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A comparative analysis of global north and global south economies

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Abstract

In this paper the argument is that there are broadly two economic worlds that cut across the globe, these are the Global North and the Global South. That while, the Global North represent the economically developed societies of Europe, North America, Australia, Israel, South Africa, amongst others, the Global South represents the economically backward countries of Africa, India, China, Brazil, Mexico amongst others. While Global North countries are wealthy, technologically advanced, politically stable and aging as their societies tend towards zero population growth the opposite is the case with Global South countries. While Global South countries are agrarian based, dependent economically and politically on the Global North, the Global North has continued to dominate and direct the global south in international trade and politics.
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A COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS OF GLOBAL NORTH AND GLOBAL SOUTH ECONOMIES
Lemuel Ekedegwa Odeh
ABSTRACT
In this paper the argument is that there are broadly two economic worlds that cut across the globe, these are
the Global North and the Global South. That while, the Global North represent the economically developed
societies of Europe, North America, Australia, Israel, South Africa, amongst others, the Global South
represents the economically backward countries of Africa, India, China, Brazil, Mexico amongst others.
While Global North countries are wealthy, technologically advanced, politically stable and aging as their
societies tend towards zero population growth the opposite is the case with Global South countries. While
Global South countries are agrarian based, dependent economically and politically on the Global North, the
Global North has continued to dominate and direct the global south in international trade and politics.
Key Words: Human Development, Levels of Productivity, Population Growth, Dependency Burden, Export
INTRODUCTION
Economics is essentially the study of a process we find in all human societies - “the” economic problem. The
problem is simply the process of providing for the material and well being of society. Thus, economic history
focuses on the central problem of survival and how mankind has solved that problem. Man, generally, is an
economic animal who is constantly engaged in activities that would improve his economic situation. The
countries of the globe have faced the challenges of improving the economic realities in their domains over
time. These challenges have been seen in the development realm.
Development can be understood from the point of continued advancement of man towards good living standards.
Modern concept of development has its roots from the emergence of industrialization in Western Europe in the
mid 18th century. By 1945, after World War II, scholarly interest in development economics heightened. This
made it possible to explore the economic conditions / development levels among nations on the globe. Thus,
scholars were able to establish that economic development is not even world over. Other countries or societies are
more developed than others. At first, scholars looked at macro-economic issues in determining the development
of societies; however, as time went on, in the 1980s, scholars approached in assessing the development level of a
society shifted to micro-economic issues. Thus, the human development index, which basically is concerned with
Journal of Sustainable Development in Africa (Volume 12, No.3, 2010)
ISSN: 1520-5509
Clarion University of Pennsylvania, Clarion, Pennsylvania
339
individual’s poverty levels, became a major concern of development scholars, wishing to determine the level of
development of individual societies on the globe.
Through this approach, it became apparent that there exist two major economic worlds on the globe: the
wealthy and the poor worlds, respectively. In this essay, it is our desire to draw a distinction between these
two economic worlds using few variables to include levels of productivity, population growth and dependency
burden, agricultural production, exports, and international relations.
CONCEPTUAL AND THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK
Many scholars have examined the concept of poverty in different angles. The problems always faced by scholars
in conceptualizing poverty are the questions of who are the poor and at what level is poverty defined? And what
can be used in measuring poverty? These questions have made scholars adopt the Human Development Index
(HDI) as the yard stick for measuring poverty. The Human Development Index, thus, helps in defining or
determining who is poor and at what level is the individual poor. The HDI is measured in a population’s access to
facilities and services, which include the following: health, education, balanced nutrition, access to information
and communication technologies, access to justice, participation in decision making, wealth creation, etc.
The most ambitious attempt to analyze the comparative status of socio-economic development between
nations, systematically and comprehensively, has been undertaken by the United National Development
Program (UNDP) in its annual series of Human Development Reports. The center piece of these reports is the
construction and refinement of the Human Development Index (HDI). The HDI attempts to rank all countries
on a scale of O (lowest human to the (highest human development)) based on three goals or end products of
development, namely: longevity, as measured by life expectancy at birth; knowledge, as measured by a
weighted average of adult literacy (two-thirds), and mean years of schooling (one-third); and standard of
living, as measured by real per capital income adjusted for the differing purchasing power parity of each
courtier’s currency to reflect cost of living and for the assumption of diminishing marginal utility
income.(Kegley &Wittkopf , 1999)
Development is multidimensional; as such a precise definition of development is difficult to arrive at.
Development has shifting, understood variously by different people at various times. (Uroh, 1988) agreed with
this position when he asserted that “even within the same era, but under diverse ideological persuasions
meanings of development have come to vary”. (Ideyi 2005) sees development as a progressive growth in the
Gross National Product (GDP), or when per capital income experiences sustained growth, Ideyi, therefore,
sees development purely as an economic issue.
Kegley and Wittkkopf (1999) explain development as the process which a country increases its capacity to
meet its citizens basic human needs and raise their standard of living. From Kegley and Wittkkopf’s
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explanations of development it can be inferred that development has a relationship with poverty. Basically
development aims at either alleviating poverty or eradicating it. Agreeing with this position (Nnoli, 1981)
argue that development is a process leading to man’s progressive and quantitative self improvement. While
(Irele, 1993) sees development as the expanding and adaptive capacity of a society in satisfying the materials
and cultural needs of its members.
The essence of any development program is often to reduce poverty among a people so that people would
enjoy good living conditions. Development is the answer to poverty. A poverty stricken society can never be
said to be developed. Thus poverty means under-development while development means the absence or near
absence of poverty. If poverty can thus be equated with under development and development be equated with
the absence of poverty it can therefore be inferred that cut across the globe there are two major economic
worlds thus: the developed worlds of Europe and the underdeveloped worlds of the third world countries.
Until recently underdeveloped societies were mainly referred to as Third World Countries, and Less
Developed Countries. These Third World Countries or Less Developed Countries are usually associated to
countries of Africa, Asia and Latin America. Their major characteristics been a low level of economic and
political development, the tendency to keep themselves free from the influence of the capitalist world;
colonial experience which left them independent beginning especially from 1945 after the outbreak of the 2nd
World War when the clamor for self rule became intensified in most of the Third World Countries .
By 1945, after the World War II and when many of the colonized societies began to have their independence,
a lot of scholarly interest concerning development arose. This came about due to the glaring picture which
colonialism created thus making some societies very wealthy and leaving some very poor. Scholars interest in
comparative development caused the emergence of concepts such as “underdeveloped” and “developed”,
“metropole” and ‘satellite’ “centre” and “periphery” in an attempt and classifying societies according to the
level of their economic development. While “developed”, “metropole” and “centre” connote the developed
economies, “underdeveloped”, “satellite” and “periphery” implies undeveloped economies. However at the
end of the cold war in 1991, the concepts of Global North and Global South were introduced in the
comparative study on development among nations. While the Global North implies the developed economies,
the Global South implies the underdeveloped economies.
Four broad indicators distinguish global north economies from global south economies. These include politics,
technology, wealth and demography. While Global North are democratic, technologically inventive, wealthy
and aging, as their societies tend towards zero population growth, Global South economies posses the opposite
of the above. (Todaro and Smith, 2006) The Global North is made of the USA, UK, Japan, France, Spain,
Belgium, Israel, South Africa, Norway, Italy and Sweden. The Global South on the other hand comprises the
rest of Africa, India, Mexico, China, Brazil, Indonesia etc. While the Global North is characterized by massive
wealth, democratic governance, peace and stability and constantly prone to human progress, the Global South
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appear to be a zone of turmoil, war, conflict, poverty, anarchy and tyranny. Also institutional structures like
democratic reforms are quite at disparity in the Global North and South.
Global North and South Compared
In this sub-section of the paper, a comparative analysis of development between the north and south countries
will be examined using selected themes thus: levels of productivity, population growth and dependency
burdens, agricultural production, exports and international relations.
Levels of Productivity
There are low levels of living and deprivations in human development in the Global South countries. In
addition to this Global South countries are characterized by low levels of labor productivity throughout the
Global South countries levels of labor productivity (output per worker) are extremely low compared with
those in the Global North, (Todaro and Smith, 2006) argue that the concept of production function
systematically relating outputs to different combinations of factor inputs for a given technology is often used
in the way in which societies go about providing for their material needs. But the technical engineering
concept of a production function must be supplemented by a broader conceptualization that includes among its
other inputs managerial competence, access to information, worker motivation and institutional flexibility and
all these are almost lacking in the Global South countries. (Strauss and Thomas, 1988) argue that the workers
low productivity may be due largely to physical lethargy and the inability, both physical and emotional to
withstand the daily pressures of competitive work. Low productivity leads to low income, which can leads to
low capacity forward, and to low productivity, argues (Dasgupta and Ray,1987)
Population Growth and Dependency Burdens
The population of the world in the year 2004 was just over 6.4 billion people, of this number more than five-
sixths live in the Global South and less than one-sixth in the Global North. Still both birth and death rates are
strikingly different between the Global North and Global South. In Global North birth rates are low while in
the Global South birth rates are high. For Global North birth rates are on the order of 15-20 per 1,000
populations where as in the Global South they range from 30-40 per 1,000 populations.
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Table 1: Birth rates throughout the world, 2002
Crude Birth rate Countries
50 Nigeria, Mali, Somalia, Afghanistan, Angola.
45 Malawi, Liberia, Chad, Rwanda, Sierra Leone,
Congo (Dem. Rep.), Uganda, Burkina Faso, Gambia.
40 Burundi, Guinea, Senegal, Ethiopia, Tanzania,
Mozambique, Zambia, Benin Rep., Niger, Yemen.
35 Central Africa Republic, Laos, Pakistan, Gabon, Switzerland, Namibia, Kenya,
Togo, Sudan.
30 Honduras, Paraguay, Bolivia, Botswana, Jordan, Haiti, Nepal, Iraq, Bangladesh,
Syria, Paraguay, Zimbabwe.
25 Egypt, India, Cameroon, Libya, Cambodia, Myanmar, Philippine, EI Salvador,
South Africa, Venezuela.
20 Algeria, Costa Rica, Mexico, Vietnam, Peru, Colombia, Lebanon, Malaysia,
Kuwait, Indonesia, Panama, Sri Lanka, Argentina, Jamaica, Brazil, Iran.
15 United State, Australia, Ireland, South Korea, China, Thailand, Chile.
10 Canada, Cuba, Switzerland, Austria, Germany, Japan, Russia, Singapore.
Source: World Bank. World Development Indicators, 2004 (Washington, D.C. world Bank, 2004), tab 2.1.
Copyright (c) 2004 by the World Bank. Reprinted with permission of the World Bank via the clearance centre.
“Yearly number of live births per 1,000 populations.
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From the above table, it can be seen that all the countries that have highest birth rates ranging from 50-20 all
belong to Global South where as the countries with lowest birth rate 15-10 all belong to Global South.
The yearly number of deaths per 1,000 in the Global South is also higher than that found in the Global North.
The high birth rate in the global south has far reaching consequences. Children under age 15make up almost
40% of the total population in the Global South as opposed to less than 20% of the total population in the
Global North. Thus in the Global South, the active labour force has to support proportionally almost twice as
many children as it does in the Global North. By contrast, the proportion of the people over the age of 65 is
much greater in the Global North. Both older people and children are often referred to as an economic
dependence.
Dependency burden: This refers to the sense that they are non productive members of society and therefore
must be supported. The overall dependency burdens (i.e. both young and old) represents only about one-third
of the populations of Global North about almost 45% of the population of the Global South. (Dasgupta and
Ray, 1987)
Agricultural production: The Global South is characterized with a very high rate of people working in rural
areas and according to (Todaro, 2006) over 65% are rurally based, compared to less than 27% in the Global
North. Similarly 58 % of the labor force is engaged in agriculture, compared to only 50% in Global North.
Agriculture contributes about 14% of the GNI of Global South Nations but only 3% of the GNI of Global
North. Todaro further argued that people in the Global South countries concentrate on agricultural production
because since their incomes are low their first priorities are food, clothing, and shelter and also due to the
primitive nature of technologies, poor organization and limited physical and human capital inputs.
Exports
Many economies of the Global South are still geared towards the production of primary products which form
their main efforts to other nations. In 2000 the share of Global South exports in total world trade stood at
around 25 % (Uroh, 1988).
International Relations
The Global South is dependent on and vulnerable to the Global North. There is an unequal strength between
the Global North and the Global South. The Global North being stronger than the Global South, the unequal
strength between the two is manifested not only in the dominant power of the Global North to control the
pattern of international trade and agreement regulating it but also in their ability often to dictate the terms
whereby technology, foreign aid, and private capital are transferred to Global South. This has acted as a factor
in contributing to the persistence of low levels of living, rising unemployment, and growing income inequality
in the Global South compared to the Global North.
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Sustainable Development
Is a pattern of resource use that aims to meet human needs while preserving the environment so that these
needs can be met not only in the present, but also for future generations. The term was used by the Brundtland
Commission which coined what has become the most often-quoted definition of sustainable development as
development that "meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to
meet their own needs." Indigenous peoples have argued, through various international forums such as the
United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues and the Convention on Biological Diversity, that there
are four pillars of sustainable development, the fourth being cultural. The Universal Declaration on Cultural
Diversity (UNESCO, 2001) further elaborates the concept by stating that "...cultural diversity is as necessary
for humankind as biodiversity is for nature”; it becomes “one of the roots of development understood not
simply in terms of economic growth, but also as a means to achieve a more satisfactory intellectual,
emotional, moral and spiritual existence". In this vision, cultural diversity is the fourth policy area of
sustainable development.
It has been clearly identified that information, integration, and participation are key building blocks to help
countries achieve development that recognizes these interdependent pillars. It emphasizes that in sustainable
development everyone is a user and provider of information. It stresses the need to change from old sector-
centered ways of doing business to new approaches that involve cross-sectoral co-ordination and the
integration of environmental and social concerns into all development processes. Furthermore, evidences
emphasizes that broad public participation in decision making is a fundamental prerequisite for achieving
sustainable development
Sustainable development is an eclectic concept, as a wide array of views fall under its umbrella. The concept
has included notions of weak sustainability, strong sustainability and deep ecology. Different conceptions also
reveal a strong tension between ecocentrism and anthropocentrism. Many definitions and images (Visualizing
Sustainability) of sustainable development coexist. Broadly defined, the sustainable development mantra
enjoins current generations to take a systems approach to growth and development and to manage natural,
produced, and social capital for the welfare of their own and future generations.
During the last ten years, different organizations have tried to measure and monitor the proximity to what they
consider sustainability by implementing what has been called sustainability metrics and indices.
(www.wikipediasustainabledevelopment.com)
Sustainable development is said to set limits on the developing world. While current first world countries
polluted significantly during their development, the same countries encourage third world countries to reduce
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pollution, which sometimes impedes growth. Some consider that the implementation of sustainable
development would mean a reversion to pre-modern lifestyles
In 1987 the United Nation's World Commission on Environment and Development (the Brundtland
Commission), in its report Our Common Future suggested that sustainable development was needed to meet
human needs while not increasing environmental problems. In 1961 almost all countries in the world had the
capacity to meet their own demand but by 2005 the situation had changed and many countries were able to
meet their needs only by importing resources from other nations.(www,wkipediasustainabldevelopment.com)
A move toward more sustainable living emerged, based on increasing public awareness and adoption of
recycling, and renewable energies. The development of renewable sources of energy in the 1970s and 80's,
primarily in wind turbines and photovoltaics and increased use of hydroelectricity, presented more sustainable
alternatives to fossil fuel and nuclear energy generation.
Sustainability
The word sustainability is derived from the Latin sustinere (tenere, to hold; sus, up). Dictionaries provide
more than ten meanings for sustain, the main ones being to “maintain", "support", or "endure”. However,
since the 1980s sustainability has been used more in the sense of human sustainability on planet Earth and this
has resulted in the most widely quoted definition of sustainability and sustainable development, that of the
Brundtland Commission of the United Nations on March 20, 1987: “sustainable development is development
that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own
needs.”
The UN definition is not universally accepted and has undergone various interpretations. What sustainability
is, what its goals should be, and how these goals are to be achieved is all open to interpretation. For many
environmentalists the idea of sustainable development is an oxymoron as development seems to entail
environmental degradation. Ecological economist Herman Daly has asked, "what use is a sawmill without a
forest?" From this perspective, the economy is a subsystem of human society, which is itself a subsystem of
the biosphere, and a gain in one sector is a loss from another. This can be illustrated as three concentric
circles. (www.wikipediasustainability.com)
A universally-accepted definition of sustainability is elusive because it is expected to achieve many things. On
the one hand it needs to be factual and scientific, a clear statement of a specific “destination”. The simple
definition "sustainability is improving the quality of human life while living within the carrying capacity of
supporting eco-systems" though vague, conveys the idea of sustainability having quantifiable limits. But
sustainability is also a call to action, a task in progress or “journey” and therefore a political process, so some
definitions set out common goals and values. The Earth Charter speaks of “a sustainable global society
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founded on respect for nature, universal human rights, economic justice, and a culture of peace.”
(www.wikipediasustainablilty.com)
In early human history the environmental impacts of small bands of hunter-gatherers would have been
relatively small, even though the use of fire and the desire for specific foods may have altered the natural
composition of plant and animal communities. The Neolithic Revolution 2,500 to 10,000 years ago marked
the emergence of agriculture and settled communities. Societies outgrowing their local food supply or
depleting critical resources either moved on or faced collapse. In contrast, stable communities of shifting
cultivators and horticulturists existed in New Guinea and South America, and large agrarian communities in
China, India, Polynesia and elsewhere have farmed in the same localities for centuries.
(www.wikipediasustainability.com)
Technological advances over several millennia gave humans increasing control over the environment. But it
was the Western industrial revolution of the 17th to 19th centuries that tapped into the vast growth potential of
the energy in fossil fuels to power sophisticated machinery technology. These conditions led to a human
population explosion and unprecedented industrial, technological and scientific growth that has continued to
this day. From 1650 to 1850 the global population doubled from around 500 million to 1 billion people. By
the 20th century, the industrial revolution had resulted in an exponential increase in the human consumption
of resources and an increase in health, wealth and population. Ecology as a new scientific discipline was
gaining general acceptance and ideas now part and parcel to sustainability were being explored including the
recognition of the interconnectedness of living systems, the importance of global natural cycles, the passage of
energy through tropic levels of living systems.( www.wikipediasustainability.com)
CONCLUSION
It has been observed throughout history that many have placed money and prosperity as their first priority.
However that value preference has been challenged and this once popular maxim the belief that the world
cannot forever increase its productive capacity has been replaced by the maxim of sustainability.
Sustainability emphasizes the growth limits in the global ecology. Against this backdrop sustainable
development which means learning how to live off the earth’s interest without encroaching on its capital in
order that the planet can continue to provide the means of life that makes the pursuit of other values such as
political freedom and religious principles have remained high and well entrenched in the annals of the Global
North against the opposite in the Global South.
Once again, the issues of population growth have adverse effect in the two polemics. Other factors like
government policies, the legal system, access to capital and technology, the efficiency of industrial production
inequity in the distribution of land, labor, resources are some of the characteristics of Global South against the
conspicuous consumption patter of the Global North.
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Against all this variables, the Global North while not taking anything for granted, particularly on the
assumption that sustainability cannot be realised without dramatic changes in the socio-economic and political
fabric of the world as we know it today. The Global South painfully does not even know where this situation
lies, not to even contemplate on any way forward as it were.
Efforts in the Global South should be more pragmatic and optimist in approach and concept. Efforts should be
genuine with a total commitment and conviction of purpose and intent for while we recognize that there is a
wide gap in development between the Global North and Global South economies, while the Global North
economies are sustained; the Global South economies are yet to find their feet. Thus living conditions in
Global North are far better off than the Global South while the North is wealthy, technologically advanced
politically stable and aging as their societies tend toward zero population growth the opposite is found among
Global South countries.
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AUTHOR:
Lemuel Ekedegwa Odeh
Department of History, University of Ilorin
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Buku ini ditulis berasaskan epistemologi pasca materialis dengan hakikat (ontologi) bahawa landasan kemunculan bandar pintar bertitik tolak daripada budaya kebendaan teknologi termaju seperti teknologi maklumat dan komunikasi (ICT). Namun begitu sebagai pemikir pasca materialis metode pemahaman terhadap pembangunan bandar pintar lebih jauh daripada itu. Pembangunan bandar pintar tidak semestinya dilihat dari sudut perancangan ICT semata-mata, tetapi juga dilihat kepada yang lebih inklusif, komprehensif, kolaboratif dan simbiosis dengan kehidupan manusia yang sebenar. Justeru, Pembangunan bandar pintar berpusatkan rakyat (citizen-centrict Smart City) perlu diketengahkan dalam kerancakan budaya material bandar pintar di peringkat global, serantau dan lokal. Perkembangan mutakhir, pembangunan bandar pintar (smart city) semakin popular dan didominasi oleh teknologi termaju di bawah Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) seperti kecerdasan pintar dan IoT. Di bawah arus perbandaran pintar tekno-utopianisme 4IR tersebut, pihak berkepentingan dan berkuasa nampaknya lebih cenderung mengadakan usaha sama dengan sektor korporat teknologi termaju demi mencapai visi dan misi pentadbiran mereka. Namun, di pihak rakyat dan pihak awam seperti diabaikan malah penglibatan, kerjasama dan peranan mereka tidak begitu menonjol. Demi menyedarkan pihak berkepentingan tentang perlunya peranan rakyat dan pihak awam dalam kemajuan bandar pintar, buku ini mengemukakan satu alternatif nilai (axiologi) pemikiran humanisme yang menekan konsep ‘berpusatkan rakyat’ dalam pembangunan bandar pintar. Konsep berpusatkan rakyat ini adalah bertepatan dengan visi Wawasan Kemakmuran Bersama 2030 dalam menekankan aspek keterangkuman, iaitu kefahaman, jenis dan proses penglibatan, serta peranan dan sikap rakyat berkenaan. Model bandar pintar berpusatkan rakyat yang dikemukakan dalam buku ini menekankan elemen pintar insan, tadbir urus yang wajar dan unik. Berbeza dengan model bandar pintar yang bertunjang teknologi termaju. Selain itu, buku ini dapat membuka minda awam kepada pemikiran ‘bersama rakyat’ demi merealisasikan budaya muafakat dalam hal membangunkan bandar pintar.
... This kind of learning and partnership is in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) speci cally, SDG17 which promotes triangulation of partnerships between developing and developed countries for effective achievement of the set goals by 2030 [16]. Although there is much literature about how the developing countries learn from the developed countries and economies [17], this paper adds to the body of knowledge exhibiting how the developed countries are learning from the developing countries' systems, approaches, and innovations. This indeed provides an opportune platform to leverage learning from the African context, system, and approaches for the students. ...
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Background: For effective delivery of International experiential training programs, many universities in the Global North, have created partnerships with universities in the global south especially in Africa to enhance their capacity and diversity of learning for their students. However, there is hardly any literature that exhibits the value and roles of African instructors in international experiential learning programs. Methods: This was a qualitative case study that examined the role of instructors and experts from Africa in influencing student learning processes and outcomes in the GCC 3003/5003 - Seeking Solutions to Global Health Issues. Semi-structured interviews with (2) students, (2)University of Minnesota lead faculty for the course, and (3) in-country instructors/experts from countries in East Africa and the Horn of Africa were conducted. Data was analyzed thematically. Results: The African In-country course instructors/experts describe themselves as “conduits” and “bridge builders,” filling gaps in knowledge for students, and “providing a true picture reflection of happenings on the ground.” Conclusions: In-country African instructors’ roles can be viewed as those aimed at validating students' ideas to apply to the local settings, streamlining students' focus, providing a platform for multi-stakeholder engagement to a particular topic coupled with bringing a real in-country context experience in the classroom.
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