Systems of Innovation and Human Capital in African Development
AbstractIn this paper, we propose that historically generated institutions and persistent pattern of human capital formation conditions the emergent systems of innovation in Africa. These effectively determine the development trajectory of the region. We advance the notion of dynamic and non-dynamic systems of innovation, the latter describing the African condition. In doing this, we combine the strand of literature on institutions and their persistence in shaping industrialisation with the literature on evolutionary theory and systems of innovation. We provide evidence of the colonial origins of skewed schooling enrolment, at variance with the industrialisation and wealth creation objective of modern economies. Employing simple statistical tests, the persistence of initial human capital (school enrolment) reflects in the significant correlation among the three levels of schooling enrolments, and correlation of enrolment in 1970 with per capital income in 2000, a periodicity of some three decades. This outcome is consistent with the literature on countries at early stages of development. Path-dependency is partially proved by the human capital variables even though we did not attempt to investigate all variables making up the system of innovation. Our findings suggest that Africa's present underdeveloped system of innovation in part has its roots in both the past and present poor pattern of human capital formation. This is a first tentative attempt to explore long-run development in Africa within the systems of innovation framework
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by United Nations University, Institute for New Technologies in its series Discussion Papers with number 2.
Date of creation: 2003
Date of revision:
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Web page: http://www.intech.unu.edu
innovation; technology policy; government policy; Africa; human capital; path-dependency;
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-DEV-2003-07-10 (Development)
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