The Materials Book

257 Cement and Concrete Materials Science and Engineering Education in Africa: Opportunities for Development Yunus Ballim The African continent presents a wide variety of human development needs, and it would be unrealistic to generalize solutions. However, to varying degrees, they all share the persistent underdevelopment “pathologies” referred to by Ali Mazrui: technological lag, poor distribution of wealth along race and class lines, and a fragmented economy characterized by a rich and well-endowed continent with many poor communities. 1 That said, in this early stage of growing demand for infrastructure materials, there is the opportunity to utilize new urban and structural design approaches—ones that include environmental sustainability. This will require an assessment of the development needs throughout the continent, a review of the foundational principles that guide our approaches in responding to development needs, and, importantly, educating students in built- environment disciplines to be sensitive to the contestation between the human need for development and environmental sustainability. The Changing Political Landscape in Africa and Its Implications Taken from the website Our World in Data , the figure on the next page maps the changing political landscape of countries around the world over a one- generation period, from 1985 to 2015. Putting aside the inherent difficulties in political categorization, the figure shows a significant change in the political environment in almost all countries on the African continent—toward increased democratic processes. This change seems

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