Manka S Angwafo:
Making educational resources freely available will fast-track the continent's development.
Of more than 2 000 open access repositories worldwide, fewer than 3% are in Africa. And there are even fewer exclusively from sub-Saharan Africa.
Even though the availability of open access material is low, it is important to recognise the progress that has been made over the past decade: several institutions across the region have adopted and are implementing open access policies. However, in spite of these strides, only about 16% of African scholars claim to have a high awareness of e-resources. Much more advocacy is necessary for open access to become a reality across the continent.
Africa stands to gain the most from the open access movement. But factors such as the continent's regulatory environments, the changing role of librarians, weak commitment to institutionalising open access and problems of sustainability have made implementation slow and awareness limited.