Design and Engineering Capacity Building for a Sustainable Development of African Economies: The Case of Algeria
While building innovation capabilities is now clearly understood as a key element in inclusive growth and sustainable development, many attempts to build innovation systems in most developing countries are meeting tremendous difficulties. Amongst the components of innovation dynamics, the issue of design and engineering (D&E) is drawing more and more attention from international organisations and a growing corpus of researchers, both in the North and in the South. Yet D&E raises various questions related to the concepts, the tools and the instruments it uses, but more profoundly and in particular, its links with R&D and innovation. It also raises questions regarding the policies needed to build D&E capabilities. Finally, it raises questions with regards to the practices of D&E and interactive learning at the enterprise level. To assess the real situation, we looked at a small sample of 20 Algerian firms from both the public and private sectors. They include both small and big enterprises from 11 different industries. Design and Engineering is a neglected function throughout the North African region, which explains why local industry is still highly dependent on external sources for technical change and innovation. This is due to a host of factors, namely the low level of policy awareness, weak linkages with the training system, outdated syllabuses, low implication of the experienced workers, and little practice of reverse engineering.
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