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

Informal Sector Innovation

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Open AIR Expert

Chidi Oguamanam

Chidi Oguamanam

Professor at University of Ottawa

RESEARCH AREA DESCRIPTION

The majority of business enterprises in Africa are informal – but what are their creative processes? How do they innovate?

These questions are largely unanswered, as research on informal enterprises still represents a relatively new and unexplored frontier.

The informal sector is generally characterized by a lack of regulations typically seen in the formal sector. However, our research suggests the two worlds are not as far apart as they appear.

This kind of fluidity has implications for IP and innovation patterns, and can be the catalyst for developing unique, open knowledge management strategies across the continent.

Gaining a fuller appreciation of how the informal and formal sectors interact in different contexts, and how best to alter the use of IP rights, can help public policy frameworks effectively encourage economic growth – not only in Africa, but in Canada as well.

To read about how we study the informal sector, go to our case studies page. To find out more about our results and our impact, read our annual report.

RECENT DISCUSSION

about Informal Sector Innovation

How DIY Biology can Improve Access to Digital Agricultural Technologies

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Victoria Schorr June 13, 2018

Making at AFRICAOSH Summit 2018

By Outlwile Maselwanyane  The first gathering for Africa Open Science & Hardware (AfricaOSH) was hosted by Kumasi Hive innovation hub, Kumasi, Ghana, on April…

Victoria Schorr May 30, 2018

Maker spaces in developing countries: Sites of innovation despite simultaneous challenges

by Mohamed Hosny In the past few years, there have been several initiatives to help entrepreneurs introduce new creative and innovative products that break…

Victoria Schorr May 22, 2018

Egypt’s New Investment Law: Creating Better Opportunities for Small Businesses?

By Sarah El Saeed The Egyptian Government has begun in pushing through a fiscal and monetary reform plan that includes various unpopular austerity measures. In…

Victoria Schorr February 12, 2018

Financing of Innovation

By Eslam Shaaban   For decades, Kodak was a global giant in the photography industry all over the world. Over the past decade, however, their business gradually…

Victoria Schorr February 7, 2018

Open AIR Expansion into Morocco

By Sara Yassine Over the past six months, the Research Laboratory Entrepreneurship and Management of Organizations (LABO-EMO) and Open AIR have been looking at…

Victoria Schorr January 15, 2018

Africa’s Maker Movement: An Overview of Ongoing Research

Makerspaces are places where people gather to build projects, learn new technologies, and develop entrepreneurial opportunities. Open AIR is conducting research…

Victoria Schorr October 25, 2017

Strengthening innovation support systems at Ghana’s Suame Magazine

In my previous blog on skills development and innovation at Ghana’s Suame Magazine, I showed how the high level of collaboration and sharing of knowledge and skills…

Victoria Schorr July 4, 2017

Exploring Crowd-Based Capitalism in Africa’s Sharing Economy

The sharing economy has been growing at an ever-accelerating pace throughout the world as peer-to-peer networks and collaborative company models continue to pop…

Victoria Schorr June 28, 2017

Innovation by “makers” in South Africa’s Gauteng Province

The “Makers” who come together to tinker and hack in the maker collectives of South Africa’s Gauteng Province display a wide range of innovation practices,…

Victoria Schorr June 7, 2017

Challenging the Meaning of Innovation: Lessons from Refugee-Founded Organizations in Kampala

There is often a limited and constricted view of African innovation, especially when it comes to refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs). While there is…

Victoria Schorr May 23, 2017

Open AIR hosts South African Maker Movement Workshop

Enthusiasts and researchers gathered on Friday, March 3, 2017 to share research on the growing African maker movement. The workshop was hosted at the Institute for…

Victoria Schorr March 6, 2017