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Recognizing Africa’s role in the global knowledge economy.
Research Area

High Technology Hubs


Open AIR Expert

Isaac Rutenberg

Professor at Strathmore University


Are formal IP protections necessary to encourage innovation? The rapid proliferation of IP rights can result in hundreds of vague and overlapping claims, increased litigation or threats of litigation, and the predatory behaviour of patent trolls.

In most of Africa, the explosion of high tech innovation exists in an IP vacuum. Over the past five years, incubators, accelerators, maker spaces, and tech hubs have multiplied throughout Africa. The majority are private ventures, but some of these hubs are located within universities, and others are government initiatives.

More and more entrepreneurs and innovators are seeking support from these tech hubs, demonstrating a strong culture of innovation throughout Africa.

Is Africa the right place for formal IP rights? If so, how should they be implemented?

Open AIR will analyse whether formal IP rights are can impact the success or failure of Africa’s burgeoning tech initiatives at and around high technology hubs.

To find out more about our work surrounding high technology hubs, visit our case studies page, and our annual report.


about High Technology Hubs

Power Relations, Innovation, Scaling, and Knowledge Governance at Three Egyptian Tech Hubs: An Initial Exploration

Authored by: Nagham ElHoussamy, Nadine Weheba, and Nagla Rizk Abstract: This Working Paper offers an initial exploration of innovation realities at technology hubs…

Nagla Rizk January 6, 2020

Les Femmes entrepreneures au Senegal : entre montee en puissance et difficulte d'acces a la technologie et a l'innovation

Par Aboubacry Kane Aujourd’hui, les femmes entrepreneures sont de plus en plus présentes sur la scène économique au Sénégal. Bien qu’elles s’engagent…

Aboubacry Kane November 29, 2019

Bridging the Gender Gap between contributions to STEM Fields and their participation in Canadian IP Regimes: A Research Analysis

By Natalie Chodoriwsky The Government of Canada’s 2019 Intellectual Property Strategy has committed to “conducting [an] IP awareness and use survey to identify…

Natalie Chodoriwsky November 27, 2019

African Innovation in the Fourth Industrial Revolution

By Chidi Oguamanam The third industrial revolution (3IR) provided perhaps the most significant insights into Africa’s potential to fast-track its sustainable development.…

Chidi Oguamanam November 19, 2019

Open AIR Research into 4th Industrial Revolution Technologies and Artificial Intelligence: Southern Africa & Canada

By Nagham El Houssamy and Nadine Weheba This is part three in a three part series. For part one, click here. For part two, click here. Monumental…

Open AIR September 23, 2019

Open AIR Research into 4th Industrial Revolution Technologies and Artificial Intelligence: Eastern Africa

By Nagham El Houssamy and Nadine Weheba This is part two in a three part series. For part one, click here. For part three, click here. Monumental advances in technology…

Open AIR September 15, 2019

Artificial Intelligence in Africa: An Overview of ongoing Open AIR Activities

By Nagham El Houssamy and Nadine Weheba This is part one in a three part series. For part two, click here. Part three can be read here. Monumental advances in technology…

Open AIR September 4, 2019

Makerspaces et émancipation des femmes en Afrique : Briser les préjugés !

Par Thomas Hervé Mboa Nkoudou Au cours de mon séjour de recherche, je me suis intéressé à la place réservée aux femmes au sein des Makerspaces d’Afrique…

Thomas Hervé Mboa Nkoudou July 12, 2019

Financing of innovations in Egypt: Barriers and Potential

By Eslam Shaaban Innovators, especially in the start-up stage, are facing the problem of financing their projects. In Egypt, there is great potential to develop…

Eslam Shaaban June 19, 2019

OMMIC: A Personal Perspective

By Uche Ajuonuma Last fall, I attended the Ontario Makers and Mentors Innovation Conference (OMMIC) at uOttawa. The event was held at the new STEM (Science, Technology,…

Uche Ajuonuma June 5, 2019

The Maker Movement Across North Africa (Arabic)

نغم الحسامي ونجلاء رزق Authored by: Nagham El Houssamy and Dr. Nagla Rizk For the English version of this Working Paper, please click here. نسعى…

Nagham El Houssamy March 27, 2019

Researching Maker Communities and Socio-economic Inclusion

By Chris Armstrong As part of our Maker Movement research theme, we at Open AIR are trying to build understanding of how participation in maker communities can impact…

Chris Armstrong March 18, 2019