Some of my Academic Publications


Book Review: William Beinhart and Karen Brown. 2013. African Local Knowledge and Livestock Health Treatment: Diseases and Treatments in South Africa. New York: James Curry. 304 pp.

Pages 92 – 93 African Studies Quarterly| Volume 15, Issue 4 | September 2015

Click here to read

Indigenous Knowledge, Education Quality and Prosperity – The 2014 Africa Prosperity Report by Legatum Institute London

High-quality education is an essential component of economic transformation and wider prosperity. Central to that quality is the content of curricula. The Dakar Framework for Action in 2000 declared access to quality education as a fundamental right of every child in Africa (UNESCO 2000) – but it did not explain what an appropriate curriculum really means. In much of sub-Saharan Africa, curricula have not fundamentally changed since independence (Brock-Utne 2000). They are often detached from local realities, biased towards Western knowledge, and do not emphasise African cultural heritage and history (Le Grange 2010). The result is a mismatch between what students learn at school and the challenges they face in their countries. One way to remedy this is to include indigenous knowledge and local languages in curricula and teaching methods. Indigenous knowledge is both culture and context specific. It is generally orally transmitted and non-formal, dynamic, and adaptive (UNESCO 2003). Evidence shows that teachers teach better and students learn better in local languages (Bangura 2012). Moreover, approaches to learning which are more in line with sociocultural characteristics help the interpretation of scientific concepts and long-term storage of information in the memory (Jegede 1995). Indigenous knowledge is also an invaluable tool to foster students’ motivation and self-esteem (McKinley 2005). (click here and scroll to page 17 to read more).

Survey-based tools for determining inequality in Africa south of the Sahara have been critiqued for being too expensive, and oftentimes unsuitable to the realities of the region. The need for a reliable alternative for determining wealth distribution, from which data can be generated for policy action, has been a challenge. Rwanda, however, using the Ubudehe community-based practice has been able to determine household inequality across the nation. Data generated through Ubudehe has been used in policy-making, including in the key health and education sectors. Using both primary and secondary methods, the study explores the successes, challenges, and opportunities of Ubudehe-generated inequality data in policy formulation and implementation.(Click Here to read full Paper)


Research, Innovation and Indigenous Knowledge in Africa: In Search of A Nexus

This paper attempts to establish a relationship between the low level of innovation experienced across Africa south of the Sahara, on the one hand, and the absence of indigenous knowledge in the education curriculum, and in the continent’s research and development agenda, on the other. Indigenous knowledge is the most easily accessible knowledge for most Africans, it is also the variant of knowledge, which several Africans have in-depth knowledge of. However, indigenous knowledge has been left out of classrooms and other organized teaching, learning and research platforms in the continent, mainly due to the colonial foundations of education and the contemporary realities of continued dependence on external actors for education funding. Innovation, on its part, often occurs when an individual is equipped with in-depth and easily accessible knowledge of a particular field and/or locale. The study explores the concept of innovation and examines the experiences of nations with high level of innovation, and establishes that indigenous or home-grown knowledge is foundational for innovation to thrive. The conclusion reached is that the recognition of indigenous knowledge in formal, informal and non-formal education and research in Africa is foundational for creating a generation of Africans who are innovators and inventors, and who are self-motivated to conduct research on issues affecting the continent.(Click here and select paper No. 5 to read full paper)


Corruption and Nation Building in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Historical Analysis

Book Chapter in (2014) Challenges to Democratic Governance in Developing Countries by Gedeon Mudacumura and Goktug Morcol. Springer Publishers, New York. Click here to read excerpts

Zikism is a philosophy set out by Nnamdi Azikiwe, the great Zik of Africa, in which he enunciated certain foundational principles that, if adhered to, will ultimately lead to the emergence of an Africa on the path to social, political, and economic advancement. The fourth pillar of Zikism is mental emancipation. This article argues that mental emancipation is central, indeed key, to the growth and development of the continent of Africa. It explains mental emancipation from the lenses of formal education and opines that the curriculum of education in Africa is largely dependent on Europe, in terms of paradigm. There is clearly lacking in the content of Africa’s education, an emphasis on indigenous African knowledge and practices. The article asserts that until indigenous knowledge is mainstreamed in Africa’s education system, as inferred by the fourth pillar of Zikism, the much sought after development might yet be an illusion for the continent. (Published in Journal of Africa Philosophy (10) 2014 Click here to read full text)

Traditional Farming Practices for Enhanced Food Security

The current definition of food security explains the concept as, the availability of food to individuals within national boundaries. That definition in some way, mandates governments to encourage individuals, and by extension, communities to engage in farming practices that will ensure their food security. What this means is, that rather than focus investment in commercial large scale farming, governments should search out ways of supporting local efforts at food security. (Click here to read)

Essays on Rwanda

Dr. Sondra Myers’ Book The New Rwanda: Successes and Challenges on the Ground (2014) Published by Scranton University New York contains two of my Essays; “A Minister Without a Convoy” and “Yes, We Can Aid Ourselves”. A free e-copy of the book is available by clicking here and my essays can be found on pages 52 and 53

A Model for Development Built on Indigenous Foundations

Decades of using mostly imported strategies to promote socioeconomic advancement in Africa has achieved modest success. The outside-in or top-down approach to development favoured by international organizations and adopted by several African governments has, in many cases, failed to resonate with most citizens. It is an approach that needs to be reassessed. When policies are crafted outside the realities of those intended to benefit from them, the response tends to follow a pattern that ranges from an outright refusal to participate, especially in the absence of direct monetary incentives, to apathy or passive resistance as a result of feeling overwhelmed by externally set targets. (Click here to read)


Indigenous Knowledge, Economic Empowerment and Entrepreneurship in Rwanda: The Girinka Approach

The Girinka (one-cow-per-poor-family) program was created in response to the extreme malnutrition that plagued more than half of the poorest citizens in the Republic of Rwanda prior to 2006. Rwanda’s traditional wealth creation and distribution system of cow-giving served as a platform for the creation of Girinka. The aim was to ensure milk supply for nutrition, and cow manure for increased crop productivity. Without meaning to, however, Girinka has succeeded in making entrepreneurs out of several previously malnourished citizens who have used proceeds from sale of cow milk and increased crop output to set up various businesses.(Click here to read full paper)


Contending Issues of Intellectual Property Rights Protection and Indigenous Knowledge of Pharmacology in Africa south of the Sahara

Indigenous knowledge is beginning to gain greater recognition in global discourse. The inability of western science to address the myriad of illnesses facing mankind has extended the search for solutions into indigenous knowledge system, which was previously dismissed as unreliable, and sometimes as mere superstitious. More and more western companies are beginning to explore and patent indigenous knowledge of medicinal plants, roots, barks, nuts and seeds that are held by local communities. In Africa specifically, Western pharmaceutical companies are in a race to patent Africa’s indigenous pharmacology, but without making the benefits accruable to African indigenous communities and medicine men. The medications made from the indigenous knowledge of Africa’s medicinal plants are marketed globally; the huge profits generated from such sales are almost wholly retained by western businesses. (Click here to read full paper)

Indigenous knowledge is that home grown, sustainable form of knowledge that is capable of triggering creativity and innovation, due to the spontaneity and familiarity it is synonymous with. In teaching and learning, it is widely recognized that building an indigenous knowledge based curriculum is essential to getting the active attention and sustained interest of students. While in several parts of the world, academic literature, for the most part are products of everyday, lived realities of the students, in Africa, that is not the case. Most African textbooks are exacts replicas of European and American texts, replicated without any form of alteration, whatsoever. This article focuses on select business literature in India and Africa, to state that while India has bridged the indigenous knowledge gap in business and management education by ensuring the strong presence of indigenous knowledge in the prescribed textbooks for students, African universities still prescribe foreign, and therefore, alien textbooks to business and management students. (Click on title to read)

Higher Education for Development in Rwanda

The government of Rwanda has focused on higher education, as a core component of its national development strategy. In the face of donor pressure to prioritize primary education, Rwanda has championed the importance of higher education as a catalyst for development. In many ways, Rwanda is a unique case, given its small size, land-locked location, and recent tragic history. However, the Rwandan experience offers valuable insights into the enormous potential—and the significant challenges—that face countries intending to build higher education capacity, to stimulate economic development. (Click on title to read)

French Translation of Select Essays

Before We Set Sail : Un livre à la gloire de la terre de nos aïeux

Tout le monde a une histoire. Mais pour l’écrire, très peu ont le génie de Chika Ezeanya. Sous la plume de cette talentueuse nouvelliste, une tragédie digne d’un cauchemar se transforme en un récit savoureux à la fin duquel le lecteur demande plus de pages à tourner et à lire.

Pour son nouveau livre, « Before We Set Sail » (Avant de partir en bateau), Chika s’est inspirée de la vie d’un ancien esclave, Alaudah Equiano. Une bouleversante histoire de captivité et de chagrins que l’esclave lui-même avait écrite et publiée en 1789. Ce fut la toute première autobiographie d’un ancien esclave, mais aussi un bestseller instantané qui fit de l’auteur, en ce temps-là, l’Africain le plus riche.

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Un récit pour célébrer la femme africaine

Elle est Jeune, brillante et ravissante, mais a les pieds sur terre.  Chika Ezeanya, l’intellectuelle d’origine nigériane ne s’enivre pas de son parcours sans faute dans les universités américaines. Il y a quelques semaines, lors de son anniversaire, Chika a préféré, contrairement à la coutume, magnifier du bout de sa plume ardente, le triomphe de la femme africaine. Au nom de sa mère, de toutes ces femmes noires connues ou inconnues qui font l’Afrique, l’Ecrivain et Chercheur veut être, partout, le visage de la dignité africaine. Chika ne proclame pas son africanité. Elle la porte. Elle la montre.

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Pourquoi le Rwanda est bien parti.  Une Africaine témoigne

Certaines expériences méritent d’être partagées autour de soi, avec le grand public, à cause de l’impact positif qu’elles pourraient avoir sur les comportements. Dr ChikaEzeanya en a vécu une lors de son séjour au Rwanda  où elle avait séjourné dans le cadre d’un projet de développement. Cette histoire que vous vous apprêtez à lire mérite d’être racontée. Elle semble à la fois surprenante et atypique, prise dans un contexte africain. C’est aussi le témoignage que dans un pays, lorsque l’élite dirigeante est sérieuse, consciente de ses obligations et montre par l’exemple qu’elle est soucieuse du bien-être du peuple, ce dernier n’attend pas avant de se mobiliser pour jeter les bases de son avenir. Le Rwanda que raconte Chika semble, en la matière, un cas rare en Afrique. C’est un pays qui ne s’est pas couché dans son histoire et qui, sous l’égide d’un leadership éclairé, digne et ambitieux, veut servir d’exemple au reste du continent.

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Union Africaine : tragédie d’un nouveau siège ?

Union Africaine : tragédie d’un nouveau siège ?

Dr Chika A. Ezeanya

Le nouveau quartier général de l’Union africaine, à Addis Abéba,  a été dessiné, construit et entretenu par une puissance étrangère : la Chine. Cela est une insulte au continent et à ses enfants. La tradition africaine, depuis la nuit des temps, déteste la dépendance des autres pour subsister. Un proverbe swahili favori de l’ancien leader tanzanien, Julius Nyerere dit « Mgeni siku mbili ; siku ya tatu mpe jembe ». Ce qui se traduit : « traitez votre invité comme un invité pendant deux jours. Le troisième jour, donnez  lui une houe ». De façon générale, la tradition africaine a horreur de la dépendance, de quelque nature qu’elle soit.

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