Part 2: Issues in Sustainable Development

Environmentally Sound Technologies  

SummaryEnvironmentally Sound Technologies

“Environmentally Sound Technologies” (ESTs) refers specifically to technologies that improve environmental outcomes. Technological development as whole in Africa however is lagging, and the lack of local capacity means that current research is not adequately directed to Africa’s environmental problems.

Main Idea

Research and development can be directed toward sustainability goals

Key Concepts

      • Technology transfer
      • Pollution-reducing technologies
      • Promoting information and communication technologies
      • Directing research and development towards sustainability


Knowledge of

      • communications technologies
      • pollution–reducing technologies

Understanding of

      • the role of technological progress
      • the problem of directing research and development towards sustainability goals
      • the necessity of innovation and technology for Africa’s development
      • the need for investment in human capital

Ability to

      • describe examples of transportation and agriculture ESTs

Core Readings

  1. Making New Technologies Work for Human Development, pages 1-8 Overview of role technological progress has played in development during the last decade and the problem of directing research and development towards sustainability goals (8 pages)
  2. Africa’s Response: Science, Technology and Innovation for Meeting
    Key MDGs

    Description of how necessary innovation and technology is to Africa’s development and topics such as the brain drain and investment in human capital where there is room for improved policies (3 pages)

Sustainability Strategies

Supplemental Readings

  1. Transfer of Environmentally Sound Technology, Cooperation, and Capacity Building
    Defines ESTs and calls for national governments to take actions to promote technology transfer (7 pages)
  2. Building Science, Technology, and Innovation Systems for Sustainable Development in Africa
    Discussion of need for better government promotion of scientific research and innovation through higher education and industrial policies (47 pages)
  3. Economic Commission for Africa Science and Technology Network (
    Links to African scientific publications and organizations

Assignment Questions

  1. ESTs: Find three examples in the readings of technological innovations that have had major impacts on human well-being or environmental sustainability.
  2. ESTs: What factors influence the focus of scientific research globally?
  3. ESTs: What particular problems with encouraging technological innovation are relevant in Africa?