Building Science, Technology and Innovation Systems in Africa: Experiences From The Maghreb
By Abdelkader Djeflat
The book discusses the policies and strategies for Science and Technology (S&T) and Innovation capability building put up by Maghreb states (Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco) in the last three decades. The application of structural adjustment programmes (SAPs) in recent years, the opening up of their economies and liberalisation of trade have confronted firms with largely innovation-based competition and the attempt to reduce this impact are far from effective, particularly in the face of the era of knowledge economy and sustainability requirements.
The work is articulated around three major themes: the difficult path to S&T capacity building, the attempts to put up National Systems of Innovation (NSI) and the prospects for a more innovation driven growth at the territorial level, notably through intermediate institutions and science and technology poles. While pointing out the difficulties of building NSI, the book examines how the context of an innovation- driven competition put local firms, especially SMEs, in a difficult position. It notes that universities, which are prone to internal politics and rent-seeking, are not producing the necessary human capital. The knowledge economy era challenges raise some hopes for better access to innovation and knowledge assets in the world while at the territorial level, new innovation dynamics are taking place.
Based on extensive research and consultancy work done on the analysis of policies in the Maghreb, the book also raises the issue of the neighborhood of the European Union, and argues that unless Europe integrates the Maghreb in a real neighborhood Innovation System, the prospects for innovation take -off in the region are limited.
Abdelkader Djeflat holds a PhD in Management from the University of Bath, (UK) and a B.Sc in Economics from the University of Algiers. Has was a Professor at the Department of Economics, University of Oran; Algeria, and later Dean of the Faculty, at the same university. He was also a Senior Researcher at the Centre for Applied Economics, in Algeria. He is currently Professor at the University of Lille in France. He is also the Founder and current Chairman of the MAGHTECH (Maghreb Technology) Network since 1994. He has published several books and articles on the issues of Science and Technology, Innovation and the Knowledge Economy especially in the context of Africa and the Arab world. He has equally done extensive consulting work for several international organisations and governments.