Climbing the ladder

Mauritius Retains Local Lead As Africa Joins Global Innovation Rankings

By  |  January 12, 2023

When one contemplates the historiographical antiquity of the internet and digital innovation, one would realize there is little to no literature about Africa’s role in the revolution. A few decades ago, the continent was completely not in the picture. 

Since 2010, however, Africa has been steadfast in its attempt to get in on the act. The region has gone from being an outlier to nurturing what is often referenced as the world’s fastest-growing digital innovation ecosystem, thanks to reducing adult illiteracy levels, a largely young populace, and an abundance of frontier markets.

An innovation report (PDF) newly released by the World Intellectual Property Organization—the United Nations’ specialized agency that is the global forum for intellectual property (IP)-related services policy, information, and cooperation—says multiple countries in Africa are joining the ranks of economies spiritedly pushing for technological transformation. 

According to the report, more nations in the region have increased their rankings in the last couple of years, joining first-world economies on the innovation index. Nonetheless, some countries are outperforming others, and the trend is not evenly distributed geographically

From that perspective, Mauritius is retaining its title as the most innovative country in Africa, having climbed 7 places from its 2021 position to occupy the 45th space in the global ranking. The subtropical island nation along East Africa’s coast has, in the past few years, leveraged its service-based economy to drive ICT development. 

Interestingly, Mauritius is Africa’s most sought-after startup incorporation destination, thanks to its low-tax, business-friendly, and economically progressive environment. 

South Africa comes in second position in the continent, given its historical attachment to inventions and its overall role when it comes to showing potential for the rest of Sub-Saharan. The country, which occupies the 61st place in the global ranking, is reported to create more innovation outputs and input. South Africa is a huge software spender and has significant market capitalization.

African tech’s origin can be traced back to 1921 when South Africa received its first tabulating service from IBM, then known as the Computing-Tabulating-Recording Company. 

In third place is Morocco, ranking 67th on the index. The North African kingdom has been looking for ways to harness innovation for the scaling of its economy’s most productive sectors. Thanks to its tech-forward strife, the economy is growing faster than it was before the outset of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Tunisia came in fourth (73rd), while Southern Africa’s least populated country, Botswana, relegated Kenya, East Africa’s largest economy, to come in fifth (86th). 

As Africa’s mobile service subscription figures grow, it is expected that there will be 615 million users by 2025. Herein lies what could be one of the world’s last opportunities to leverage creative capacities for socioeconomic rejigging. 

Image Courtesy: Ted Ideas

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