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Hassan Hachem: "Southern South technology transfers, key to Africa's development"

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For a long time, Africa occupied a marginal part of the world economy. It was considered an annex of the former European colonizing nations and a non-strategic sphere influence for the United States. But since the take off of the so-called emerging countries, things have changed: the latter, in search of outlets for their know-how, their technology and their products, have developed unprecedented economic relations with Africa.

This continent has been offered, for the first time, almost balanced exchanges in which the African country is considered as a partner with whom we treat as equals and no longer as a mere secondary market where we dispatch a qualified and overpaid work force on an ad hoc basis and from which the mission is withdrawn, without worrying about a transfer of significant know-how. Africa expert, at the same time serial entrepreneur of the continent, Hassan Hachem born in Senegal, gives us his point of view. Today, most African countries find themselves in an unprecedented situation in which they can finally get balanced exchanges because companies of all origins wish to work with them: the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) , the famous Asian tigers, the next 11 (eleven countries including Bangladesh, Indonesia, Iran, Mexico, Pakistan, the Philippines, Turkey, South Korea and Vietnam) knocking on the door Africa to offer co-development agreements, in which the latter can finally obtain what it has been seeking for years: TOT (transfer of technologies), know-how and sustainable presence of companies in their territory.

According to Hassan Hachem, technology transfer is one of the most important aspects. At the scale of the history of the world economy, the last two centuries are an exception. Never before has a handful of countries managed to retain control of technology for so long as an instrument of economic domination. Usually, when a technology appears, it spreads naturally and gradually throughout the world. The virtual monopoly on technology of countries like the United States, Great Britain, France, Russia, Germany and more recently, Japan is historically abnormal. A country can use its technological advance for a limited time before it disappears as technology spreads. Today, under the impetus of the so-called emerging countries, technology is spreading rapidly around the world and the situation is normalizing, from a historical point of view. Africa is benefiting from this return to normalcy.

In the beginning of the 2000s, when we talked about South-South technology transfer, we imagined "low-end" transfers. According to Hassan Hachem "Today, the situation has changed because many countries have an economic interest in spreading their technology in Africa. If China has made such a spectacular breakthrough on this continent, it is thanks to competitive prices, but also because it brings know-how and technologies. But it is perhaps between African countries that is the most successful form of South-South technology transfer. I am thinking in particular of the role of Morocco in this area, which largely exports its know-how in Sub-Saharan Africa and not only in French-speaking countries. "

"I have been involved in several technology transfer projects in which a southern company wins a deal in another African country by creating a local production subsidiary to stay on the ground. I must say that this type of project is particularly important to me because it is part of a sustainable development approach for the host country, "enthuses Hassan Hachem.

It will take time for Africa to catch up, but in a globalized economy that is self-evident and has many pitfalls in particular, ecologically (depletion of natural resources, disappearance of many species , pollution of all kinds ...), we can congratulate ourselves that globalization helps to get some countries out of the rut by redistributing some cards ...


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