From extraction to knowledge reproduction: The impact of Australia’s development awards on Uganda and Mozambique

Rose Amazan, Joel Negin, Leanne Howie, Julian Wood

Abstract


With the renewed emphasis on higher education as an agent for development and economic growth, Australia has joined other Western countries in contributing to increasing the intellectual workforce of Africa[1].  While Australia has provided scholarships to Africans for more than three decades, since 2005, the Australian Government has dramatically increased its commitment to invest in Africa’s future by providing a series of development awards scholarships for Africans to advance their learning in priority areas including agriculture, food security, water and sanitation, public health, energy and resource management.  These scholarships are the largest component of Australia’s total aid to Africa.  However, very little empirical research has been done to determine the impact of Australia Africa Long Term scholarship awards (AALT).  This paper examines this new African intellectual workforce by presenting qualitative data from alumni engaging in this new flow of knowledge mobility.  Experiences of public health graduates of Australia scholarship awards from Uganda and Mozambique will be discussed.  Overall, we argue that that the Australia Africa scholarships program has a positive impact on alumni and is viewed favourably by Alumnis’ employers and their alumni’s families.  However, there are many challenges and struggles which can impede alumnis’ success in bringing forth the change they might envisage. Some of these factors include: finding a job at a suitable level, implementing their new knowledge, using their new skills and, generally, reintegrating into their home country (both socially and professionally).

[1] It is important to note here that ‘Africa’ is itself a construction; a geo-political entity that comprises of 54 countries and even more cultural groups. However, African perspectives may be a useful term albeit one that involves a certain amount of strategic generalization.

 


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