Briefing Paper

African Valleys and the Geopolitics of Innovation: Reality, Potential and Challenges

In a globalized world, the ability of countries to innovate is crucial to creating high levels of value added and enhancing economic competitiveness. Silicon Valley, USA, is a development model that many African countries seek to emulate by creating “African Valleys”. The success of major US corporations has persuaded a great number of players that new technologies are essential drivers of growth, and several states have implemented policies to stimulate the development of start-ups. Many experts speak of the “geopolitics of innovation” to describe the rivalry driving States as well as corporations to become ever more competitive in terms of Research and Development. Still, challenges remain for ICT development in Africa; these include educational system issues, lagging ICT development, as well as low levels of innovation and difficulty in accessing traditional sources of finance. [This title is also available in French: Géopolitique de l’innovation et African Valley : Réalité,
potentiel et défis].