African coun­tries still lag in global in­no­va­tion rank­ing, but there is good news - con­tin­ued

Zambian Business Times - - TECHNOLOGY -

The re­port ranks 22 coun­tries in Sub-Sa­ha­ran Africa, and of them South Africa takes the lead on in­no­va­tion with a GII score of 35.1 and it ranks as 58th out of 126 coun­tries sur­veyed. For con­text, the coun­try with the high­est in­no­va­tion score is Switzer­land com­ing first with a GII of 68.4. How­ever, de­spite Africa’s global stand­ing, there con­tinue to be im­prove­ments in in­no­va­tion on the con­ti­nent. The GII high­lights what it terms “in­no­va­tion achiev­ers”, 20 coun­tries that out­per­form on in­no­va­tion rel­a­tive to their level of de­vel­op­ment. Of these 20 economies, six come from Sub Sa­ha­ran Africa the most from any re­gion. And there is the wider point that in­no­va­tion in Africa thrives in spite of its en­vi­ron­ment as in­di­vid­u­als from some of the most chal­leng­ing cir­cum­stances fig­ure out ways to ad­dress their prob­lems. For ex­am­ple, this year’s Africa Prize for En­gi­neer­ing In­no­va­tion was awarded to Brian Gitta, a 24-year old Ugan­dan en­gi­neer for his in­ven­tion of a blood­less malaria test and this month a team of five Nige­rian school­girls picked up top prize at a Sil­i­con Valley com­pe­ti­tion for their app which helps iden­tify fake drugs. Quartz’s an­nual Africa In­no­va­tors list also iden­ti­fies such in­di­vid­u­als. There con­tinue to be many ex­am­ples of in­di­vid­ual in­ge­nu­ity and more African coun­tries like Kenya, Rwanda, Mozam­bique, Malawi, and Mada­gas­car stand out for be­ing in­no­va­tion achiev­ers at least three times in the pre­vi­ous eight years as they try to im­prove the en­vi­ron­ment for promis­ing in­no­va­tors.

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