Applied Psychology in Africa

Written by John C. Munene Makerere University Institute of Psychology &

Makerere University Business School.


This is a follow-up on Professor Spielberger's call for additional agenda items for the EC meeting. The agenda item which could be refined if acceptable in principle is as follows: Getting European and American Psychologist to resume interest in African Affairs the way Professor Berry, Jahoda, etc did in the sixties and early seventies. I am saying this because Sociologists, Political Scientists, Economists and Socio-Economists, Anthropologists from these continents are here in full force. There are also well funded departments in European and American Universities focusing on African issues.

Who could be interested?

        Professors who are about to complete a programme of research and are beginning to look for the next area to commit to the next decade or so.

        Young Doctorates with a sense of adventure

Some points of entry: Explore the possibility of designing and developing a demand driven psychology. Such a psychology could be free from attractive but long-term goals of searching for an African Psychology but instead focus on current African problems that the World Bank, IMF, and Northern governments are funding rather profusely. The current areas include Poverty, HIV/AIDs, Macro-and Micro-Economics, Governance, Corruption, Capacity Building etc.. A visit of the World Bank Web Site can help any one get started. Programmes your own governments as sponsoring in Africa are other starting points.

My areas of interest where I need help include Behavioural Poverty: I will present a paper in the Cross Cultural Psychology Meeting titled the Social Psychology of Development jointly developed with Shalom Schwartz and Grace Kibanja. I will also be presenting one on Social Capital in the Singapore Conference. Both address issues currently important on the World Bank and Northern Government Agendas.

During the San Francisco Conference several years back, I presented a paper under Professor Frese's Symposium on African dealing with the need to switch from supply driven to demand driven Psychology in Africa. I also called for help from our Euroamerican and Asian counterparts. I am continuing this call. And if this issue can become an EC Agenda item, I will be encouraged and also grateful.