MICRO: Describe the various (capital, social) investments into African universities as raised by this analyst.


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Angela Okune's picture
September 10, 2018
  • AO: The analyst looks at the values of serving the “public good” that were fulfilled through the development of HPV vaccines by US government scientists.

  • AO: The analyst noted the importance of collaboration because of need for interdisciplinary knowledges to tackle the problem: “Schiller and Lowy’s absence of formal training in either vaccinology or clinical trial design, and the NCI’s lack of experience in producing biologicals, created barriers that necessitated collaboration outside of their laboratory” (9).

Angela Okune's picture
June 15, 2018

Page 9 of this World Bank brief showcasing Bridge International emphasizes the shared values between Bridge International (a private for-profit tech start-up) and the IFC. The excerpt from the brief (pasted below) also highlights the shared emphasis on scale (which is a requisite for the growth of capital). Here we see the increased convergence between World Bank and Silicon Valley logics, with Silicon Valley perhaps increasingly better placed to export neoliberalism to parts of the global South (especially in the aftermath of critiques of development from the 1980s).

"By 2013 Bridge had opened 213 academies across Kenya, reached 57,000 students, recruited and trained over 2,000 people, and attracted investments from the Omidyar Network, Learn Capital and NEA. The organization knew it would need additional capital and investors if it wanted to continue to improve learning outcomes and expand beyond Kenya. So Bridge leadership sought investors that shared its goals. Bridge approached IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, to become a lead investor with a $10 million investment as part of an equity fundraising. Beyond seed financing, Bridge was also looking for advice in addressing the regulatory challenges that come with cross-border expansion. In addition to IFC, Bridge brought on other key investors such as the U.K.’s CDC, Novastar, PanAfrican Investment, Rethink Education, as well as high profile individuals like Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg. Bridge also got a loan from the U.S.’s Overseas Private Investment Corporation."

Angela Okune's picture
June 8, 2018

Ferguson argues against the assumption that the academy as a social institution is always secondary to and derivative of state and capital. Instead, he demonstrates how power enlisted the academy as "conduits for conveying forms of political economy to state and capital based on an abstract rather than redistributive valorization of minority difference and culture" (9).

Angela Okune's picture
May 25, 2018

It is particularly interesting to note that the "Afrocentric" models which emerge later in the 1980s and 90s in fact appear to echo what British policy in the 1920s/30s was about: substituting a "purely literary education" (from the British context) for one that is more adapted to local context and environment. Africans in the 1930s rejected that as a ploy to keep the Africans in their place (which was informed by the British experience in India).

"There was also widespread agreement both in Whitehall and amongst colonial officials serving in the colonies on the need to adapt the curriculum in African schools to bring it into line with the local environment and culture. As L.S. Amery, the Colonial Secretary, remarked at the Imperial Conference in 1926, it was the policy of the British Government to substitute a purely literary education, which was really only suitable for the environment of somewhere like Great Britain, for a type of education that would give the native an understanding of his own environment and cultural setting. Not surprisingly, many Africans, especially in the 1930s, rejected the adaptation argument as a ploy to ‘keep them in their place’. Theirs was an argument that was difficult to refute although there are sound reasons for claiming that British policy was motivated more by the Indian experience than by any premeditated desire to subjugate Africans. Moreover, by the 1920s, government officials were far more aware, as a result of the Indian experience, of the problems engendered by culture conflict. In Whitehall and in Africa there were widespread fears amongst colonial officials that African tribal society might collapse in the face of Western influence. It was, therefore, thought important to control and if possible slow the process of socioeconomic change."