Low-Income Country Research or International Research

In a recent post, the CLAHRC WM Director described the similarity between service problems faced in Africa and those in the West Midlands. There are a number of arguments for conducting research with an international perspective rather than with a high- vs. low-income perspective. For a start, the diseases we face are becoming more similar with the rapid rise of non-communicable diseases in low-income countries. Secondly, the social issues are becoming more similar as middle classes emerge rapidly in the South, while a deprived class is differentiating itself in richer countries, even in previously egalitarian societies such as the Nordic zone. Lastly, the educational ‘distance’ between the researchers themselves is reducing apace. For example, while Africa may still have quite high illiteracy rates, literacy is very high among young adults, except in post-conflict situations.[1] Likewise enrolment in African Universities have more than doubled in the last two decades, even if teacher/ student ratios have deteriorated.[2] There is a high rate of North-South interchange of researchers. In short, we are approaching a situation of equality in research capacity. Of course the differences between countries have not all been ironed out, but the differences between researchers and the topics they research are getting narrower.

The CLAHRC WM will increasingly take an International perspective, comparing and contrasting problems and their solutions across the world. In order to do this we will foster egalitarian networks of researchers, managers and patient and career representatives across the world.

–Richard Lilford, Director of CLAHRC WM


[1] UNESCO. Adult and Youth Literacy, 1990-2015. Analysis of data for 41 selected countries. Montreal, QC: UNESCO Institute for Statistics. 2012. Available online.

[2] Tettey WJ. Developing and Retaining the Next Generation of Academics in Africa: An Analysis of Issues and Challenges. Partnership for Higher Education in Africa. 2009. Available online.


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