Technological Change and Skill Development: The case of Sudan

Samia S. O. M. Nour , Khartoum University; Visiting research fellow at UNU-MERIT

This research discusses the need for skill development and interaction with technological change in the Sudan. We recognise upskilling as a necessary condition for the fulfilment of economic stabilization, balanced development, economic diversification, technological development, reducing poverty alleviation, reducing unemployment and restructuring of the labour market. We find that the interaction between the deficient educational system – at the macro level – and the high incidence of unskilled workers – at the micro level – leads to low skill and technology levels, poor provision of training, severe skills mismatch, low transfer of knowledge, high dependence on foreign technologies at the macro and micro levels and poor industrial performance at the micro level. We explain that the poor technological capability can be attributed to low R&D efforts, lack of R&D culture, low skill levels, lack of resources, transfer of knowledge and co-operation between universities and firms. We find that the performance of the industrial firms is most probably immensely undermined by the shortage of skilled workers and also by the lack of entrepreneur perspective and lack of entrepreneur culture. We show the low commitment to the standardised international adequacy, equity and efficiency criterion related to the supply and demand sides of education and training policies in Sudan. We present supply-demand analysis of the causes and consequences of low s kills and technology levels and the link between them at both the macro and micro levels. We fill the gap in the Sudanese literature by highlighting the importance of external effects of schooling and the transfer of knowledge and examining the factors hindering and those contributing toward enhancing the transfer of knowledge. Our results show a surprising contradicting view and inconsistency concerning the incidence and transfer of knowledge at the macro-micro levels.

About the speaker
Dr. Samia Satti Osman Mohamed Nour is a Visiting Research Fellow (and former Ph.D. Fellow) at UNU-MERIT, School of Business and Economics, Maastricht University, the Netherlands. She is an Assistant Professor of Economics at the Department of Economics, Faculty of Economic and Social Studies, Khartoum University, Sudan (currently on sabbatical leave). At the Department of Economics, Khartoum University, she teaches Macroeconomics, Labour Economics, Development Economics and Industrial Economics for the B.SC. (undergraduate class) and Microeconomics for the M.Sc. (postgraduate class). She holds a Ph.D. in Economics from Maastricht University, the Netherlands (2005), a M.Sc. in Economics from Khartoum University, Sudan (1999) and a B.Sc. (First Class Honours) in Economics from Khartoum University, Sudan (1994). During her present stay as a visiting resea rch fellow at UNU-MERIT), School of Business and Economics, Maastricht University between October 2010 and October 2011, she is currently working on a postdoctoral research project entitled "Technological change and skills development: the case of Sudan". Her present research project is consistent with the UNU-MERIT Thematic Research Project 2 on: The role of technology in growth and development. Her present research project is supported and fully sponsored by a grant offered by the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development Distinguished Scholar Awards and Post-Doctoral Fellowships Program, the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development (AFESD), Kuwait. Dr. Samia's main research interests are in the fields of Economics, Economics of Technical Change, Labour Economics, Macroeconomics, Microeconomics, Development Economics, Human Capital Development, Endogenous Growth and Knowledge Economy.

Venue: UNU-MERIT Conference Room

Date: 27 September 2011

Time: 16:00 - 17:00  CET