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date: 04 July 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines how innovation capabilities can help Africa achieve sustainable development. In particular, it explores how learning mechanisms and channels of access to foreign knowledge can augment domestic capabilities as part of innovation. The discussion begins by considering the potential of innovation to enable sustainability in its economic, social, and environmental dimensions. The chapter then focuses on Africa’s latecomer advantages and the feasibility and necessity of adopting an alternative growth paradigm. It also compares three different types of failures—market failure, system failure, and capability failure—and argues that the capability failure is more unique to Africa and developing countries and presents a barrier to innovation. The chapter concludes by describing specific policy strategies for building up the innovation capabilities of African countries.

Keywords: innovation, Africa, sustainable development, learning, foreign knowledge, market failure, system failure, capability failure, developing countries

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