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Innovation Policy And Governance In The African Region

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This paper undertakes a desktop examination of innovation policy and governance in Africa. The article therefore adds on to the importance of intra-African region innovation policy dialogue by exploring policy developments in the African region. The article identifies a weak and fragmented innovation system as a major challenge facing many of the African countries, exacerbated by the lack of an explicit innovation strategy. The literature indicates that Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) policies should not simply adopt a science-push approach to innovation, but rather focus on building an entire system of innovation. The emergence of a knowledge-based economy and globalisation such as the BRICs - Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa are restructuring the dynamics of innovation in developing countries. The literature has also shown that several international organisations have played significant roles in the development of Science and Technology (S&T) policies among African countries. However, the international organisations initiatives have mostly focused on the development of S&T with minimal emphasis on the role of policies and administration, which would increase learning and innovation performance in Africa. The central premise of the article is that innovation policy and governance is an essential component of the National System of Innovation in the African region.
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Innovation Policy
And Governance In The African Region
Wanjiru Gachie, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Desmond Wesley Govender, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
ABSTRACT
This paper undertakes a desktop examination of innovation policy and governance in Africa. The article therefore
adds on to the importance of intra-African region innovation policy dialogue by exploring policy developments in the
African region. The article identifies a weak and fragmented innovation system as a major challenge facing many of
the African countries, exacerbated by the lack of an explicit innovation strategy.
The literature indicates that Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) policies should not simply adopt a science-
push approach to innovation, but rather focus on building an entire system of innovation. The emergence of a
knowledge-based economy and globalisation such as the BRICs - Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa are
restructuring the dynamics of innovation in developing countries. The literature has also shown that several
international organisations have played significant roles in the development of Science and Technology (S&T) policies
among African countries. However, the international organisations initiatives have mostly focused on the development
of S&T with minimal emphasis on the role of policies and administration, which would increase learning and
innovation performance in Africa. The central premise of the article is that innovation policy and governance is an
essential component of the National System of Innovation in the African region.
Keywords: Innovation Policy; Governance; National System of Innovation; Science, Technology and Innovation
INTRODUCTION
his paper undertakes a desktop examination of innovation policy and governance in Africa. One of the
fundamental problems facing many countries in the African continent can be attributed to the lack of
having an explicit innovation strategy in place. The available National System of Innovation (NSI)-
related policies are inconsistent and disconnected. The informal sector represents three-quarter of non-agricultural
employment and over 40% of the gross national product (GNP) of many African countries. Yet, the policies in place
disregarding the role of the informal sector and traditional sectors are absent, asymmetrical or ineffective.
Therefore this paper supports the view by Metcalfe and Ramlogan (2006:375) that building an effective innovation
policy and effective governance in the African region for identifying bottlenecks and ‘abnormalities’, improving
knowledge flows and strengthening linkages within and across the systems are essential.
The African STI Indicators (ASTII) initiative by African Union AUNew Partnership for Africa’s Development, AU
NEPAD (2010: xvii) states that “Africa needs STI indicators to measure the significance of STI in its development.”
The ASTII initiative addresses the lack of evidence-based policy processes and better understanding of, and
improvement in the state of STI in the African region (AU-NEPAD, 2010: xviii).
Evaluations of innovation policies are few and far between, therefore deeper tests of strength are absent. To contribute
to development efforts will require adapting the innovation policy framework to reflect the realities of the Africa
region (Stein, 1992; Lall & Teubal, 1998; Johnson, Edquist & Lundvall 2003; Edquist, 2010). According to Marcelle
(2011:4), “the biggest challenges facing countries in the developing world include poor health services, lack of
affordable housing, environmental sustainability, energy, poverty, urban management, and a range of other issues that
affect quality of life.”
T
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‘Wicked challenges’ with a ‘Wicked character’, which require the implementation of tailored appropriate policy mixes
along the continuum between, for example, strict non-intervention and provision of preferential treatment for pre-
selected supported innovation policies and strategies periodically. The challenges are ‘wicked’ because of lack of
clarity on what the relevant causes are, what the possible effect of possible strategies are and what criteria should be
used to assess the wanted and unwanted effects Bekkers, Edelenbos and Steijn (2011:212). In Rittel and Webber’s
(1984) terminology, many of societies’ problems are no longer “tame” to be solved by hierarchical or technocratic
models of leadership, management or knowledge creation. The ‘wicked’ problem as stated by Grint (2010:14) and
Goodwin (2011:60) “cannot simply be removed from its environment, solved and returned without affecting the
environment. Moreover, there is no clear relationship between cause and effect.Even though the ‘wicked challenges’
or ‘national crisis’, cannot be resolved in a short period, this paper is driven by the idea that the wicked problems
actively require new approaches through collaborative processes.
Correcting market limitations such as problems of appropriability of innovations, weakness and failures in financial
and labour markets, poor technology infrastructure, dysfunctional education and training systems, inadequate
intellectual property (IP) rights regimes and regulatory systems, and poor support for investment in innovation that
characterise many developing countries often requires direct interventions (Lall & Teubal, 1998; Lall & Petrobelli,
2002).
This article has observed that studies in innovation policy and NSI in developing countries is at a preliminary stage.
Manzini (2012:1) states that “the NSI approach towards understanding how technological innovation operates within
national economic systems is relatively new. There is, therefore, a need to develop theoretical tools to sharpen…
understanding of this conceptual framework.”
The ‘wicked’ challenges are some of the issues that affect the development of public administration and policy in the
Africa region. Access to the basic necessities (food, potable water, housing, fuel and energy) is highly restricted in
Africa. Life expectancy in the region declined from 49 years in 1999 to 46 years in 2001 owing largely to the impact
of HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis (United Nations, 2005:4-5). However, life expectancy in Africa was projected
to rise to 51.3 years by the end of 2010 and to reach 69.5 years by 2045. Among the plausible explanations for the
lackluster performance of the developing regions’ human development front are weaknesses in governance and policy
administration, failure to reflect poverty concerns in budget allocations and the exclusion of the poor from decision-
making (Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia, 2004). To surmount the ‘wicked’ challenges within the
Africa region will require promoting policies for development through research within the NSIs.
LITERATURE REVIEW
Having introduced the thrust of the article, the next section provides a literature review of the innovation policy in
African region and related theories.
Innovation Policy in the African Region
From this research perspective, innovation policy refers to “a set of public measures to increase… innovations, to
improve the conditions for then uptake of innovations and/or to improve the articulation of… [innovation] in order to
spur innovations and the diffusion of innovations.” Innovation policy is also about market creation, as governments
can play a role by actively supporting breakthroughs (basic research, product standards, public procurement) (Lafferty,
Ruud & Larsen, 2005:263). For the purpose of this research, innovation policy has been defined according to the
Veugelers, Tanayama & Toivanen (2009:13) “as a set of actions by public organisations that influence the
development and diffusion of innovations. The innovation policy agenda requires a broader, cross-ministerial
attention, greater interrelatedness of innovation systems and innovation policy is no longer simply the purview of
Science and Technology (S&T) institutions (OECD, 2005:17). The challenge is to provide scientific advice for
evidence-based policy making at different levels and to ensure that this advice is contributing to the emergence of a
common understanding of African-wide challenges and opportunities.
The African region continues to consider the regional approach as the best tool for development. Some of the regional
initiatives in Africa, for example, Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), Economic
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Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and Southern African Development Community (SADC) have neither
delivered much to uplift the economic conditions of member countries nor ensured sustainable growth and
liberalisation (UNCTAD, 2015:9-17). However, the issue at hand is not whether Africa should integrate or not; there
is a political consensus for regional integration in Africa. The issue is how innovation policy can maximise the benefits
of African regional integration.
Policy integration problems are problems of coordination in the governance structure that reveal systemic failures
(Lafferty et al., 2005:255).
Several international organisations have played significant roles in the development of S&T and innovation policies
among African countries, including UNESCO, UNCTAD, IDRC, and the Swedish Agency for Research Co-operation
with Developing Countries (SAREC). However, scholars such as Lundvall, Interakummerd and Vang (2006),
Srininvas and Sutz (2008) and Juma and Yee-Cheong (2005) have criticised the multilateral institutions’ interventions
and harmonisation activities that have resulted in the lack of consistency with the overall developing economies
institutional frameworks.
Edquist (2010:17) observed that innovation policy objectives are formulated in a political process. A number of
priorities in public administration reform in Africa include promoting democratisation and decentralisation;
developing legal and institutional frameworks and economic governance systems; implementing ethics and anti-
corruption strategies; improving resource mobilisation and financial management systems; and tapping the potential
of e-government (United Nations, 2005:12).
Clapham (2001:66-68); Herbst (2000:11) OECD (2016) are pessimistic of an effective innovation policy in the African
continent owing to many African countries being led by former liberation movements or authoritarian, single-party
governments.
Governance within the African Region
Pierre and Peters (2006:24) note that “governance can be composed of four types of procedures; objective setting,
decision-making, coherence and steering.” “Governance is about the handling of complexity and the management of
dynamic flows. It is fundamentally about interdependence, linkages, networks, partnerships, co-evolution and mutual
adjustment” (Mothe, 2001:21). This research adopts the definition of governance according to the World Bank
Worldwide Governance Indicators Framework WGI (2013:1):
Governance consists of the traditions and institutions by which authority in a country is exercised.
This includes the process by which governments are selected, monitored and replaced; the capacity of
the government to effectively formulate and implement sound policies; and the respect of citizens and
the state for the institutions that govern economic and social interactions among them.”
Governance has also been viewed in literature as an alternative from the traditional hierarchical government to a
horizontal network relationship and interactions that shape decision-making (Kohler-Koch & Eisling, 1999; Pierre &
Peters, 2005; Lundqvist, 2001:231; Hillman, Nilsson, Rickne & Magnusson, 2011:403; OECD, 2016:4). In this
context, the traditional government mechanisms are not excluded because, in principle there are reasons to blend into
‘hybrid arrangements’ (Hey, Jacob & Volkery, 2007) in shaping innovation policy.
The concept of governance is pluricentric rather than adherence to unicentric systems, which has been used in this
context to refer to the actions of a wide variety of public, private and semi-public actors (Kemp, Parto & Gibson,
2005:26; Bekkers et al., 2011:8).
The processes of governing involves negotiation, concentration and cooperation rather than coercion, command and
control (Van Kersbergen & Van Waarden, 2004:152; Bekkers et al. 2011:11). For instance, negotiation is a field of
knowledge and endeavour that focuses on gaining the favour of people from whom we want things (Cohen, 1980:5;
Meredith & Mantel, 2010:164).
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Mkandawire (2001) argues that the trouble with the good governance paradigm is that it comes embedded in neo-
liberal policy of which African state capacities have been stripped. Leading to what Chabal and Daloz (1999:142)
term as “…unrealistic expectations in terms of the development potential of a modern independent Africa.” A
paradigm in this research context is about the logic, the values, the principles, and the general path of movement, a
theoretical structure of experience whose practical operation varies depending on the historical circumstances of each
country (Ake, 2001: 124). NEPAD has set out a “Consolidated S&T Plan of Action” (African UnionNew Partnership
for Africa’s Development, AUNEPAD, 2010). The plan seeks to improve the quality of STI policies of African
countries through processes that promote sharing of experiences and policy learning (Kahn, 2008:164; AU-NEPAD,
2010) and rests on four pillars - capacity building, knowledge production, technology and innovation.
Governance Theories
A number of different theoretical frameworks have evolved that can be used to explain and analyse governance and
the government. These frameworks can be borrowed from different disciplines with different perspectives and
terminologies. The agency theory paradigm arises from the field of finance and economics, transaction theory arises
from economics and organisational theory, while stakeholder theory and steward theory arise from a more social-
oriented perspective on corporate governance (Solomon & Solomon, 2008:36; Ketokivi & Mahoney, 2016). The
aforementioned three theories support the need for stricter governance principles and the frameworks generally
overlap theoretically.
The Agency Theory
The agency theory views the government as the agent and the other network actors as the principal within the NSI.
Archer (1995:246) argues that “…neither the structuring of society, nor the social interaction responsible for it can be
discussed in isolation from one another. Archer (1995:247) therefore, proposes a ‘double morphogenesis’ that
involves both the re-structuring (change processes) and the agency. In this research context, examining the interplay
between the NSI governance structure and agency theory will provide an in-depth research comprehension. Principal
agent theory with the implications of agency problems underscores the bedrock of analyses that can be generated in
regard to contractual arrangement (Gutiérrez, 2012:160; Roach, 2015:2)
The agency theory is mainly concerned with resolving two problems that can occur between the agent and the other
actors’ relationship. The first problem arises when the objectives of the principal and agent conflict and it is difficult
or expensive for the principal to verify the agent’s behaviour. The second problem is the risk-sharing problem that
arises when the principal and the agent may prefer different actions because of different risk preferences (Luo, 2008:2-
3). The principals are therefore worried about agents’ opportunism and self-seeking with guile. The agent is likely to
display a tendency towards ‘egoism’ that is, behaviour that leads to maximising one’s own perceived self-interest
(Boatright, 1999). As a result, it is important that the NSI actors ‘monitor’ the government policies and help to resolve
agency conflicts. Overall, a well-designed governance system is necessary to the point that the system effectively
guides and monitors the government behaviours while not hindering government’s flexibility and aspiration to make
decisions that are in the best interest of the NSI system. Put simply Luo (2008:3-4) states that the agents should avoid
a situation of ‘the best-governed and worst-managed’.
The Stewardship Theory
The stewardship has been supported by agency theory critics, who contend that the theory is based on a false premise
on the nature of man. The stewardship theory holds that there is no conflict of interest between steward and principals
(Davis, Schoorman, & Donaldson, 1997; Ketokivi & Mahoney, 2016). The steward seeks to attain the objectives of
the institution. Therefore, even where the interests of the steward and the principal are not aligned, the steward places
higher value on cooperation than defection (terms found in game theory). In this research context, the stewardship
theory focus on governance structures that facilitate and empower the NSI stewards rather than the use of monitoring
and controlling tools. However, Solomon & Solomon (2008:34) state that “implementing stewardship governance
mechanisms for an agent would be analogous to turning the hen house over to the fox. As a result, agency
prescriptions can be viewed as the necessary costs of insuring principal utility against the risks of the government
opportunism.
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The Stakeholder Theory
The stakeholder theory has developed gradually since the 1970, with a historical lineage, practical applications and
intellectual appeal more substantial than agency theory, and yet has had much less impact on governance policy
(Donaldson & Preston, 1995:65; Ketokivi & Mahoney, 2016; Roach, 2015). The stakeholder theory defines
organisations as multilateral agreements between the enterprise and its multiple stakeholders (Freeman, 2004; Clarke,
2004; Roach, 2015)). Stakeholder theory provides an appropriate lens for considering a more complex perspective of
the value that stakeholders seek as well as new ways to measure it (Harrison & Wicks, 2013:1) The stakeholder
approach focuses on the ‘entire network of formal and informal relations that determine how control is exercised
within the NSI.
Wijnberg (2000:332) makes a number of stakeholder theory recommendations, which when applied in this research
will require, firstly, that the NSI structure to permit sufficient autonomy for the research institutes to confront ethical
dilemmas. Second, the codes of conduct or mission statements should be fruitfully used to enforce or encourage
virtuous decision-making.
Pieterse (2010:11) points out that different stakeholder have different takes on the meaning of and how to achieve
(sustainable) development. Gray, Owen and Adams (1996:45) view a stakeholder as any group or individual that can
be influenced by, or can itself influence, the activities of the organisation. Starik (1994) offers a narrow definition of
stakeholders as "individuals or groups with which the ‘government’ interacts who have a 'stake', or vested interest…’
on the broadest end of the spectrum, Starik (1994:94) further suggests that the stakeholder is “any naturally occurring
entity which affects or is affected by ‘the institutions’ performance.Stakeholders’ definitions may be distinguished
as illustrated in Figure 1 along the strategic, versus a normative dimension.
Figure 1. Strategic and normative dimensions of stakeholder definitions Source: adopted from Friedman and Miles (2006:12)
Figure 1 illustrates that strategic dimension fall under a continuum that has varying degrees of impact on the existence
of the institution, while along the normative dimension are definitions of stakeholders that differ in scope to reflect
societal norms. Normative refers to the way people live in an ideal 'good' society; and what people ought to do, in
order to achieve a ‘good’ society or any notion of the 'good' (Friedman & Miles, 2006:34). In the part, norms created
in the life-world and brought into the professional atmosphere play a crucial role (Wickenberg, 2006:114). Given the
number of contractual relations that exist among the NSI actors, both explicit and implicit, Dunn (1996:144) proposes
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that ‘institutions’ should care enough for the least advantaged stakeholders not to be harmed and privilege those
stakeholders with whom the ‘institutions’ have a close relationship.
Carroll (2004:115-117) suggests that stakeholder identification and analysis should be approached by finding answers
to questions such as: Who are the stakeholders? What are their interests or claims? What opportunities and threats do
they present? What responsibility does the corporation have to each group, whether economic, legal, ethical or
philanthropic? What strategy is best designed to accommodate or cope with these challenges or opportunities? What
response should be made: accommodating, negotiating, manipulating, resistance or a combination? (Carroll, 2004).
Value can be created, traded, and sustained because stakeholders can jointly satisfy their needs and desires by making
voluntary agreements with each other that for the most part are kept (Ketokivi & Mahoney, 2016:132). The NSI actors
include the government and the public authorities. Sometimes trade unions play a marginal role in the NSI. Both the
academic and the business sector can have an ex officio presence in all the NSI matters.
AFRICAN REGION RESEARCH AND KNOWLEDGE SYSTEMS
This sub-section examines the main features and performance of the African region’s NSI. This sub-section also
represents the African regional perspective on research and knowledge management system. Historical perspectives
to innovation and industrial development indicate that during the 1970s many African countries established national
research councils and R&D centres. The innovation and industrial development was partly driven by the Conference
of Cabinet Ministers responsible for the Application of Science and Technology (CASTAFRICA I) held in Dakar,
Senegal, in January 1974. The number of African countries with S&T promotion bodies increased from 4 to 28
between 1974 and 1987. Also, several R&D institutions specialising in natural sciences, agricultural, medical, nuclear,
industrial and environmental research increased rapidly on the region.
Policies relating to STI in many African governments have been encouraged by NEPAD, many of which has adopted
a science-push. The UNCTAD (2015:82) notes that STI policies should not simply adopt a science-push approach to
innovation, but rather focus on building an entire NSI. A weak and fragmented NSI in developing countries is a major
challenge as observed by Knutsen (2004:16-17). Therefore, it may be argued that integration is paramount for
addressing the problem of fragmented African NSIs. The next section reviews research and knowledge systems within
the African region.
The Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) fulfil a crucial role in respect of the resolution of the complex ‘wicked’
challenges that face the African region. The emergence of a knowledge-based economy and globalisation, for example
the BRICs- Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, are restructuring the dynamics of innovation in developing
countries, which targets low-income earners previously not considered. Knowledge diffusion in developing economies
is an essential aspect of innovation, which involves international knowledge spill overs, foreign Research and
Development (R&D) stocks with bilateral import shares, the purchase of capital goods and services, sources such as
scientific publications, attendance at trade fairs, and the acquisition of tacit knowledge through collaboration
(OECD/Eurostat 2005:84; Kokko, 2010:115), imports from R&D-intensive countries prompting reverse engineering
(Mansfield, Schwartz & Wagner, 1981; Zander, 1991). However, South African Department of Science and
Technology (SA DST) Ministerial Review Committee, (2012:83) notes that the ways in which knowledge diffusion
and spill-overs have operated historically, and now, are still unknown. The public sector science will continue to play
leading roles in developing new knowledge and skills for nurturing these technological advances and supporting their
exploitation in the wider economy. But it will also undergo its own transformation (OECD, 2016).
The ultimate aim of the Indigenous knowledge systems (IKS) instrument is to contribute to sustainable economic
development of not only South Africa, but the African region as a whole ( National Research Fundation(NRF) South
Africa, 2016:2). Innovation policies that pursue the acquisition of international knowledge have traditionally focused
on reinforcing the reliance on foreign investment, joint ventures and imports of capital goods (Ernst & Kim,
2002:1419-1424). It may be highlighted that the importance of systematic outward-oriented trade and investment
policies in education and training (a set critical of absorptive competences), S&T, and R&D as important components
of maximising knowledge flows in LDC. Lundvall and Borrás (1998:35) emphasise the concept of a “learning
economy” as critical for economic development rather than relying on existing knowledge stock (Lundvall & Borrás,
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1998:35) in African region. Also important is a country’s significant level of absorptive capacity, the ability to
assimilate and internalise the disseminated knowledge for diffusion of innovation (Cohen & Levinthal, 1990: 136,
148, Narula & Marin, 2005:7). Developing countries, to a great extent are dependent on the knowledge created in the
larger OECD countries (Kokko, 2010:113; National Research Fundation(NRF) South Africa, 2016; OECD, 2016;3),
which still remains relatively isolated from global innovation dynamics (Hobday, 2003). The local selection,
assimilation and adaptation of knowledge are central in applying and re-inventing international knowledge locally.
According to the World News Global (2016), the emigration rates of highly-educated citizens to OECD member
countries are a major social problem for the developing world, with a negative effect on African research and
knowledge systems. The proportion of highly educated people from LDC residing in OECD countries is significant
for Jamaica (46%), Tonga (46%), Zimbabwe (43%), Mauritius (41%), the Republic of Congo (36%), Belize (34%)
and Fiji (31%) (World News Global, 2016).
South Africa was an influential centre for intra-African research collaboration before the year 2000. However, during
2004-2008, key focal points included Senegal, Cameroon, Nigeria, Uganda and Morocco. Networks and universities
in South Africa, Nigeria, Egypt, Kenya, and Burkina Faso indicated poor intra-African collaboration (Nwaka, Ilunga,
Da Silva & Verde, 2010:4). Beyond regional collaboration, there is also increasing ‘southsouth’ collaboration, for
example, between India, Brazil and South Africa recently joined forces through the science and research ‘IBSA
initiative’ (UNDP Millennium Project, 2005). The ChinaAfrica S&T partnership programme (CASTEP) was
launched in 2009, with the Chinese partners providing funding for African scientists to study in China, as well as
funding for research equipment on return home. A study that analysed journals indexed by Thomson Reuters between
2007 and 2011 found that Africa’s heavy dependency on international scientific collaboration may be stifling research
individualism and affecting the continent’s research evolution and priorities.
AFRICAN REGION INNOVATION INDICATORS
The R&D surveys conducted by the ASTII AU-NEPAD (2010: xx) identified two indicators relevant to the African
region NSI, namely: the GDP expenditure on R&D by source of funds and sector of performance; and (ii) R&D
personnel by level of formal qualification and occupation, gender, headcount and full-time equivalent, as well as
researchers by gender and field of study/research. Table 1 presents some of the indicators of NSI performance.
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Table 1. Indicators of innovation performance
INDICATORS (BENCHMARKS)
Input indicators
R&D Expenditures (at both micro and macro level)
R&D Personnel
Number of institutions conducting R&D
Expenditures in higher education
Output indicators
Production of technology-intensive goods
Scientific publications
Citations to patents and publications
Number of Innovations
Exports of technologically-intensive goods and services
University graduates in S&E
Personnel flows among organisations
Flows
Knowledge flows, including
Technology transfer
Technological alliances
Machinery diffusion
Financial flows, including
Venture capital for new high-technology firms
Government subsidies for R&D
Regulatory flows
Intellectual property legislation
legislation on standards
Anti-trust and cooperative rules and laws
Human flows
University graduates supply and demand by discipline and institution
Ratios and indexes
GERD/GDP
At NSI level
Revealed technological advantages
Input/output macroeconomic ratios
Trade balances on high-technology goods and services
At the organisation
level
Input/output microeconomic ratios: patents and/or publication and /or innovation per unit of resource
used (that is million dollar expenditure or per full-time researcher)
Source: Niosi (2002:299)
Indicators in Table 1 can be used in the African region to analyse (i) input indicators, (ii) output indicators, (iii) flows,
and (iv) ratios and indexes.
CONCLUSION
The paper has identified a weak and fragmented innovation policy as a major challenge facing many African countries.
The paper has further established that innovation policies should not simply adopt a science-push approach to
innovation, but rather focus on building an entire system of innovation. The paper has also shown that several
international organisations have played significant roles in the development of S&T and innovation policies among
African countries. However, the article concludes that international organisations initiatives have mostly focused on
the development of S&T with minimal emphasis on the role of policies and administration, which would increase
learning and innovation performance in Africa.
RECOMMENDATION
This article recommends that Africa needs to formulate its own development paradigm that considers the unique socio-
economic, political and environmental character of the continent. A successful innovation policy will require a clear
vision to ensure a transparent regulatory and incentive structure and define possible technological trajectories in line
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with the innovation objectives. The local selection, assimilation and adaptation of knowledge are will have to be
central in applying and re-inventing international knowledge in the African region. Also important is Africa’s
significant level of absorptive capacity, the ability to assimilate and internalise the disseminated knowledge for
diffusion of innovation.
This paper also recommends the importance of inter and intra African regional collaboration to enhance and increase
the effectiveness of the research and overcome logistical obstacles by sharing costs, tasks and expertise. The
collaborative activities will require a strong and committed research community and an active network of collaborating
research institutions.
Efforts to improve innovation policy in Africa will have to include more joint research directed at informed policy
formulation; collaborative programming among agencies; increased interactions and peer learning in the development
of programmes, strategies and projects; and increased systematisation cooperation. A major commitment to improving
and monitoring governance in Africa is essential. The importance of intra-African region dialogue and by drawing out
both context-specific and generic country experiences for innovation policy developments is also crucial.
AUTHOR BIOGRAPHIES
Dr. Wanjiru Gachie is a Lecturer in the Department of Computer Science Education, University of KwaZulu-Natal,
South Africa. Dr Gachie is a lecturer in the fields of Information Systems and Public Administrations. Her research
interests are Information Systems in Education and Sustainable Development within the National Systems of
Innovation. Email: gachiee@ukzn.ac.za
Prof. Desmond Wesley Govender is an Associate Professor in the Department of Computer Science Education,
University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. He is currently the discipline leader of Computer Science Education and
his research interests are technology integration in teaching and learning, programming paradigms, the use of learning
management systems to support learning and issues of innovation. Email: govenderd50@ukzn.ac.za
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NOTES
... The literature review identifies a major policy weakness in the country that rests in the inability to place the private sector at the centre of the innovation processes, nearly 10 years after the OECD (2007b) review. Unless the void is addressed, and filled in the design, in policy implementation, and in monitoring and evaluation (M&E), it is unlikely that the industry sector will effectively collaborate in the Model and invest in research commercialization (South African Department of Science and Technology Ministerial Review Committee 2012, 14; Gachie and Govender 2017a). The deficiency constitutes a major drawback to knowledge creation and commercialization, and serves as a strong motivation for undertaking this research. ...
... The role of HEIs within the Model, comprises 'inward' (activities within the HEIs) and 'outward' (activities outside the HEIs) dimensions. The HEIs are essential contributors to the Model both inwardly and outwardly, through the production of knowledge, skills and innovations needed to drive the local, regional and national economies for sustainable development (Lall and Petrobelli 2002;Gachie and Govender, 2017a;Dziallasa and Blinda 2019). Given the limited funding and financing challenges, many African HEIs are, however, under increasing pressure to demonstrate their social and economic relevance (Lundvall 2007;Trimi and Leea 2018;UNCTAD 2018). ...
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... Results of the study show that the adjustment required by the Australian Securities Exchange significantly minimizes the agency cost inherent in the firms. This paper acknowledges that the concept to internationalize the South Africa economy has attracted most investors and led to major reforms in the country's corporate governance code (Gachie & Govender, 2017). In 2019, the JSE records 52% of JSE investors had international status (Hamad et al., Journal of Financial Risk Management 2020). ...
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