Innovation and Export in Africa

Innovation and Export in Africa.

Innovation and Export in Africa

Innovation and Export in Africa

Innovation is the action or act of innovating, that is, modifying customs, models, legislations, products or processes. Renewal or create a novelty.

The concept of innovation is broad and can be used in all sectors, be it academic, business, environmental or economic. In this sense, the act of innovating means the need to create different ways or strategies, by the usual means, to achieve a certain goal. To innovate is to invent, whether ideas, processes, tools or services.

For Joseph Schumpeter (economist, 1883-1950), innovation is the process of creating the new and destroying what is becoming obsolete. It is the company’s ability to overcome perfect competition by establishing a temporary monopoly situation by creating a new market for its products.


Innovation and Export in Africa

And where do we find the connection between Innovation and Export?

The more innovative a country is, the more products and services it can make available in the global marketplace, overcoming perfect competition and creating a temporary monopoly situation. The theory of economic growth also has an export cause, because economic growth only occurs as a result of productivity or export.

There is no magic. Countries only also have Economic Growth if they increase their Productivity and/or increase their Exports. And this is achieved with Innovation.

In the image above we can see the 10 countries that most filed patent applications for innovative products and services in 2018, among which the first four are USA (56,142 patents), China (53,345 patents), Japan (49,702 patents) and Germany (19,883 patents).

It is no coincidence that these same 4 countries with the most patent applications for innovative products and services were also the 4 most exporting countries on the planet in 2018!

Just to record the disparity and comparison, these are the patent application quantities for innovative products and services in Africa, by WIPO – World Intellectual Properties Organization in 2018:

PCT patents applications in 2018


(*) Countries Code 2018
31 South Africa ZA 275
73 Algeria DZ 17
80 Kenya KE 8
84 Tunisia TN 7
91 Sudan SD 6
97 Mauritius MU 4
99 Senegal SN 4
102 Namibia NA 3
104 Seychelles SC 2
106 Nigeria NG 2
109 Libya LY 2
110 United Republic of Tanzania TZ 2
111 Zambia ZM 2
114 Zimbabwe ZW 1
117 Cameroon CM 1
121 Uganda UG 1
122 Madagascar MG 1
125 Democratic Republic of the Congo CD 1
126 Niger NE 1
128 Rwanda RW 1
135 Côte d’Ivoire CI 0
138 Burundi BI 0
139 Ghana GH 0
142 Gabon GA 0
143 Botswana BW 0
144 Angola AO 0
148 Liberia LR 0
149 Eswatini SZ 0
151 Togo TG 0
152 Benin BJ 0
154 Congo CG 0
157 Sierra Leone SL 0
160 Equatorial Guinea GQ 0
162 Mozambique MZ 0
163 Chad TD 0
164 Burkina Faso BF 0
165 Eritrea ER 0
166 Ethiopia ET 0
169 Mali ML 0
171 Malawi MW 0

(*) Ranking among all countries (174 countries)

Innovation and Export in Africa

It is important that the African countries have to work harder to generate Programs and Projects to improve Innovation – and consequently improve their Productivity and Exports.

(Alfredo Kleper Lavor, economist)

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