• Tuesday, July 23, 2024
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Nigeria not among 10 most innovative sub-Saharan African economies

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Nigeria, Africa’s biggest economy, is not among the 10 most innovative economies in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), securing the 13th position in the region in the latest 2022 Global Innovation Index (GII).

According to the annual index done by the World Intellectual Property Organization, Nigeria also performed below expectations as it ranked 114th globally.

“In the lower middle-income group, 14 economies including the SSA economies such as Côte d’Ivoire (109th), Nigeria (114th), Zambia (118th), Cameroon (121st), Benin (124th), Angola (127th) and Mauritania (129th) performed below expectation for their level of development,” the report said.

The GII captures the innovation ecosystem performance of 132 economies and tracks the most recent global innovation trends. It is an important policy tool that allows countries to assess their innovation performance and undertake a cross-country comparative analysis.

Akintunde Adeyemi, an information security officer at a Nigerian bank, told BusinessDay that the scale of research and development programmes that drive worldwide innovative activities is very small in Nigerian universities. “And this puts us in a poor position when compared to other developing countries in Africa.”

Further analysis of the index shows Mauritius, South Africa, Botswana, Kenya, Ghana, Namibia, Senegal, the United Republic of Tanzania, Rwanda and Madagascar are the 10 most innovative economies in the region.

Over the past few years, budgetary allocation to education in Nigeria has not been more than seven percent of the federal government’s budget. It is no wonder that the United Nations Children’s Fund said the country has the highest number of out-of-school children in the world.

A report by International Finance Corporation also highlights the existence of a skills gap, outdated curriculum in engineering programmes and lack of opportunities for students to apply skills learned in the classroom in most African countries including Nigeria.

Read also: Nigeria’s failure to encourage investors hampering economic growth- NESG

“The completion rate between entry into primary one and completing university is eight percent. Out of every 100 children who go into primary one, only eight end up coming out of the university. And out of these, nine percent will get a job. So, this is the reality,” Muhammad Sanusi, former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, said at the Kaduna Investment Summit last year.

Out of the seven indicators used for the GII ranking, the country ranked 69th in business sophistication, followed by creative outputs (97th), human capital and research (109th), infrastructure (112th), institutions (112th), knowledge and technology outputs (123rd) and market sophistication (126th).

“The indicators used in the ranking says it all,” says Ayodele Akinwunmi, senior relationship manager at FSDH Merchant Bank.

“Nigeria is lacking in proper infrastructure. The government is not working on it as they spend less on it every year. And in terms of research, the institutions that are supposed to carry out innovative research that can move the country forward have been on strike for over seven months,” Akinwunmi said.

Experts say innovation, a process of creating new technologies, opportunities or ideas, is also one of the contributors to economic growth.

“Innovation can help accelerate economic recovery and put countries on a path to sustainable and greener growth,” Viju Ragupathi, a professor at Brooklyn College, New York, said in a research paper, titled ‘Innovation at country-level: Association between economic development and patents’.

Ragupathi added that it allows a country to discover opportunities that exist or are likely to emerge in time, to focus on existing business processes and practices that improve efficiency, to find potential customers, to minimise wastage, and to increase profits.