progress in Sub-Saharan Africa. The latest estimates show that the regional poverty rate decreased by 1.6 percentage points between 2015 and 2018. This translates to 40% of the population living below the US$1.90-a-day poverty line in 2018 and Sub-Saharan Africa accounting for two-thirds of the global extreme poor population. While the poverty rate has decreased from 56% in 1990 to 40% in 2018 the number of poor continues to rise. In other words, the poverty rate in Sub-Saharan Africa has not fallen fast enough to keep up with population growth in the region and 433 million Africans are estimated to live in extreme poverty in 2018, rising from 284 in 1990.


The aid effectiveness norm as defined by OECD/DAC

Adopted in 2005 at a high-level forum organized by the OECD/DAC, the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness contains five basic principles, which the OECD summarizes as follows:

  1. Ownership: Developing countries set their own development strategies, improve their institutions and tackle corruption.
  2. Alignment: Donor countries and organisations bring their support in line with these strategies and use local systems.
  3. Harmonisation: Donor countries and organisations co-ordinate their actions, simplify procedures and share information to avoid duplication.
  4. Managing for results: Developing countries and donors focus on producing—and measuring—results.
  5. Mutual accountability: Donors and developing countries are accountable for development results.

Faced with often disappointing results from foreign aid, scholars, policy makers and practitioners have been trying for decades to determine what makes aid more effective (Brown, 2020). In most instances, the blame is placed overwhelmingly on the shoulders of the governments of developing countries. However, in the mid-1990s, a parallel vision of aid effectiveness began to evolve under the leadership of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and, in particular, its Development Assistance Committee (OECD/DAC), the main club of traditional Western donors. The most prominent result of this process, the 2005 Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness, was ground-breaking. It recognized that recipient countries’ deficient institutions were partly to blame for a lack of effectiveness in the
past. However, crucially, it also recognized that the disappointmentsmand sometimes failures of past aid were not solely due to problems in recipient countries and that donors also needed to change how they worked. The Paris Declaration’s principles quickly constituted the overarching norm for 21st-century development cooperation (Brown, 2020). Brown (2020) argues that, although donors and recipients theoretically endorsed the Paris principles, they were unwilling to overcome their reluctance to substantially change their practices on the ground.

The aid effectiveness norm was the result a deliberate self-conscious process initially led by OECD donor countries. The norm emerged in the 1990s, cascaded in 2005 and reached its apogee in 2008, but was only feebly internalized (Brown, 2020). Its diffusion was successful in gaining formal endorsement but much less so in overcoming resistance and significantly changing behaviour, including among the norm’s originators. The norm’s failure was due in large part to a lack of political will and significant incentives of various types on all sides to maintain the status quo, including donors’ desires to achieve self-interested goals and recipients’ desire to maximize financial inflows and maintain policy space while manifesting agreement with the principles and performing compliance.

Starting in 2011, the norm was redefined, which caused it to decay and, as a result, be extinguished (Brown, 2020). The post-2011 norm substitution attempted to make the principles more relevant to the evolving global development context and engage a broader range of actors. However, the compromises made since then have gutted the original norm by broadening the agenda and diluting the prescriptions, yet failing to bring in the important new actors, not least emerging donors who saw no advantage in engaging. In doing so, it may have nominally extended the norm’s longevity, but it also emptied it of its substance and influence, effectively killing the norm.

What remains of the aid effectiveness norm, one and a half decades after the Paris Declaration, is a loose grouping of various types of actors within the GPEDC, who hold periodic meetings, but whose main task appears to be monitoring a broad list of too-numerous and frequently vague indicators and sharing best practices (Brown, 2020). While traditional donors have lost interest and emerging donors have failed to engage, actors feel very little pressure to comply (Brown, 2020). The main promoter of aid/development effectiveness, the GPEDC, is a weak institution without a permanent secretariat and is still struggling to establish its legitimacy and carve out its place in parallel to the UN and other forums for discussing aid and development. It is thus unlikely to resurrect the norm or create a new one (Brown, 2020).

Honouring the expectation of a donor

The expectation of a donor

When someone is donating, the expectation is usually that this money shall serve an underserved population, community or person somewhere in the world. The donor will want something with the resources offered; whether it is funds, items, work-hours or knowledge.
This is also  true concerning donations generated through the tax system, governmental aid; both tax on salaries as well as tax on corporations.
Now, as this was the reason for giving this money, the expectation of the donor HAS TO BE 100% honoured.

As the the expectation of the donor is that the donation shall serve the underserved population, and that this has to be honoured, the funds must be implemented in a way that it serves the under-served population in a sustainable manner. If food is provided one day, but not the next, this must be seen equal to playing with people’s psycologial strength. 

Practical strategies ensuring sustainable impact

Sustainable impact requires practical strategies and professional operations. HR&S offers this service.

Raising the funds

Charities.  Many studies have compiled data over the level of administration in the charity sector. Some claim it is 26-87%, other 60-70%. The administration cost includes salaries and other obvious costs that is required to run a registered and professional institution. If the charity is registered as a company, then they also pay corporate tax. The conclusion can be that it is costly to convincing people to donate to people they do not know and that this requires a lot of effort.

Running charities is a businessness idea as is creates employment. It is not a for profit business idea, but a non-profit business idea. Small charities can be expected to spend larger percentage on administration than big charities, as big institutions have a larger capital. But does this matter. Is it not the absolute amount of money that goes into the running of institutions at continents other than the underserved population, that is not at all involved with the implementation of the money. Another business idea is to offer services to charities that raise money.  The actual concequence of this is that givers provides more salaries to people that operates in other continents than the underserved population.

A challenge with raising funds can be that the institution may want to point out a need, and in order to emphasize on the need may want to show the receiever of the funds as depending on this money, maybe weak, vulnerable, sad… This may cause a stigma. It is also not clear if the GDPR is fully respected.

Governmental bodies: Also governmental bodies, that are not involved with the fundraising itself, suffers from a high level of administration costs which may be related to, among other issues, the bureaucracy generated from managing and reporting on governmental tax money, as well as responding to the political values of the ruling government.


Concusion & recommendations

Institutions raising funds must have a reasonable low level of administration cost, in order to honor the giver. HR&S proposes 0- 15%, ALL institutions, as well as company tax. The administration costs shall only cover unavoidable costs including bank fees, transfer of funds fees, and web-site fees. If 60-70% of the donors money is used only to raise the money, there is nothing left to pay for the professional implementation programmes that can ensure a sustainable solution.

Thus, just collecting donations without being able to sustainably improve peoples’ lives  CANNOT be a business idea. Ad hoc support can expect to deepen poverty as it keeps the beggers in a depending situation, which can be expected to reduce their self-esteem and lower the motivation to take own initiatives.

Funds that are just distributed without demand on accounting, auditing, accountability and transparency increases the perception that money comes and goes and is not the result of income generation. The only people who benefit is an sustanable manner from charities that focuses on fundraising and not the implementation, are the employees of the charity.

HR&S proposes international-national social enterprises as the sole method to eradicate extreme poverty. Local business loans and local business coaching can preferably be funded through donations.

Truth & trust, harmony & equity
Action Principle No 7. quality values

unsplash - trust

Corruption control

Identify agency for corruption control

Countries can achieve control of corruption in two ways (Mungiu-Pippidi, 2017b).  One is the surreptitious way, where open access, free competition and meritocracy (government or the holding of power by people selected according to merit) are achieved as a side effect through incremental changes of institutions, without being a main collective goal. This worked in the past for many of today’s higher-income countries. The second way is when the rule of law and control of corruption are delivered as collective goods after collective agency and investment, for instance, after sustained anti-corruption campaigns. Both paths need human agency. In the former, the role of the agency is small. It is presumed that nobody will oppose reforms that are not perceived to be posing a threat to anybody. Those reforms are just common sense, professionalism, and public demand for government performance. In the latter case, considerable efforts and alignment of both the interests favouring change and ideology of ethical universalism are needed. Identifying the human agency capable of delivering change becomes essential.

Demand for good governance is increasing all over the world (Mungiu-Pippidi, 2017b). Changing governance across borders is a difficult task. Still, international partners may want to try to socialize with enlightened elites, and there are certainly opportunities to help civil society and a developing enlightened citizens’ community (Mungiu-Pippidi, 2017b). In practice, though, that is not so easily done. Corrupt governments are often treated like as enlightened elites and entrusted the ownership of anti-corruption programmes that will never take off – not only because they often are the wrong programmes, but because they really should be implemented against the main interests.

Fortunately, modern smartphones with Internet access provide a great shortcut to individual autonomy and enlightened participation. Any assistance towards increasing the percentage of ‘enlightened citizens’ armed with smartphones is worthwhile (Mungiu-Pippidi, 2017b). But for the transition strategy, we need more than that.

We need a careful stakeholder analysis and coalition building. As a ground rule, whoever is competitive, stands to lose in a particularistic society (exclusive or special devotion to a particular interest) (Mungiu-Pippidi, 2017b). He or she faces two options: to desert particularism and move on to a more meritocratic realm (hence the close correlation between corruption and brain drain) or stay and fight. These are our recruitment grounds. It is essential to understand just who has the interest to challenge the rules of the game and who is prone to defend them, in other words – to identify the institutional status quo losers and winners. Who would remain a winner even if they open the door to the more merit-based competition? Who, among today’s losers, would gain something essential? These groups need to come together to make change happen.

As we have a very close correlation between the rule of law and corruption control, the results are often clear: when corruption is high, the rule of law is below the threshold (Mungiu-Pippidi, 2017b). So, legal approaches to anti-corruption (an anti-corruption agency or a strong punitive campaign) can hardly be expected to deliver if the rule of law is weak. The same goes for civil service capacity building in countries where bureaucracy has never achieved autonomy from its rulers.  What is needed for good governance is an autonomous class of magistrates and an autonomous class of bureaucrats (Mungiu-Pippidi, 2017b). These cannot be delivered by capacity building in the absence of domestic political agency. This is why the functional accountability tools are those associated with civil society agency. Voluntary implementation of accountability tools by groups involved (businesses who lose public tenders, for instance, or journalists seeking audience) generally works better than official implementation. The latter seldom delivers.

Entrepreneurs (SE) have been defined as persons who solve pressing and insurmountable social problems, making an immense yet durable and irreversible social impact (Nowak et al., 2020). Nowak et al. (2020) claim that SEs do these remarkable things with minimal investments, having as assets their passion, commitment, big yet realistic visions for change, creativity, and entrepreneurial skills. Thus description by Nowak et al. (2020) of entrepreneurs is supported by the findings of Navarette Moreno and Agapitova (2017) that Social Enterprises (SEs) in Africa have been found capable of addressing service delivery gaps for the poor, when traditional actors have not been able to close the delivery gap. 

Mungiu-Pippidi (2017b) argues for coalition building and that the groups benefiting from the positive change need to come together to make change happen and reflect over whom, when and how international partners can assist along the road to a virtuous circle.

Informed by the findings of Nowak et al. (2020), Navarette Moreno and Agapitova (2017) and Mungiu-Pippidi (2017b), HR&S is seeking partnership with social entrepreneurs in Sub-Sahara African countries and with local stakeholders benefitting from a positive change as well as international partners who can assist HR&S with our mission.

The mind-set of a scammer
scamming Africa versus muzungus

Nigerian 419 scams, refers to a relevant section of the Nigerian criminal code and may also be referred to as advance fee frauds. Fraudsters in Nigeria use a “scientific” approach to identify victims (Brody, et al, 2020) and the amount of 419 scams are increasing rapidly. 

Brody, et al (2020) made a study to address why these scams started, why they continue and related cultural issues. 419 scams originated in Nigeria in the 1970 and have since then accelerated and now also includes other African countries such as Ghana, Cameroon, Senegal, Côte d’Ivoire, Benin and other countries also outside Africa. People have become engaged in various types of illegal acts as their business. Scammer contact their vitims through e-mail, social media and dating sites. The authors compiles reasons behind the scamming from Nigeria is i) the government is precieved as corrupt and thus serves as a role-model for the population to also become involved with scamming, ii) there are not enough higher institutions for education leaving many Nigerians illiterate, combined with lack of infrastructure leading to that also educated people are jobless iii)  the wage gap between the rich and the poor is increasing, iv) those high positions in the society, already rich, well-educated, with good senior employment positions, wants more, v) the risk of being caught by the police and judged by the rule-of-law  is limited, and if  it happens the scammer will most likely will share a portion of the profit with the police, as bribes, and will then be released,  vi) most Nigerian believe that further developed countries made Nigeria the way it is today as a result of colonalization  and slavary. Nigerians now use the 419 frauds and rationalize their criminal behaviour because they believe they are trying to recover what has previously been stolen from them.

It started by the fraudsters going to cyber cafes, business centers where computers could be used to browse and search for victims online (Brody, et al, 2020). At that time few people were committing cybercrime. There was no access to personal laptops and those few laptops that existed were very expensive to acquire. The fraudster would start by committing a small fraud just to earn enough money to procure a laptop for their business. After their initial success, they turned to larger fraud schemes. They would specifically target victims in other countries, often browsing the internet overnight because of the time difference between Nigeria and the country they were targeting. They called themselves “yahoo guys” and they used many slang terms, especially when they collected money or valuable things from the victims. For example, one phrase, “Maga don pay” meant “the victims have paid.” These fraudsters typically spent the victims’ money at clubhouses or parties.

As technology advanced, people also advanced in their operational schemes. Better access to personal laptops increased the number of fraudsters and it also increased access to the victims (who they refer to as clients). The fraudsters devised different and creative means to scam their victims using technology. This rapid increase in technology, combined with a lack of available jobs, has made many Nigerian students question the value of studying traditional academics. Few Nigerian people that believed in themselves and pursued higher education saw any job offers after school. This escalated the rate of 419 acts in Nigerian society. Everybody now knows the economic situation of the country is not favorable and that good-paying jobs are scarce. By investing their time in developing creative and diverse means of scamming foreigners on the internet, they have a greater likelihood of being able to earn a living.

Nigeria is one of the most corrupt nations in Africa and Nigerians learn from this example and have created a culture in which everybody wants to fill his/her pocket before thinking of others (Brody, et al, 2020). Also no authority is independent and fair in its judgment. The government creates a legal or political body to create money for themselves instead of eradicating corruption and other abysmal activities in the country. The Nigerian Government sets a tone of corruption and fails to punish or eradicate criminal behavior, criminals are set free after paying bribes. This “tone at the top” unfortunately sets an example that the rest of the country follows.

419 scammers in Nigeria are young and are between the ages of 15 and 55 years (Brody, et al, 2020). They typically enter this illegal business at a very tender age. Some perpetrators of these illegal acts are being trained by their masters during their undergraduate studies. They implement these scams as full-time work as soon as they complete their degree program because of the high rate of unemployment in the labor market. 95 per cent of the 419 scammers in Nigeria are male. They often create fake social media pages, with pictures of beautiful ladies (often without the ladies’ knowledge) to commit their ruses on the victims. Once the victims have been scammed, the fake account will be shut down by the scammers who will then open another fake account to catch another “fish”. Formerly, most of the scammers were unemployed and they perpetrated 419 scams to earn a living, nowadays also educated individuals like engineers, lawyers, and medical doctors are engaged in these scams. The perpetrators have a high level of patience. Scammers wait for long periods for their deals to mature. They send friend requests to many foreigners via social media and sometimes target reputable individuals abroad. They take their time for these people to accept their requests. It sometimes takes the perpetrator more than a year to swindle their victims. The perpetrators frequently live an extravagant life, they do not have savings, rather they buy luxurious and expensive cars, jewelry and clothing. They move from one party to another spending money lavishly expecting that more money will be coming into their account. Some categories of people fall into victimhood out of sympathy. The scammer often deceives his or her client (victim) to collect valuable things from him or her by lying that one of his immediate family members has had a fatal accident and they need money to carry out a surgical operation. Upon hearing this, the thought of helping such a person will strike the “client” mind and this will result in the victim sending huge amounts of money to carry out the bogus operation. The victims are comprised equally of both genders, 50 per cent are female and 50 per cent are male. These scammers believe that females generally are easily deceived because of their caring and flexible hearts and that male clients are easy targets because of their desire to attract the attention of beautiful ladies.

Action Principle No 9. Knowledge sharing

Scientific research

The African continent represents 20 percent of the earth’s surface and is home to 1.3 billion people—likely reaching 2.53 billion people by 2050. It boasts 60 percent of the world’s arable lands, large swathes of forests, 30 percent of the world’s reserve of minerals, and the youngest population of any continent. Yet, despite these riches, it produces only 3 percent of global GDP, accounts for less than 3 percent of international trade (mainly primary commodities and natural resources), and shoulders 25 percent of the global disease burden. The picture is particularly bleak when it comes to research and innovation: Africa contributes just 2 percent of world research output, accounts for only 1.3 percent of research spending, and produces 0.1 percent of all patents (Gurib-Fakim and Signé, 2022). How can a continent that has fueled the world’s industrial revolutions, that helped drive the dominance of the mobile phone industry, and whose large store of rare earth minerals are integral to the global green energy transition tolerate such dismal statistics (Gurib-Fakim and Signé, 2022)?

A lack of investment in science and technology has undermined Africa’s economic transformation at both the structural level (the shift of workers and resources from low- to higher-productivity sectors) and the sectoral level (the growth of productivity within sectors) (Gurib-Fakim and Signé, 2022). This lack of investment has had far-reaching consequences: Without the economic and scientific infrastructure necessary for innovation, the continent has continued to rely on the colonial development model of resource extraction, which is both unsustainable and largely responsible for its debilitating poverty and aid dependency (Gurib-Fakim and Signé, 2022). These challenges have been compounded by economic fragmentation, as smaller markets constrain the long-term investments and patient capital that would foster innovation and drive technology transfer in the context of globalization (Gurib-Fakim and Signé, 2022). The silver lining is that there is potential here with growing recognition by policymakers of the role that science and technology can play in achieving national development goals and transforming Africa’s economic growth story. Moreover, given the positive correlation between growth and environments that beget competition and innovation, competitiveness must be fostered (Gurib-Fakim and Signé, 2022).


Thus, African countries must create an enabling environment through pro-innovation, pro-science, and pro-technology policies dedicated to overcoming barriers related to regulation, corruption, and investment, while enabling private-sector innovation, adaptation, and adoption. At the same time, African governments must also invest in creating an ecosystem that facilitates investment in science and technology in a way that will not just accelerate discovery but allow innovations to enter the marketplace more quickly (Gurib-Fakim and Signé, 2022).

The tide of Africa’s brain drain must be reversed by creating a world-class education and research infrastructure that will keep the best minds on the continent and attract new ones (Gurib-Fakim and Signé, 2022). Bridging the skills deficiency gap in science, technology, and innovation is vital to unlocking Africa’s potential and accelerating economic growth and prosperity. The best-trained, most talented researchers gravitate to environments where their work is leveraged by modern equipment, reliable utilities, and sufficient funding for supplies—and, perhaps most critically, where they can benefit from the presence of other talented people. Thus, the tide of Africa’s brain drain must be reversed by creating a world-class education and research infrastructure that will keep the best minds on the continent and attract new ones. Already, South Africa leads the way here, with a robust research system comprised of excellent universities and science facilities that allow it to be a full-fledged contributor to the global scientific community and an integral participant in international collaborations. As human talent is developed across the continent, investment in research, science, and innovation will increase dramatically across various sectors, including manufacturing, which will be a significant factor in helping Africa realize its development potential and narrow its income and welfare gaps. In fact, business-to-business spending in manufacturing in Africa is projected to reach $1 trillion by 2050—a trend that creates a massive opportunity for the continent’s overall growth. Creating an ecosystem where scientific culture can be central to economic transformation and policymaking decisions is a long-term investment that must not be at the mercy of either political or business cycles. Success will require effective tripartite (public-private-academia) collaborations and partnerships that will need to be sustained over time. If Africa can do this in the era of the African Continental Free Trade Area, the benefits of science, technology, and innovation can be marshaled for greater economic, social, and environmental sustainability, both on the continent and beyond. As human talent is developed across the continent, investment in research, science, and innovation will increase dramatically across various sectors, including manufacturing, which will be a significant factor in helping Africa realize its development potential and narrow its income and welfare gaps (Gurib-Fakim and Signé, 2022)..

Scientific equipment

Wild, S.( 2018)

Wild, S.( 2018) African scientists are caught in a resources bind. High-tech science needs infrastructure, but that costs money – and scientific equipment is not high on African countries’ spending agenda.This puts scientists and researchers in a catch-22: if they want funding, they have to show the practical application of their work. To do this, they need equipment, which does not come cheap.Those who are successful have to find ways to circumnavigate these resource blockages – something that competitors in better resourced locales do not have to do.Take the case of space science and ionospheric research.High-frequency radio remains a communications staple of the African continent, and is an integral part of aviation and defence. But its accuracy depends on a charged layer of the Earth’s atmosphere, the ionosphere.This form of communication involves “bouncing” radio waves off the ionosphere, and allows people to send signals and information to the other side of the Earth, rather than relaying it via satellites.But the ionosphere is not static: it distorts and changes with the vagaries of the sun. Space weather, and the ionosphere, depends on what the sun is doing, and the magnetised emissions it produces. What this means in practical terms that we need accurate models of the ionosphere to send these high-frequency communications to the correct locations. The same is true for GPS, as the satellite signal needs to travel through the ionosphere to get to Earth.John Bosco Habarulema, a space scientist at the South African National Space Agency (Sansa), has dedicated his career to understanding how the ionosphere behaves over Africa. His doctorate specifically looked at the Southern African Development Community. “[But] when I started expanding it over the entire African continent, then I found that some of the instrumentation [needed to take ionospheric measurements] was not there or was inadequate,” he says.One way of characterising the ionosphere is through electron density. When an atom becomes charged, it loses electrons, which are negatively charged particles. Scientists are able to predict how signals will be distorted based on the density of the electrons in that part of the atmosphere. An ionoson is the primary instrument for measuring the ionosphere, and the four ionosons in South Africa are the only continuously operating instruments of their kind on the continent, says Habarulema. There are also ionosons in other countries, such as Kenya, Ethiopia and Nigeria, but they are often out of commission. “That’s the main problem: we do not have data collecting infrastructure. At first, I was basing my research on the instruments that were in southern Africa, but when I started expanding it over the entire African continent, then I found that some of the instrumentation was not available,” he says.

Consequently, Habarulema had to find ways to work around this infrastructure gap.He has been using satellites and signal receiving stations to supplement the lack of local data, and to model the behaviour of the ionosphere over the continent.In 2016, he was awarded an American Geophysical Union award for his contribution to the field of space science. The union said at the time: “He is a role model for young African scientists and is very actively involved in supporting young scientists and improving the science infrastructure across the African continent.”But that is what is often required of local scientists wanting to do necessary research on the African continent: they have to be exceptional. They have to find ways to work around challenges that their colleagues in more developed milieus do not.While space science and space weather might seem somewhat esoteric, there are other more well-known fields of science that are also languishing. For example, meteorology, which is fundamental in determining weather patterns and predictions, is another highly under-resourced discipline.According to the World Bank, it would take US$1-billion to modernise the continent’s infrastructure. It claims that only 10 out of the continent’s 54 countries have adequate meteorological services and that fewer than 300 weather stations meet the World Meteorological Organisation’s observation standards.Not being able to accurately determine the weather, both retrospectively and predicting into the future, has consequences. The continent is expected to be the worst hit by climate change, according to the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.But African scientists will struggle to make a contribution to climate modelling and discussions if they do not have data to work with. Governments, lacking their own locally relevant data, will battle to deal with current extreme weather events and predict future ones. Farmers take fewer risks and plant fewer seeds, out of fear that possible extreme weather – whether that is drought or flooding – could wipe out an entire crop and with it their investment.However when it comes to scientific research, as Habarulema has shown, scientists are often able to make a plan. They collaborate with international partners, the access donor funding, although this comes with the tether of donor obligations and the danger of foreign-set science agendas. In short, these scientists have to become fundraisers, ambassadors and role models.Kelly Chibale, who has a research chair in drug discovery at the University of Cape Town, told Engineering News that scientific progress on the continent was hampered by a lack of investment in world-class scientific infrastructure. “Many science graduates in Africa are unemployed and the situation is getting worse. Those who can successfully opt to find science jobs overseas do so,” he said. There was a need to provide infrastructure and “fund talented African scientists based in Africa to success, rather than just survive”.But as these examples show, while scientists can sometimes make a plan, those downstream can’t. Scientific infrastructure is not a collection of toys for people to tinker and play with. Because it is high-technology equipment, it is framed as being elitist.Africa needs evidence-based science, from farmers through to industrialists to governments An investment in equipment is an investment in generating evidence, not just upgrading scientists’ careers.


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