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Call for abstracts: Harnessing Nanotechnology for Inclusive Sustainable Development in Africa


The promises made on behalf of nanotechnology are wide-ranging and far-reaching. The early results of nanotechnology – the products and processes developed thus far and the conceptual scientific credibility of the promises amply indicate that nanotechnology is loaded with the potential to change everything from the food we eat to the clothes we put on, from the way we treat diseases to the way we combat poverty, from the way we produce artefacts to the way we source our energy. Nanotechnology is hailed as the beneficial catalyst in achieving the MDGs, and now the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) in the post-2015 framework and is directly correlated to seven of the eight goals. It is widely held as a general purpose technology ‘looking for a problem’.

Africa cannot afford not to use nanotechnology in tackling the socio-economic malaises gripping her people. The advent of nanotechnology offers Africa a ‘window of opportunity’ for technological catch-up if Africa duly engages with the phenomenon. Some even argue that such modern technologies should not just be affordable but also extremely affordable to create ‘value for money and for many’.   

Africa needs to quickly follow and converge with those countries and regions with advanced nanotechnology. For this to materialise, the development of enabling policies, organizations and institutions for harnessing the potentials of nanotechnology is crucial. Africa needs to overcome the real and perceived challenges and distractions. The challenges of engaging high techno-science are no longer insurmountable and opportunities that were unavailable during the development of previous technologies such as biotechnology are now available to developing countries. The consequences of failure to seize this opportunity would be disastrous to African economies as the technology is highly disruptive. For Africa, early engagement with the technology is critical if Africa is to avoid the grim prospect of relegation to irrelevance to the global economy. 

The African Centre for Technology Studies (ACTS) invites researchers, academics and practitioners working on the areas of nanotechnology and related emerging technologies, science and technology studies, technology management, technology policy, ethics, law, regulation and governance and other disciplines to submit abstracts for a book publication.  

Within the thematic spread of the book proposal, potential topics for abstracts include, but are not limited to, the following areas:

  • Nanotechnology applications for health, agriculture, energy, mining, environmental protection and remediation in Africa
  • Nanotechnology for poverty alleviation and sustainable economic growth – Nanotechnology for Development (Nano4D)
  • Nanotechnology as disruptive technology and issues of safety net provision
  • Barriers and obstacles to nanotechnology development and deployment in Africa
  • Nanotechnology education and nanotechnology workforce development in Africa
  • Policy, ethics, legal, regulatory and governance issues relating to nanotechnology development in Africa
  • Development cooperation and aid vis-a-vis nanotechnology solutions for African problems

Extended abstract proposals of not more than 1500 words (exclusive of keywords and references) should be submitted electronically to Dr Cosmas Ochieng at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and Dr Hailemichael T. Demissie at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by 30 February, 2015. Abstracts should include the name/s of author/s, title of paper, institutional affiliation, and contact information (mailing address, phone number, and email address).