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Vol 5 - Issue 3

Technology and Innovation

List of Articles

Innovation Policies and Models in Africa: Systemic and Structural Challenges through Capacity Building

This introductory article starts from the renewal of development challenges in Africa with regard to the increase in inequalities, climate change, food insecurity, population growth and political conflicts, and questions the effectiveness of public policies. In this context, it questions how to adapt a systemic and interactive framework for innovation to strengthen the societal capacities that drive new technological, economic and social trajectories. This proposal thus highlights how the framework for analyzing the National Innovation System (N.I.S) remains incomplete to understand the different governance structures for innovation. Finally, for innovation to be a vector of inclusive development and sustainable of the most fragile economies, it is necessary to renew the priority indicators that drive research and technology. Three axes structure our special issue and relate to the need to strengthen Capacities while improving the governance mechanisms of innovation.

Propaedeutics to the Theory of National Innovation Systems Applied to Economic Development

Widely used and disseminated as a key concept within international organizations, as well as a current economic policy instrument, the National Innovation System (NIS) makes it possible to identify the actors involved in the innovation process in a national context, while highlighting the learning relationships between these actors. In this article, we will present, in a didactic and synoptic way, the genesis of the concept, its evolution from an academic point of view and its application in the context of a developing economy.

The drivers of innovation in an African middle-income economy, a reassessment of innovation models

There are few studies dealing with the drivers of innovation in African economies. We contribute to the literature in many ways. First of all, due to the diversity of African economies, we argue it is necessary to target the type of economy we observe. As a consequence, we focus our research on the African economies with medium level revenue, namely Cameroon. Secondly, we analyze the innovation behavior by distinguishing product versus process innovator and single versus complex innovator. Thirdly we use the data set released by the World Bank for 2016. Our estimations show the R&D expenditures do not explain the innovation decision. This result that contrasts with the Schumpeterian (evolutionary) tradition could be accounted for by three factors: the existence of a market pull strategy, the presence of innovations “below the radar”, the importance of frugal and grassroots innovations.

The National Innovation System as applied to Agriculture: a methodological proposal for diagnosis in Africa

Policy interventions in the agricultural sector have not always been informed by methodologies to reduce the risk of failure. In Africa, interventions in the agricultural sector have long depended on two main approaches. First there is the linear approach (top-down) of development, and then the participative (top-down-bottom-up) or systemic approach. However, linear models of diffusion of innovation have become obsolete. Also, within the interactive models, there are some differences. It is the National System of Innovation (NIS) system that is established as an analytical and policy tool in many African countries, including Burkina Faso. The NIS has been tested since the early 2000s and is currently very popular in policy setting and research contexts. Agriculture being a key sector for African countries, the current challenge is to develop a practical methodological guide for the diagnosis of agricultural innovation systems in Africa. This paper is intended to be a contribution that draws on the research results of the authors to address this methodological challenge. The first part of the paper presents the approach used. Then, it sheds light on the agricultural innovation approaches in Burkina Faso and in Africa in general, and their theoretical foundations. Finally, it proposes a methodological approach for diagnosis of the agricultural innovation systems in Africa.

The Need for a Policy Focused on the Development of Innovation Capacities in the Malian Agri-Food Sector

The issue of food and nutrition remains one of the major challenges facing developing countries (DCs), particularly Mali. Many attempts at technological innovation have been made in the production and processing of agricultural products to meet the food needs of populations. But the objectives have not been achieved. The question we will answer in this article is to what extent Mali can put in place policies to promote the development of innovation capacities in the agri-food sector. This question is justified by the number of (insufficient) actors and the nature of (weak) interactions likely to foster the construction and/or strengthening of technological (and non-technological) innovation capacities and processes in this sector.

Education, training and the knowledge economy in Algeria: Some empirical milestones

This paper deals with the education and vocational training system in Algeria. We first present the theoretical links between education, training and accumulation of human capital and the impact of human capital accumulation on economic activity and economic growth. We, then, survey the Algerian system of education using both quantitative indicators. As a result, the main strengths and weaknesses of the system are emphasized. The results show that situation is far from unfavorable, but could be improved so as to give impetus to the transition towards to a new, more sustainable growth regime and more job-creation, in particular qualified jobs.

Internalization of knowledge in Senegal: the example of the peanut industry through the SONACOS oil mill

Technology transfer has been emphasized in the literature of the 1980s-1990s to emphasize the importance of the ability to use, disseminate and appropriate foreign knowledge. The process of internalization of knowledge, both conducted by local firms and different territories (nations, regions), is, in a developing country, to create capacity and learning opportunities to impulse a National Learning Dynamics. Public decision-makers must then experiment with new tools related to the implementation of innovation policies while perceiving the existence of blocking mechanisms and proposing new solutions. As part of the peanut sector in Senegal, the SONACOS company, nationalized in 2016 but in the process of privatization in 2018, has opted for a process of internalization of knowledge through an informal rehabilitation of technical and tacit knowledge. Learning abilities are present, despite non-existent R & D, but they cannot sit on long-term learning opportunities. The company and the sector cannot develop in the long term (although privatization changes governance) and governments have only introduced fragile measures to build capacity, but no desire has emerged to create better opportunities for learning.

Digital innovation and structural transformation of French-speaking African economies: risky opportunities for development?

Digital technologies are inducing rapid and profound changes in Sub-Saharan Africa and are transforming traditional political, economic, social and cultural models. But who is benefiting from these changes? Are these technologies contributing to a structural transformation of West African economies and societies, breaking with the development models which have prevailed so far? This article summarizes the state of our knowledge on the nature of the relationships between digital technologies and the structural transformation of African economies (pooling of resources, services industrialization and risks of a globalized governance) and on the emergence of multi-level regulation frameworks in this technological sector. To do so, we build on various empirical experiences, respectively in the French-speaking area’s governance, in the support of national research and innovation policies, and in the analysis of digital development in the agricultural sector. We thus document the scope of opportunities and risks of digital expansion with regards to the development of French-Speaking African countries.