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Innovation of New and Emerging Technology for Industrial Development in Africa

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Most countries in the OECD see the innovation of new and emerging technologies (NET) as a key factor supporting industrial competitiveness. While they intensify their investments in NET and the Newly Industrializing Countries show remarkable ability to follow suit, African nations are not involved and seem to be slipping backwards in terms of their ability to cope with industry and technology. The prevailing current of opinion is that NET is too sophisticated for most African countries and they should concentrate on mastering simpler technologies first. In this paper, it is argued that African countries must involve themselves with NET and can do so in certain areas. The paper is based on the first stage of an OECD Development Centre project which is investigating a strategy for encouraging the research, management, innovation, manufacturing and marketing of NET-based products and services in the natural resource sector of Southern African countries. The report defines NET in a development context, lays out the importance of innovating NET in Africa and introduces a strategy focussing on market-driven technological innovation and diffusion which will be tested in the ongoing research project.

Affiliations: 1: Socio Tech Inc., Box 5.3, Old Chelsea, Quebec, Canada J0X 2N0; 2: Centre for Development Action, 14, Allée René Leriche, 91300, Massey, France

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