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Recognizing Africa’s role in the global knowledge economy.
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Metrics, Laws, and Policies


Open AIR Expert

Nagla Rizk

Professor at the American University in Cairo


Africa always appears at the tail of rankings of knowledge and innovation indices. Does this mean there is no knowledge produced in Africa? Is there no innovation happening on the continent?

On the contrary, it simply means the way we measure innovation in Africa is ill-suited to the task.

Most of the knowledge and innovation indicators measure how many patents were filed, and how many copyrights were registered. That may reflect innovation in developed countries, but it can’t portray the wealth of knowledge and innovation organically created in Africa that especially thrives in the informal economy.

Open AIR’s research is focused on finding alternative ways to assess knowledge production and use in African contexts, with special focus on innovation.

To find out more about this aspect of our research, visit our case studies page, or our annual report.


about Metrics and Policies

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

AFCTFA: A Potential Boost for African Economies

By Eslam Shaaban In March 2018, the African Continent Free Trade Agreement (AFCFTA) was unveiled as the world’s largest free trade area since the creation of the…

Eslam Shaaban October 29, 2019

The Blue Economy and The Need for Open IP

By Eashan Karnik, cross-posted from Smart Prosperity Institute The need to adopt clean energy technologies is a pressing issue not just in Canada, but internationally…

Eashan Karnik August 12, 2019

Invention in Africa: Open AIR shares its Model at CAAS 2019

By Uchenna Felicia Ugwu Africa is becoming recognized as an important hub of informal innovation, which should not be excluded or ignored by formal systems for IP…

Uchenna Ugwu June 27, 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

Reconciling Copyright with Creativity: New Insights from 2018 Conferences (Part II)

By Helen Chuma-Okoro and Nicole Tumaine This is part two of Helen Chuma-Okoro and Nicole Tumaine’s’  blog post on the isnights retained from 2018 confereces,…

Helen Chuma-Okoro May 10, 2019

Reconciling Copyright with Creativity: New Insights from 2018 Conferences (Part I)

By Helen Chuma-Okoro and Nicole Tumaine Access to knowledge (A2K) is necessary to further innovation and creativity. Due to the exclusive nature of intellectual…

Helen Chuma-Okoro May 10, 2019

Depicting Reality in the African Context

By Menna Badreldin It is challenging to quantify a phenomenon in the same method across countries. Indices are generally a tool to represent a certain issue and…

Menna Badreldin April 8, 2019

Highlighting Inclusion of Marginalized Voices at International Conferences: A NERG’s experience

By Nicole Tumaine Over the past four months, I have had the privilege of attending three international conferences as a panelist thanks to the generous support of…

Nicole Tumaine October 22, 2018

Better metrics, better policies for knowledge and innovation in Africa

By Nagla Rizk The Access to Knowledge for Development Center (A2K4D) leads the research on metrics, laws and policies within the Open African Innovation Research…

Nagla Rizk August 15, 2018

US Fails to Block Progress over Genetic Resources Text at WIPO-IGC 36

Photo credit: Image by Ville Oksanen via Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0) By Chidi Oguamanam, cross-posted from ABS Canada. After six days of deliberations (June…

Chidi Oguamanam July 11, 2018

Open AIR Expansion au Maroc

By Sara Yassine  Au cours des six derniers mois, le laboratoire de recherche « Entrepreneuriat et Management des Organisations » (LABO-EMO) et Open AIR ont…

Sara Yassine May 25, 2018