This presentation examines science communication in an African context: what and where it is being researched, as well as the possible future of the field on the continent. There are a number of trends observed since PCST-2002 in South Africa: The majority of African contributions have been from South Africa; presentations regarding „outreach‟ IKS and cultural diversity, „promoting MST‟ and „Academic studies‟ „science journalism/communication‟ have dominated; with South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya identified as the three leading countries in Africa where science communication is both practiced and researched. Published academic articles show the following features: Scientific literacy is a topic that several researchers have investigated in the 1980s and 90s, although a number of African academics have contested whether a universal scientific literacy is appropriate for non-western audiences. Several surveys of public opinion of science were conducted over the period 1991 to 2006 in South Africa and are reported in the paper. While there is relatively little published literature available from other African countries, several countries have carried out surveys of the public‟s attitudes towards biotechnology, especially with respect to GMOs in both Nigeria and Kenya. These show the need for better communication so that the public can make informed decisions. The paper ends with suggestions regarding the future of the science communication field in sub-Saharan Africa so that it can contribute substantially to Africa‟s advancement, as well as contribute more fully to science communication worldwide.

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The state of research into science communication in sub-Saharan Africa.

Anthony Lelliott   University of the Witwatersrand

This presentation examines science communication in an African context: what and where it is being researched, as well as the possible future of the field on the continent. There are a number of trends observed since PCST-2002 in South Africa: The majority of African contributions have been from South Africa; presentations regarding „outreach‟ IKS and cultural diversity, „promoting MST‟ and „Academic studies‟ „science journalism/communication‟ have dominated; with South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya identified as the three leading countries in Africa where science communication is both practiced and researched. Published academic articles show the following features: Scientific literacy is a topic that several researchers have investigated in the 1980s and 90s, although a number of African academics have contested whether a universal scientific literacy is appropriate for non-western audiences. Several surveys of public opinion of science were conducted over the period 1991 to 2006 in South Africa and are reported in the paper. While there is relatively little published literature available from other African countries, several countries have carried out surveys of the public‟s attitudes towards biotechnology, especially with respect to GMOs in both Nigeria and Kenya. These show the need for better communication so that the public can make informed decisions. The paper ends with suggestions regarding the future of the science communication field in sub-Saharan Africa so that it can contribute substantially to Africa‟s advancement, as well as contribute more fully to science communication worldwide.

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