Mauritius has emerged the most innovative African country in a recent ranking. The island nation placed 52nd among 132 countries globally.
Unlike most African countries, Mauritius has a high human development score. Its economy has grown robustly in the last half a century, especially on financial services, tourism and information technology.
It was followed by South Africa (61), Tunisia (71) and Kenya (85) in terms of innovation, according to the 15th edition of the Global Innovation Index (GII 2021) released September 21, 2021.
The GII 2021 was published by World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) in partnership with the Portulans Institute, an independent nonprofit, nonpartisan research and educational institute based in Washington DC.
Kenya and Tanzania are among developing economies that have performed above expectations on innovation relative to their economic development, the index showed. They have retained their position in the top 100 and improved their performance over time.
Rwanda (102) regained the first position in the low-income group after ranking second in 2020. It ranked 1st in 2015, 2016 and 2019 and has been consistently in the top three of its income group since 2014.
As many as nine other economies in Africa moved up the GII ranks since 2020: Kenya (85), Cape Verde (89), Egypt (94), Namibia (100), Malawi (107), Madagascar (110), Zimbabwe (113), Burkina Faso (115) and Algeria (120).
Cape Verde improved its rank considerably from 103 in 2013, the authors of the report noted.
The GII ranking is based on performance across seven pillars:
Human capital and research
Knowledge and technology outputs
The sub-Saharan Africa region performed the best in the ‘institutions’ category. This is based on the political, regulatory and business environment for strengthening institutions.
Mauritius ranked the highest in the region in the following categories: Institutions (rank 21), infrastructure (65) and creative outputs (31). Namibia came first in ‘human capital and research’ (57) and South Africa in ‘market sophistication’ (23), ‘business sophistication’ (51) as well as ‘knowledge and technology outputs’ (61).
Mauritius also fared well in various categories globally. It stood 21st in ‘institutions’ and 31 in ‘creative outputs’. It needs to work towards improving its performance under ‘business sophistication’ (111) and ‘knowledge and technology outputs’ (93).
Angola in Africa ranked lowest in the global ranking
The number of venture capital (VC) deals grew by 5.8 per cent globally in 2020, exceeding the indicator’s 10-year average growth rate of 3.6 per cent, said WIPO in the report.
Africa too made significant progress last year, with its VC deals growing by 82.7 per cent.
“As the world rebuilds after the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, it is essential to utilise innovation for deepening the transformation of our economies and societies for the good of all,” said Daren Tang, director-general, WIPO.
The global change in the ‘innovation landscape’ is slow and not at the desired pace, the authors pointed out.