2018 marks the year Kenya was ranked as third in Sub-Saharan Africa in the Global Innovation Index (GII). Kenya was given the third ranking due to its achievement of high levels of innovation relative to its nation’s development since 2011. The first place ranking was given to South Africa and Mauritius followed as second place.
The GII ranks 126 economies based on 80 indicators such as mobile-application markets, education expenditure, scientific research and intellectual property filing rates.
Kenya has many strengths such as access to credit (specifically microfinance loans), its workforce population, innovation linkages, its print and other media, exports of creative services such as Research and Development whose funding is received from abroad.
According to StandardMedia, South Africa’s strengths is derived from its sophisticated market and business sector. The nation also has access to credit, university and industry research collaborations, market capitalization, cluster development and intellectual property payments. South Africa is also improving its education system with focus on higher education. As the nation is improving the quality of its science research and publications with its universities (University of Cape Town, University of Witwatersrand and Stellenbosch University). While Mauritius (second ranking in GII) has strengths in political stability and safety, efficient energy use and trade, and government funding of secondary education.
On the global stage, Switzerland holds the number one GII ranking. Additionally, the Netherlands, Sweden, the United Kingdom, Singapore, United States of America, Finland, Denmark, Germany and Ireland are GII 2018 top ten. Notably, the United States ranking dropped back to number six.
China also made it into the world’s top twenty for most innovative being ranked as number seventeen. This indicates a breakthrough for an economy that’s witnessing rapid transformation through government policy.
World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Director General Francis Gurry stated, “China’s rapid rise reflects a strategic direction set from the top leadership to developing world-class capacity in innovation and to moving the structural basis of the economy to more knowledge-intensive industries that rely on innovation to maintain competitive advantage. It heralds the arrival of multipolar innovation.”