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A New Framework for African Economic Development with a Focus on Technological Innovation

Maswana, Jean-Claude (2006): A New Framework for African Economic Development with a Focus on Technological Innovation. Forthcoming in: Congo Economic Review Working Papers Series (2006)

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Based on a brief review of the development paradigm shifts, growth theories and perspectives that have influenced four decades of African economic development, this paper suggests that the challenges confronting African development result primarily from continuously shifting paradigms and inconsistent growth policies that neglect the role of technological innovation. Moreover, given these challenges, achieving rates of GDP per capita change that result in an increase in average income over a long period will demand an emphasis on and adoption of technological innovation and R&D, as well as corresponding education policies. In terms of perspective, the survival of African countries in the twenty-first century undoubtedly depends on the continent‘s ability to apply existing scientific and technological knowledge to the achievement of economic growth, income distribution and environmental protection. Engineering the complementarity among these three objectives will require not only institutional and structural adjustments and technological innovation and adoption but also a culture of innovation that most parts of Africa do not currently perceive as a crucial factor for social change.

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