Thought and Practice: A Journal of the Philosophical Association of Kenya

Volume 8, Issue 1, June 2022

Joseph Situma, Beneah M. Mutsotso
Pages 27-49

The Factor of Knowledge Implementation and the Development Status of Sub-Saharan African Countries

Sub-Saharan African (SSA) countries have generally remained relatively poor for many decades, despite various internal and external measures. Every year, African governments conceive and implement poverty reduction and eradication policies, and multi-lateral agencies and developed countries provide development assistance to enable SSA countries achieve their development goals. This article utilises systems theory to advance the thesis that sub-Saharan countries’ failure to develop is, to a significant extent, a consequence of poor knowledge utilisation. The significance of knowledge utilisation arises from the fact that in modern society, differentiation is pronounced and each sphere requires special knowledge for optimal outcomes. However, in sub-Saharan countries, knowledge is largely utilised to secure the vulgar goals of the political elite. When knowledge is perceived to require policies that are in disharmony with those goals, it is not utilised. This paper demonstrates that the selective under-utilisation of knowledge accounts for the failure of sub-Saharan countries to realise their development goals. The analysis concludes that while in his Social Systems Niklas Luhmann conceived society to be a constituent of systems and sub-systems that work to enable it to maintain and renew itself, in SSA countries dysfunctional political systems impede the process of self-maintenance and self-renewal. As such, Sub-Saharan states must re-orient to utilise knowledge correctly.