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Culture and the Challenges of Development in Africa: Towards A Hybridization of Traditional and Modern Values

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Development is a multi-dimensional process involving changes in structures, altitudes and institutions as well as the acceleration of economic growth, reduction of inequality and eradication of absolute poverty. However, the paper argues that the cultural dimension is a long-neglected aspect of development; the challenge, therefore, lies in fostering a synergistic development between science and technology and cultural values. What is essential is how to take culture into account both scientifically (methods and data) and practically. Because people do not commit themselves to a development undertaking unless that undertaking corresponds to their deeply felt needs, people should be able to derive the means and motivation for their development; the paper further stressed. This paper recommends a renaissance of applied cultural studies through the consolidation and generation of knowledge about (1) how cultural diversity affects what people do and want; (2) how cultural factor interact with other variables in the “production” of development, good or bad; and (3) how culture itself is affected by various kinds of development and other factors.

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