WHERE IS THE HOPE OF AFRICANS IN ATTAINING MDGS BY THE 2015? In relation with IRs, Africa’s chances of attaining the MDGs by 2015 are the focal issue at this point. Already, Kuchma (2010) has cried that “millions of educators and researchers, small businesses, students, physicians and clinicians, patients and their families, and others are without affordable access to the quality research information” in Africa. Kuchma (2010) further writes that the present scientific research into malnutrition, hunger, agriculture, tropical and neglected diseases in Africa needs to be more accessible and more visible locally and globally to contribute to solving local and global problems by aiding more effective government policies and informing other stakeholders rightly towards achieving the health and other outcomes stipulated by the UN MDGs. But, the question at the moment is: can the existing academic research IRs in Africa be of any help in the attainment of UN MDGs in Africa before 2015? Firstly, let us have a picture of repositories in Africa, showing the picture of all categories, which includes the institutional based repositories known as IRs for short. Out of fifty-five (55) sovereign states in Africa (www.africanunion.org/root/au/memberstates/), only sixteen (16) states have open access (internet connected) repositories. The table below shows the distribution of repositories per category.
The Table above shows that Africa has fifty-four (54) repositories consisting of three (3) out of the four (4) types of repositories existing globally. In the context of this research, which is on academic and research institution, this paper adopts the fifty-four 10 repositories because both the institutional, subject-based and the aggregating repositories are found to be academic/research inclined. Furthermore, the distribution of fifty-four (54) repositories among the sixteen (16) countries of Africa is as shown below.
From the figure 2 above, it is deduced that journal articles and theses and dissertations are the prime content in African repositories. This is seen in thirty-two (32) repositories, out of the fifty-four (54) academic and research repositories in Africa. This is followed by conference papers, unpublished reports and working papers, in that order. Meanwhile, the subject coverage of these contents needs to be exposed. Thus, figure 3 below shows the subject coverage of the fifty-four (54) repositories.
Figure 3 above narrates that thirty-six (36) of the fifty-four (54) repositories in Africa contain items that is multidiscipline in scope. Details on other subjects are clearly captured in the figure. See Appendix 1 for a comprehensive list of the number items in each of the repositories, otherwise known as the size of each repository (Appendix 1).
Now that a picture of Africa in terms of repositories in general has been shown, probably it looks encouraging to see that Africa has something in stock for global view, information dissemination and furtherance of knowledge which leads to the development of a nation. It is also interesting to see that less than half of African countries (16 out of 55) have academic and research repositories which cover about twenty-one (21) subject areas, ten (10) broad content types and thousands of items in them – the size of majority of the repositories encouraging (See appendix 1). Nevertheless, further enquiry shows that this effort of Africa is very meager to contribute to her development, information dissemination and furtherance of knowledge. It is observed that other nations are doing better than Africa as contained in figure 4 below.