Fact of the Week: Among Low-Income Countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, and Uganda Have Shown the Most Progress Since 2012 in Developing Innovation Capabilities

October 14, 2016

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Some nations in Sub-Saharan Africa have embraced innovation-favoring policies more readily than others as part of their economic-development strategies. According to the World Intellectual Property Organization’s (WIPO) annual Global Innovation Index, which ranks nations’ innovation ecosystems according to 82 indicators, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, and Uganda distinguish themselves as low-income Sub-Saharan nations that have shown the most progress since 2012 in developing better innovation ecosystems.

WIPO’s index scores countries’ innovation ecosystems on seven categories of indicators—institutions, human capital and research, infrastructure, market sophistication, business sophistication, knowledge and technology outputs, and creative outputs. In this context, Kenya climbed 1.4 index points from 2012 to 2016, changing its status from low-income to lower-middle income, thanks in significant part to its key strengths in the areas of knowledge diffusion and absorption. Malawi meanwhile rose 1.9 points with key strengths in education and knowledge absorption. Mozambique, showing strength in the areas of education and infrastructure, moved up 3.5 points. Rwanda gained 2.1 points, thanks largely to business and market sophistication. And Uganda added 1.5 points, drawing on its innovation linkages and knowledge absorption. As a comparison, the other low-income Sub-Saharan nations included in the index saw their scores decrease by an average 0.2 points.