13 Most Innovative Countries In Africa

13 Most Innovative Countries In Africa

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You won’t find an African country among the world’s top 25 performers for innovation. The top 25 countries on the newly released Global Innovation Index 2015 are all high-income economies headed by Switzerland, the U.K., Sweden, the Netherlands and the U.S.

But several low-income African countries are outperforming their peers based on gross domestic product, earning the designation of “innovation achievers.”

A number of low-income economies in sub-Saharan Africa are performing increasingly well at levels previously seen in the lower-middle-income group, according to a press release today by the Global Innovation Index.

Rwanda (ranked 94th globally), Mozambique (ranked 95th globally) and Malawi (ranked 98 globally) are now performing like middle-income economies, according to the report. In addition, Kenya, Mali, Burkina Faso and Uganda are generally outperforming other economies at their level of development.

Kenya (ranked 92nd globally), Mozambique (95th) and Uganda (111th) top the rankings of the low-income country group. South Africa (ranked 60th) and eight countries in sub-Saharan show notable performance above what their level of development would suggest,
notably Senegal (84th), Kenya, Rwanda, Mozambique, Malawi, Burkina Faso (102nd), Mali (105th) and Uganda.

“These innovation achievers demonstrate rising levels of innovation results because of improvements made to institutional frameworks, a skilled labor force with expanded tertiary education, better innovation infrastructures, a deeper integration with global credit investment and trade markets, and a sophisticated business community—even if progress on these dimensions is not uniform across their economies,” the report said.

“Entrepreneurship, leadership and political will are making a difference regarding innovation in all regions of the world,” said Bruno Lanvin, co-editor of the report. “Barriers are falling, and innovation achievers are displaying performances higher than what their income per capita would suggest. Their experience is now becoming a basis for other countries to emulate their success and turn innovation into a truly global engine for sustainable growth.”

The Global Innovation Index 2015 is co-published by Cornell University, INSEAD, and the World Intellectual Property Organization, a specialized agency of the United Nations, in partnership with A.T. Kearney.

The index claims to go beyond the traditional measures of innovation such as the level of research and development, and has evolved into a benchmarking tool to facilitate public-private dialogue. Policymakers, business leaders and other stakeholders can evaluate progress with it.

The index ranks the strengths and weaknesses on 81 indicators in the following areas: institutions, human capital and research, infrastructure, market sophistication, business sophistication, knowledge and technology outputs and creative outputs.

Several countries were tied for scores in the rankings.

These are the 13 most innovative countries in Africa, starting with No. 13, along with their overall global rankings out of 141 countries according to the Global Innovation Index 2015.

Windhoek, Namibia
Windhoek, Namibia. Photo: Gary Latham/Getty Images.

13. Namibia Ranked No. 107

Mud Mosque, Djenne
Market stalls, Great Mud Mosque, Djenne. Photo: Timothy Alle/Getty Images

12. Mali – Ranked No. 105

Fogo, Cabo Verde
Island of Fogo Mosteiros, Cabo Verde

11. Cabo Verde – Ranked No. 103

Burkina Faso
Avenue Kwame Nkruma, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. Photo: Tom Cockrem/Getty Images

10. Burkina Faso – Ranked No. 102

Blantyre CBD, Malawi.
Blantyre CBD, Malawi. Photo: ntyre CBD, Malawi
Credit: Christopher Scott/Getty Images

9. Malawi – Ranked No. 98

Maputo skyline
Maputo skyline with crane. Photo: Dana Sanchez

8. Mozambique – Ranked No. 95

Kigali, Rwanda
Kigali, Rwanda. Photo: Michael Sugrue/Getty Images

7. Rwanda – Ranked No. 94

financial inclusion Africa Kenya
Nairobi, Kenya. Getty

6. Kenya – Ranked No. 92

Gaborone Botswana
Workers polish diamonds in Gaborone. Photo: Monirul Bhuiyan/Getty Images

5. Botswana – Ranked No. 90

market, Senegal
Momar Sar weekly market, Senegal. Photo: Aldo Pavan/Getty Images

4. Senegal – Ranked No. 84

Market Street, Victoria, Mahe Island, Seychelles. Photo: Jan Greune/Getty Images

3. Seychelles – Ranked No. 65th

african innovation
Photo: Dimitri Vervitsiotis/Getty Images

2. South Africa – Ranked No. 60

Ice-cream seller on motorcycle in Mauritius. Photo: John Borthwick/Getty Images

1. Mauritius – Ranked No. 49 globally