|Whether it is computers in the classroom or new drugs in emergency situations, effective technology transfer is essential for developing countries. Photo Credit: Flickr|
The 2007 Commitment to Development Index, produced annually by the Washington-based think-tank Center for Global Development (CGD), compares support provided to developing countries by 21 high-income, industrialized nations.
CGD analyzed seven policy areas — environment, aid, trade, investment, migration, security and technology — each contributing equally to the overall ranking.
In the area of technology, the ranking considers policies supporting the creation and transfer of innovations of value to developing countries, such as medical technologies.
Policies forcing developing countries to rigidly abide by intellectual property rules negatively affected a country's ranking.
France, whose government spends one per cent of its gross domestic product on research and development, finished at the top in terms of technology aid, while Canada, whose policies on intellectual property are the least restrictive, placed second. Japan came third.
The United States ranked fourteenth because it has pressured poor nations not to issue compulsory licensing — allowing cheaper versions of drugs under patent to be produced for emergency situations — even for the public interest.
"The goal of the report is to push rich countries to give developing countries more assistance, by which I mean not just giving more foreign aid," says David Roodman, a research fellow at CGD and organizer of the index.
But Hu Guangyu, a researcher of aid policies at Tsinghua University in China, says the higher ranking of some nations in terms of technological aid does not necessarily lead to more effective technology transfer.
"The goal of the report is to push rich countries to give developing countries more assistance."
The Netherlands ranked highest in the overall index, due to its large aid donations, efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and support for investment in developing countries.
Japan ranked the lowest because of the relatively small size of its aid contributions and tight regulations on the import of goods and immigration from poorer countries.
Contributed by Jia Hepeng, an award-winning science journalist and the China regional coordinator for SciDev.net. Reprinted with permission from SciDev.net.
To read another Global Envision article about technology innovations in developing countries, see Technology Transfer for the Poor.
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