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Journal of the Knowledge Economy

, Volume 8, Issue 1, pp 211–253 | Cite as

Knowledge Economy Gaps, Policy Syndromes, and Catch-Up Strategies: Fresh South Korean Lessons to Africa

  • Simplice A. AsonguEmail author
Article

Abstract

Africa’s overall knowledge index fell between 2000 and 2009. South Korea’s economic miracle is largely due to a knowledge-based development strategy that holds valuable lessons for African countries in their current pursuit towards knowledge economies. Using updated data (1996–2010), this paper presents fresh South Korean lessons to Africa by assessing the knowledge economy (KE) gaps, deriving policy syndromes, and providing catch-up strategies. The 53 peripheral African countries are decomposed into fundamental characteristics of wealth, legal origins, regional proximity, oil-exporting, political stability, and landlockedness. The World Bank’s four KE components are used: education, innovation, information and communication technology (ICT), and economic incentives and institutional regime. Absolute beta and sigma convergence techniques are employed as empirical strategies. With the exception of ICT for which catch-up is not very apparent, in increasing order, it is visible in innovation, economic incentives, education, and institutional regime. The speed of catch-up varies between 8.66 and 30.00 % per annum with respective time to full or 100 % catch-up of 34.64 and 10 years. Based on the trends and dynamics in the KE gaps, policy syndromes and compelling catch-up strategies are discussed. Issues standing on the way to KE in Africa are dissected with great acuteness before South Korean relevant solutions are provided to both scholars and firms. The paper is original in its provision of practical policy initiatives drawn from the Korean experience to African countries embarking on a transition to KE.

Keywords

Knowledge economy Catch-up South Korea Africa 

JEL Classification

O10 O30 O38 O55 O57 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This paper was funded by the Global Development Network (GDN) and the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA). It received the 2014 KOICA President’s award for best submission from a developing country. I am highly indebted to: (i) Prof. Eun Mee Kim for mentorship and constructive comments; (ii) two anonymous referees for constructive comments and (iii) Ms Savi Mull and Mr Vasundhra Thakur for logistics and networking coordination.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.African Governance and Development InstituteYaoundéCameroon

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