Authored by: Nagla Rizk, Ayah El Said, Nadine Weheba and Jeremy de Beer

Abstract: This background paper is drafted with the purpose of revisiting the literature on innovation in general, and in Africa in particular in an attempt to expand the existing definitions and metrics that capture them. We argue that there are several dimensions to innovation that are not being fully captured by conventional innovation metrics. We highlight the complex interactions of formal and informal innovation activities within the spectrum of the formal and informal sectors. Such combinations bring up four main scopes in which innovation occurs in the developing world: informal innovation in the informal sector, informal innovation in the formal sector, formal innovation in the formal sector and formal innovation in the informal sector.

Click here for the Working Paper


  1. […] Following participating in the AI & Inclusion Symposium in 2017, Rizk participated in the AI for Good Summit, held at ITU in Geneva in May 2018. She was part of a panel discussion with a presentation entitled “Implementation of AI to advance the SDGs: Data for Good.” The panel was among a series of simultaneous sessions on “Implementations of AI to Advance the SDGs”. Bringing the Egyptian perspective to global discussions, Rizk drew on A2K4D’s interdisciplinary research to explore how AI can offer solutions to global development challenges. Rizk’s argument focused on the question of how AI could be a force for good for the entire globe and not just monopolized in the hands of the global north or a powerful few. She gave examples from A2K4D’s and partners’ work on open data. As the Middle East and North African node of the Open Data for Network (OD4D), A2K4D has a unique position of the use intersection of open data and AI for development. Rizk also cited empirical research conducted at A2K4D on devising alternate measures of knowledge and innovation in Africa, drawing on the Open AIR theme she leads on metrics. Rizk’s co-authored working paper revisiting the literature on innovation can be found here. […]