Technology Assessment in Developing Countries: A Proposed Methodology

Technology assessment (TA) is a well-established interdisciplinary methodology for assessing opportunities and risks of new technologies, mainly in developed countries. In many countries, its emergence was embedded in a somewhat sceptical or concerned attitude towards technologies, with possibly far-reaching impacts, such as the use of nuclear energy to generate electricity. However, new technologies also have huge potential to help reconcile economic, social and environmental development goals. Technological innovations can contribute to many of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). TA is a crucial tool that helps assess the pros and cons of a given technological development; informs policymakers; induces public dialogues and debates; and helps frame supportive policies and instruments. Developing countries need to know in advance about the features of new technologies and their possible impacts. This document summarizes the existing knowledge about TA processes and good practices and reflects on these in the context of the current conditions in African and other developing countries. This paper proposes a step-by-step approach to TA. There is little experience with TA implementation in the context of sub-Saharan Africa and in developing countries in general. Therefore, the document is supported largely with analogies and experiences from other regions, especially Europe and North America.