Modes of Innovation and the Prospects for Economic Integration in Africa

Published in: 
Africa Insight 43(3): 80-99.
Mario Scerri

This paper develops and applies a concept of modes of innovation to the issue of economic development and the integration of African economies. This concept, which is located in the systems of innovation approach to economic dynamics, is first developed in the context of the development of capitalism. It is then applied to the evolution of African systems of innovation over three periods spanning colonialism, and the early and late post colonial periods to explore the shifting locations of African economies in the global economy. The argument for the effective integration of African economies as the necessary condition for the sustainable development of African economies is then articulated from perspective of the modes of innovation concept. This analysis based on modes of innovation highlights the enduring and perhaps increasing disjuncture between the prevalent mode of innovation in Africa and the globally dominant one. Path dependence and cumulative development tend to reinforce this disjuncture unless decisive steps are taken to shift the location of economies in Africa away from national systems of innovation to regional and continental systems.

Research output tags: 
Thematic Area: 
Publication Category: