Global Innovation Index 2014 spells promising signs for Africa


Swizerland, the United Kingdom and Sweden have been named the world’s most innovative countries of 2014. The seventh annual Global Innovation Index (GII) study also found positive signs for Sub-Saharan Africa’s innovation performance, highlighting its strong growth.

Regionally, Mauritius and Seychelles beat South Africa to the chase in the African continent. The regional winner, Mauritius, came 40th globally and has shown an impressive improvement of 13 places from 53rd in 2013. Sub-Saharan Africa’s performance on the GII:

Mauritius 40 1
Seychelles 51 2
South Africa 53 3

Overall, according to the findings, Sub-Saharan Africa has seen the most significant improvement of all regions in the GII rankings. Of the 33 African countries surveyed, 17 have shown an improvement since 2013.

Although not topping the regional charts, South Africa was also among the BRICS countries that showed positive rankings this year. Brazil, South Africa, China and Russia improved from 2013 with the latter two being the most impressive. India did however drop 10 places to 76th this year.

Notably, the report found that Gambia, Burkini Faso, Rwana, Malawi, Mozambique are showing rising levels of innovation, particularly in the areas of human capital and research and market sophistication. This means that Sub-Saharan Africa now accounts for almost 50% of countries with the status of “innovation learner” — those that average at least 10% higher than their peers for their level of gross domestic product:


The report is co-published by Cornell University, INSEAD, and the World Intellectual Property Organization. The report findings are based on five input pillars namely Institutions, Human capital and research, Infrastructure, Market sophistication, and Business sophistication. These findings are then weighed up against Knowledge, Technology and Creative outputs.

The study suggests that the countries that have shown to be an “innovation learner” should leverage their strengths. The most prominent strengths include improvements made to institutional frameworks, a skilled labor force with expanded tertiary education, better innovation infrastructures, a deeper integration with global credit investment and trade markets, and a sophisticated business community.

The World’s Top Ten is shown below, with Swizerland, the United Kingdom and Sweden comfortably leading the pack:


Image by Lauren Finkel via Flickr

Jacques Coetzee: Staff Reporter


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