Advertisement

Innovation in Africa: A View from the Peaks and Hilltops of a Spiky Continent

  • David Wernick
Part of the International Political Economy Series book series (IPES)

Abstract

In a widely read 2005 article in the Atlantic Monthly, author Richard Florida argued that with respect to innovation, the world is anything but flat. Given the way that creative talent, technical expertise, and financial capital tend to cluster in a handful of hubs or “peaks” around the world — places such as New York, San Francisco, London, Berlin, and Tokyo — the world’s innovation topography is best described as “spiky” (Florida, 2005). Although Africa, to borrow Florida’s metaphor, has few innovation peaks of global significance and lots of valleys (and indeed, plenty of chasms), the continent does contain a growing number of hills, wherein entrepreneurs are profiting from latecomer advantages in technology to design new products, reengineer old ones, and launch bold new business models. African entrepreneurs and corporations have made particular inroads in sectors such as telecommunications and financial services, where firms like Safaricom and MTN Group are world leaders in mobile money. But they have also achieved success in manufacturing, consumer goods, and agriculture (Juma, 2011; Ware, 2013).

Keywords

Private Equity Political Reform Venture Capital Firm Economist Intelligence Unit Frugal Innovation 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Acemoglu, D. and Robinson, J. (2012). Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty. New York: Crown Publishers.Google Scholar
  2. Akinsanmi, G. (2012). “Lagos Emerges Africa’s Most Innovative City.” This Day Live. Retrieved from http://www.thisdaylive.com/articles/lagos-emerges-africas-most-innovative-city/128001/ Google Scholar
  3. BBC. (2014). “Kenya’s Matatu Bus System to Go Cashless.” BBC News. Retrieved from http://www.bbc.com/news/business-28106004 Google Scholar
  4. Berman, J. (2013). Success in Africa: CEO Insights from a Continent on the Rise. Brookline, MA: Bibliomotion.Google Scholar
  5. Chu, J. (2009). “Rwanda Rising: A New Model of Economic Development.” Fast Company. Retrieved from http://www.fastcompany.com/1208900/rwandarising-new-model-economic-development Google Scholar
  6. Coetzee, J. (2015). “8 Exciting African Startup Programmes and Accelerators to Watch in 2015.” Ventureburn. Retrieved from http://ventureburn.com/2015/01/8-excitingafrican-entrepreneurship-programmes-watch-2015/?device=desktop Google Scholar
  7. de Gramont, D. (2015). “Governing Lagos: Unlocking the Politics of Reform.” Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Retrieved from http://carnegieendowment.org/2015/01/12/governing-lagos-unlocking-politics-of-reform/hz99Google Scholar
  8. Deloitte. (2014). “The Deloitte Consumer Review: Africa: A 21st Century View.” Retrieved from http://www2.deloitte.com/uk/en/pages/consumer-business/articles/africa-a-21st-century-view.html
  9. Devarajan, S. and Fengler, W. (2013). “Africa’s Economic Boom.” Foreign Affairs. Retrieved from http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/139109/shantayanandevarajan-and-wolfgang-fengler/africas-economic-boomGoogle Scholar
  10. Dontoh, E. and Kew, J. (2013). “SABMiller Sells Cassava Beer to Woo African Drinkers.” Bloomberg View. Retrieved from http://www.bloomberg.com/bw/articles/2013–05–23/sabmiller–sells–cassava–beer–to–woo–african–drinkersGoogle Scholar
  11. eMarketer. (2014). “Internet to Hit 3 Billion Users in 2015.” Retrieved from http://www.emarketer.com/Article/Internet-Hit-3-Billion-Users-2015/1011602Google Scholar
  12. Ensign, M. M. and Mukantabana, M. (2014). “Rwanda 20 Years Later: A Model for Progress and Reconciliation.” Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved from http://www.csmonitor.com/Commentary/Opinion/2014/0407/Rwanda-20-yearslater-A-model-for-progress-and-reconciliation Google Scholar
  13. Florida, R. (2005). “The World Is Spiky.” The Atlantic. Retrieved from http://www.theatlantic.com/past/docs/images/issues/200510/world-is-spiky.pdf Google Scholar
  14. Freeman, C. (2014). “Meet the Man Who Tamed Nigeria’s Most Lawless City.” Retrieved from http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/africaandindianocean/nigeria/11184759/Meet-the-man-who-tamed-Nigerias-most-lawless-city.htmlGoogle Scholar
  15. Gasore, B. and Kanyesigye, F. (2013). “Rwanda: ‘Smart Kigali’ Brings Free Internet to City.” The New Times (Kigali). Retrieved from http://allafrica.com/stories/201309231105.html Google Scholar
  16. Gettleman, J. (2013). “The Global Elite’s Favorite Strongman.” The New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/08/magazine/paul-kagamerwanda.html Google Scholar
  17. Global Innovation Index. (2014). The Global Innovation Index 2014: The Human Factor in Innovation. Retrieved from https://www.globalinnovationindex.org/content.aspx?page=GII-HomeGoogle Scholar
  18. Green, A. and Whitehead, E. (2013). “Africa’s Next Generation.” This Is Africa. Retrieved from http://www.thisisafricaonline.com/Policy/Africa-s-next-generation?ct=true Google Scholar
  19. Harrison, A., Yifu Lin, J., and Xu, C. (2013). “Explaining Africa’s (Dis)advantage.” The National Bureau of Economic Research, paper 18683. Retrieved from http://www.nber.org/papers/w18683.pdfGoogle Scholar
  20. Holland, M., Tucker, I., Mark, M., Kelly, A., andHonigsbaum, O. (2012). “AfricaInnovations: 15 Ideas Helping to Transform a Continent.” The Guardian. Retrieved from http://www.theguardian.com/world/2012/aug/26/africa-innovations-transform-continent Google Scholar
  21. Hussey, M. (2015). “Silicon Savannah–How Start-ups in Africa Are Taking on Some of Humanity’s Biggest Challenges.” The Huffington Post. Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/matthew-hussey/african-startups-take-on-challenges_b_6416676.htmlGoogle Scholar
  22. IT News Africa. (2014). “Rwanda’s President Tweeting up a Storm.” Retrieved from http://www.itnewsafrica.com/2014/10/rwandas-president-tweeting-up-a-storm/ Google Scholar
  23. Jack, A. (2014). “Low Technology and Innovative Funding Carry Africa’s Hopes.” Financial Times. Retrieved from http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/ca2e7f66–6f3a11e4–8d86–00144feabdc0.html?siteedition=intl#axzz3Qcq7PRqQGoogle Scholar
  24. Jackson, T. (2015). “Africa’s New Breed of ‘Solar-Preneurs.’” BBC News. Retrieved from http://www.bbc.com/news/business-30805419 Google Scholar
  25. Juma, C. (2011). “Africa’s New Engine.” International Monetary Fund. Retrieved from http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/fandd/2011/12/juma.htm Google Scholar
  26. Kaplan, S. (2012). “City Development States: Why Lagos Works Better than Nigeria.” Retrieved from http://www.policyinnovations.org/ideas/innovations/data/000212/:pf_printable?sourceDoc=000065Google Scholar
  27. Kay, C., Spillane, C., and Kew, J. (2013). “Trying to Build the Next Amazon in Nigeria.” Bloomberg. Retrieved from http://www.bloomberg.com/bw/articles/2013–11–21/jumia–africas–amazon–dot–com–takes–cash–and–delivers–by–motorbikeGoogle Scholar
  28. Keeler, D. (2014). “Elumelu Foundation Launches $100m Program to Boost African Business.” FrontierMarkets. Retrieved from http://blogs.wsj.com/frontiers/2014/12/01/elumelu-foundation-launches-100m-program-to-boost-african-business/Google Scholar
  29. Kelly, T. (2014). “Tech hubs across Africa: Which will be the legacy-makers?” The World Bank Informational and Communications for Development (IC4D) Blog. Retrieved from http://blogs.worldbank.org/ic4d/tech-hubs-across-africa-which-will-belegacy-makers Google Scholar
  30. Kew, J. and Fletcher, C. (2014). “SABMiller Cleans up South Africa’s Bars to Attract Women.” Bloomberg. Retrieved from http://www.bloomberg.com/bw/articles/2014–05-29/sabmiller-cleans-up-south-africas-bars-to-attract-women Google Scholar
  31. Lesle, T. (2013). “The Simple Water Pump that’s Changing Lives across the World.” WIRED. Retrieved from http://www.wired.com/2013/12/2112kickstart/ Google Scholar
  32. Lucas, L. and Manson, K. (2012). “Brewers See New Horizons in Africa.” Financial Times. Retrieved from http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/7b7e1c84–5343–11e1–aafd00144feabdc0.html?siteedition=intl#axzz3Qcq7PRqQGoogle Scholar
  33. McGregor, S. (2012). “Kenya’s M–KOPA Gives Phone–Loans to Put Solar Power in Reach.” Bloomberg. Retrieved from http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012–10–04/kenya–s–m–kopa–offers–cheaper–solar–power–to–off–grid–villages.htmlGoogle Scholar
  34. McGroarty, P. and Sidel, R. (2013). “Visa Plants a Seed for Growth Abroad.” Wall Street Journal. Retrieved from http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424127887323687604578466671317052766Google Scholar
  35. McKinsey. (2013). “Lions Go Digital: The Internet’s Transformative Potential in Africa.” Retrieved from http://www.mckinsey.com/insights/high_tech_telecoms_internet/lions_go_digital_the_internets_transformative_potential_in_africa Google Scholar
  36. Melhem, S. (2014). “Smart Africa Returns with a Focus on Rwanda.” Information and Communications for Development. Retrieved from http://blogs.worldbank.org/ic4d/smart-africa-returns-focus-rwandaGoogle Scholar
  37. Moules, J. (2014). “Apps Mean Jobs for Young Nigerians.” Financial Times. Retrieved from http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/77df79a8-c716–11e3–889e-00144feabdc0.html#axzz3PJbocDnuGoogle Scholar
  38. Njogu, L. (2014). “Top 10 List of Most Destructive Technologies in Kenya.” PIVOT East. Retrieved from http://www.pivoteast.com/top-10-list-destructivetechnologies-kenya-last-5-years/ Google Scholar
  39. Nsehe, M. (2011). “EBay Billionaire Omidyar Gives Nigerian Tech Incubator $200,000.” Forbes. Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/sites/mfonobongnsehe/2011/07/20/ebay-billionaire-omidyar-gives-nigerian-tech-incubator-200000/Google Scholar
  40. Nsehe, M. (2013). “Meet the Entrepreneur Working to Challenge Nokia, Blackberry and Samsung in Africa.” Forbes. Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/sites/mfonobongnsehe/2013/04/30/meet-the-entrepreneur-working-to-challenge-nokiablackberry-and-samsung-in-africa/ Google Scholar
  41. Nsehe, M. (2014). “American Billionaire Ronald Lauder Is Funding Africa’s Cheapest Car.” Forbes. Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/sites/mfonobongnsehe/2014/05/12/american-billionaire-ronald-lauder-is-funding-africas-cheapest-car/Google Scholar
  42. Olopade, D. (2014). The Bright Continent: Breaking Rules and Making Change in Modern Africa. New York: Houghton Miffl in Harcourt.Google Scholar
  43. Pooler, M. (2014). “Internet Retailer Tapping into Diaspora Dollars.” Financial Times. Retrieved from http://blogs.ft.com/beyond-brics/2014/06/20/internetretailer-tapping-into-diaspora-dollars/ Google Scholar
  44. PWC. (2014). Paying Taxes 2015: The Global Picture. Retrieved from http://www.pwc.com/gx/en/paying-taxes/assets/pwc-paying-taxes-2014.pdfGoogle Scholar
  45. Radjou, N., Prabhu, J., Ahuja, S., and Roberts, K. (2012). Jugaad Innovation: Think Frugal, Be Flexible, Generate Breakthrough Growth. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  46. Rice, X. (2012). “Africa: Lessons from Lagos.” Financial Times. Retrieved from http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/8b24d40a-c064–11e1–982d00144feabdc0.html?siteedition=intl#axzz3Qcq7PRqQGoogle Scholar
  47. Rice, X. (2013). “Internet Sales Flourish in Nigeria.” Financial Times. Retrieved from http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/3f455b7e–b1bb–11e2–9315–00144feabdc0.html#axzz3PlSJq45mGoogle Scholar
  48. Ryan, F. (2014). “A New Frontier: Africa’s ‘Explosive’ Homebrew Market.” Financial Times. Retrieved from http://blogs.ft.com/beyond-brics/2014/05/23/a-newfrontier-africas-explosive-homebrew-market/ Google Scholar
  49. Smith, D. (2013). “Rwanda Strikes 4G Internet Deal with South Korean Telecoms Firm.” The Guardian. Retrieved from http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/jun/11/rwanda-4g-internet-south-korea Google Scholar
  50. Sonne, P., Maylie, D., and Hinshaw, D. (2013). “With West Flat, Big Brewers Peddle Cheap Beer in Africa.” Wall Street Journal. Retrieved from http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424127887324034804578348533702226420 Google Scholar
  51. The Economist. (2010a). “First Break All the Rules.” The Economist. Retrieved from http://www.economist.com/node/15879359Google Scholar
  52. The Economist. (2010b). “Security for Shillings.” The Economist. Retrieved from http://www.economist.com/node/15663856Google Scholar
  53. The Economist. (2011). “A Rare Good Man.” The Economist. Retrieved from http://www.economist.com/node/18652563Google Scholar
  54. The Economist. (2012a). “A Glass Half-Full.” The Economist. Retrieved from http://www.economist.com/node/21551494Google Scholar
  55. The Economist. (2012b). “Angels in Lagos.” The Economist. Retrieved from http://www.economist.com/blogs/baobab/2012/10/nigerias-entrepreneursGoogle Scholar
  56. The Economist. (2012c). “From Lumps to Lager.” The Economist. Retrieved from http://www.economist.com/node/21551092Google Scholar
  57. The Economist. (2012d). “Upwardly Mobile.” The Economist. Retrieved from http://www.economist.com/node/21560912Google Scholar
  58. The Economist. (2013). “The Next Frontier.” Retrieved from http://www.economist.com/news/business/21571889-technology-companies-have-their-eye-africaibm-leading-way-next-frontierGoogle Scholar
  59. The Economist. (2014a). “Africa’s Testing Ground.” The Economist. Retrieved from http://www.economist.com/news/business/21613341-make-it-big-africa-business-mustsucceed-nigeria-continents-largest-market-noGoogle Scholar
  60. The Economist. (2014b). “On the Rise.” The Economist. Retrieved from http://www.economist.com/news/middle-east-and-africa/21611112-scientific-research-africagathering-momentum-riseGoogle Scholar
  61. The Economist. (2014c). “Rocket Machine.” The Economist. Retrieved from http://www.economist.com/news/special-report/21593586-how-build-companies-kit-rocketmachineGoogle Scholar
  62. The Economist. (2014d). “Slim SIMS.” The Economist. Retrieved from http://www.economist.com/blogs/baobab/2014/09/disrupting-mobile-banking-kenyaGoogle Scholar
  63. The Economist. (2014e). “The Beer Frontier.” The Economist. Retrieved from http://www.economist.com/news/business/21602999-long-established-african-firm-wentglobal-only-find-fastest-growing-market-was-itsGoogle Scholar
  64. The Economist. (2015). “Unblocking the Pipes.” The Economist. Retrieved from http://www.economist.com/news/leaders/21640349-africa-needs-lot-capital-privateequity-offers-lessons-how-get-it-there-unblockingGoogle Scholar
  65. The Economist Intelligence Unit. (2013). “Democracy Index 2013: Democracy in Limbo.” Retrieved from http://www.ihsnews.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/Democracy_Index_2013_WEB-2.pdf Google Scholar
  66. Topping, A. (2014). “Rwanda’s women make strides towards equality 20 years after the genocide.” The Guardian. Retrieved from http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2014/apr/07/rwanda-women-empowered-impoverishedGoogle Scholar
  67. United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). (2014). World Investment Report 2014. UNCTAD. Retrieved from http://unctad.org/en/publicationslibrary/wir2014_en.pdf Google Scholar
  68. United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA). (2013). World Population Prospects: The 2012 Revision. UNDESA. Retrieved from http://esa.un.org/wpp/Google Scholar
  69. UNESCO. (2014). “Africa’s Minds: Build a Better Future.” Retrieved from http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0022/002278/227858e.pdf Google Scholar
  70. UN Habitat. (2014). “The State of African Cities 2014.” Retrieved from http://unhabitat.org/the-state-of-african-cities-2014/Google Scholar
  71. Vogt, H. (2015). “Making Change: Mobile Pay in Africa.” Wall Street Journal. Retrieved from http://www.wsj.com/articles/making-change-mobile-pay-in-africa-1420156199 Google Scholar
  72. Walt, V. (2014). “Lagos, Nigeria: Africa’s Big Apple.” Fortune. Retrieved from http://fortune.com/2014/06/12/lagos-nigeria-big-apple/ Google Scholar
  73. Ware, G. (2013). “The Rise of Africa’s B-brands.” The Africa Report. Retrieved from http://www.theafricareport.com/North-Africa/the-rise-of-africas-b-brands.html Google Scholar
  74. World Bank. (2014a). Doing Business 2015: Going Beyond Efficiency. Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://www.doingbusiness.org/~/media/GIAWB/Doing%20Business/Documents/Annual-Reports/English/DB15-Chapters/DB15-Report-Overview.pdfCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. World Bank. (2014b). Rwanda Overview. Retrieved from http://www.worldbank.org/en/country/rwanda/overviewGoogle Scholar
  76. World Bank and African Development Bank. (2012). The Transformational Use of Information and Communication Technologies in Africa. Retrieved from http://www.infodev.org/infodev-files/resource/InfodevDocuments_1162.pdfGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© David Wernick 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Wernick

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations