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Mauritius Leads ‘Africa’s Big Four’ in Global Innovation Index 2021

Mauritius has been named the most innovative country in Africa in the latest Global Innovation Index (GII 2021) published by World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO). The country ranked 52nd out of 132 economies and it is ahead of Africa’s big four-Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya, and Egypt.

Mauritius which has experienced an economic boom over the years was trailed by South Africa (61), Tunisia (71), and Kenya (85) in terms of innovation, according to the 15th edition of the GII 2021. 

Kenya and Tanzania are among developing economies that have performed above expectations on innovation relative to their economic development, the index showed. They have retained their position in the top 100 and improved their performance over time.

Rwanda (102) regained the first position in the low-income group after ranking second in 2020.  It ranked 1st in 2015, 2016 and 2019 and has been consistently in the top three of its income group since 2014.

As many as nine other economies in Africa moved up the GII ranks since 2020: Kenya (85), Cape Verde (89), Egypt (94), Namibia (100), Malawi (107), Madagascar (110), Zimbabwe (113), Burkina Faso (115) and Algeria (120). 

Nigeria’s overall GII ranking was 118, a single-digit drop from last year when it got 117. As for Innovation Inputs and Outputs, Nigeria ranked 115 and 124 respectively.

The GII ranking is based on performance across seven pillars:

  • Institutions
  • Human capital and research
  • Infrastructure
  • Market sophistication
  • Business sophistication’
  • Knowledge and technology outputs
  • Creative outputs 

Meanwhile, the sub-Saharan Africa region performed the best in the ‘institutions’ category. This is based on the political, regulatory and business environment for strengthening institutions. 

Mauritius ranked the highest in the region in the following categories: Institutions (rank 21), infrastructure (65) and creative outputs (31). Namibia came first in ‘human capital and research (57) and South Africa in ‘market sophistication’ (23), ‘business sophistication’ (51) as well as ‘knowledge and technology outputs’ (61).

Mauritius also fared well in various categories globally. It stood 21st in ‘institutions’ and 31 in ‘creative outputs’. It needs to work towards improving its performance under ‘business sophistication’ (111) and ‘knowledge and technology outputs’ (93). 

Angola ranked lowest in the global ranking

Furthermore, venture capital grew in Africa according to the report. Its VC deals grew by 82.7 percent.

“As the world rebuilds after the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, it is essential to utilise innovation for deepening the transformation of our economies and societies for the good of all,” said Daren Tang, director-general, WIPO.

The world’s most innovative economy in 2021 is Switzerland followed by Sweden, the United States of America (U.S.), the United Kingdom (U.K.), and the Republic of Korea, according to the GII 2021 rankings.

Since its inception in 2007, the GII has shaped the innovation measurement agenda and become a cornerstone of economic policymaking, with an increasing number of governments systematically analyzing their annual GII results and designing policy responses to improve their performance.