Barriers to Innovation and Public Policy in Sub-Sahara Africa



Countries in sub-Sahara Africa are increasingly becoming aware of the role of Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) in lifting the region from the doldrums of poverty and deprivation. This is necessary if the continent aims to add value to its raw material in order to remain competitive in the global market and at the same time diversify the structure of its economies.  This paper aims to explore policies on STI implemented across countries in the region and how these policies have managed to change the status quo and ultimately led to building technological capability economies to enhance the wellbeing of the region.The paper primarily focuses on countries within sub-Sahara Africa excluding North Africa and the Middle East. However, comparisons are occasionally drawn from certain countries in the west and emerging economies.The paper systematically reviews national science, technology and innovation plans of selected countries in sub-Sahara Africa. Other secondary sources included credible journal articles, commentary, webpages, working papers and reports published on the selected countries.Empirical evidence gathered from secondary sources indicate that governments in the region have built public organizations and institutions to support STI. Yet technology-capability indicators available illustrates the results are far from expectation. The paper further discusses the barriers faced by governments in the design and implementation of STI policies that have led to the ensuing situation.In the face of the significant progress in setting up institutional frameworks across countries in the region leading to the adoption of a systemic approach, the ensuing results of STI policies in the region is marginal as evidenced in the indicators. Human and financial resources devoted to them are in shortfall. We admonish countries in the region to take all the necessary steps to develop national evaluation and STI data stand. The success of this approach will be contingent on the region first of all being able to evolve a specific conceptual and methodological tools for monitoring and assessing STI policies. Area of financing STI policies have to be reconsidered. Tax incentives and havens for technology related businesses ought to be given priority to augment already existing instruments such as export-led instruments.

Keywords: Barriers; Sub-Sahara Africa; Policy, Science and Technology and Innovation (STI); Entrepreneurship.

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ISSN (Paper)2224-5731 ISSN (Online)2225-0972

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