The African Engineer and the challenges of sustainable development on the continent

  • Professor E. A. Wright Dean of Engineering, University of Zimbabwe, P.O. Box MP 167, Mt. Pleasant, Harare.


Globalisation is a reality. As such, the saying that "no man is an island" is as true today as it has ever been. Hence, whether we like it or not, the next several decades will continue to see man being judged by his/her contribution to global progress. In passing the inevitable judgement one would also have to look to the past, and, in a way, also judge man's past achievements. Sadly, it appears that the African has not taken the lead in contributing to modern trappings of human progress - the motor vehicle, telecommunications, the computer, wonder drugs, air and space travel, electrical power, etc. The question then is: why is this so? There are of course several reasons for this. One in particular comes in the form of another question: are African engineers being educated to be able to make meaningful contributions to sustainable development in the continent, and for that matter in the global arena? This paper will examine some contemporary thoughts directed at not only highlighting some major reasons for the absence of "flamboyant" contributions from African engineers, but also discuss some initiatives launched to address these issues. Overall, the paper will pose several important challenges to the African engineer, including the determination of value and "the African engineer in society".

The Zimbabwe Science News Volume 35 (3+ 4) 2001, pp. 73-78

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1016-1503