Mauritius leads innovation in Sub-Saharan Africa; ranked in Top 50 globally
Mauritius (40th), Seychelles (51st) and South Africa (53rd) are the only three Sub-Saharan African countries to hit the upper half of the Global Innovation Index rankings this year. (Image: ZD Net)
Mauritius yet again leads the region on innovation, having been ranked 40th world-wide in the Global Innovation Index (GII) 2014 report, of 143 economies surveyed this year.
Mauritius (40th), Seychelles (51st) and South Africa (53rd) are the only three Sub-Saharan African countries to hit the upper half of the GII annual rankings by Cornell University, INSEAD and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).
Having said this, the Sub-Saharan African region has seen major improvements in its GII rankings, with Côte d’Ivoire showing the biggest improvement at 20 places and Mauritius showcasing an improvement of 13 places over its ranking in 2013 at 53.
The report, released last week in Australia at a gathering of international business leaders (known as B20), is in its 7th edition and is themed ‘Human Factor in Innovation’.
The GII 2014 is calculated as the average of two sub-indices. The Innovation Input Sub-Index gauges elements of the national economy which embody innovative activities grouped in five pillars: (1) Institutions, (2) Human capital and research, (3) Infrastructure, (4) Market sophistication, and (5) Business sophistication.
The Innovation Output Sub-Index captures actual evidence of innovation results, divided in two pillars: (6) Knowledge and technology outputs and (7) Creative outputs.
In sub-indices, Mauritius is ranked 42th in the Input Sub-Index, 43rd in the Output Sub-index, 67th in Infrastructure, 20th in Market sophistication and 31st in Creative outputs.
Mauritius’ greatest strength was in the Institutions sub-index, where it performed well above the average score of the high-income group and is ranked 27th.
However, it scored below the average of the upper-middle income group in Human capital and research (80th), yet is closing the gap in both Business sophistication (80th) and Knowledge and technology outputs (72nd).
Moreover, the island performed above the upper-middle income group average score in GII rankings, to gain the status of an “innovation learner” – economies that perform at least 10 percent higher than their peers for their level of gross domestic product
The report outlined that a chunk of innovation learner economies are from Sub-Saharan Africa, which boasts nearly 50% of such economies. This year, five new countries qualify: Gambia. Burkina Faso, Rwanda, Malawi and Mozambique.
Seychelles, a new entrant into the GII rankings, is ranked 51st to become the second Sub-Saharan African nation placed in the upper half of the rankings. It is followed by South Africa which has been in the upper half of the rankings since inception, and improves its 58th rank in 2013 by 5 places this year.
Kenya, another one of Sub-Saharan Africa’s innovation learners, improves by 14 places, rising from 99th to 85th in the rankings.
Moreover, Uganda, Botswana, Ghana, Cabo Verde, and Senegal are other countries from the Sub-Saharan African region to be ranked among the top 100.
“Many Sub-Saharan African countries are fostering innovation through the implementation of various initiatives and programmes,” the report mentioned.
Besides, South Africa’s largest economy Nigeria also improved in the GII rankings from 120th to 110th place.
It placed above both its region’s average and its income group’s average in two pillars – the efficiency score where it is ranked 8th and performance in Creative outputs, ranked 69th.
“The relative performance advantage of some of these nations is significant, reaching scores over 35% above the regional average in some areas,” the report stated.
Globally, Switzerland remains the leader for the fourth consecutive year. The United Kingdom and Sweden have swapped to second and third places respectively. Finland comes fourth from sixth place last year, while Netherland’s, last year’s fourth entry, rounds up the top five. Among the top 10, USA (6th), Singapore (7th), Denmark (8th) and Hong Kong (10th) continue to feature while a new entry this year is Luxembourg (9th).