From Technology Transfer to Technology Absorption: Addressing Climate Technology Gaps in Africa

Despite many years of technology transfer to Africa under various mechanisms and programs of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Africa remains the continent with the lowest level of technology required for climate change mitigation and adaptation. Several studies on how to fix Africa’s climate technology needs, including policy prescriptions by African leaders, tend to focus primarily on the need for more technology transfer to the African continent. This paper emphasizes how African countries can do much more to address current technology gaps by removing local, institutional, regulatory and bureaucratic barriers to the smooth assimilation and deployment of climate technologies. The basic premise of this paper, therefore, is that the problematization of the lack of climate technology in Africa must move beyond current prevailing policy discourses on the need for increased technology transfer to Africa. The key barrier to climate technology diffusion across Africa is arguably not the lack of technology inflow to Africa; rather, it is the perennial inability of African states to absorb and assimilate transferred technology.