Mauritius, South Africa, Botswana, Kenya and Morocco, have ranked far above Nigeria in Africa as countries with the most innovative economies.
This is according to the World Intellectual Property Organisation’s (WIPO’s) Global Innovation Index (GII) 2022, which was released on Monday.
The GII2022 report tracks the current state of global innovation and identifies areas where innovation is essential to drive the creation of ideas, businesses, and solutions that address challenges faced by citizens, including support for entrepreneurship, food security and local food production, digital innovation for the future of work, and energy solutions.
In the report, Kenya is noted as having registered 30,300 companies and being one of the continent’s biggest adopters of mobile phones and digital technology. Botswana, a new entrant on the list, is ranked in several categories, including institutions, human capital and research, knowledge, and technology outputs.
Indeed, in the GII, which surveyed 132 countries across the globe, ranked Nigeria 114, scoring 16.9 per cent and placed her 13 in Africa. Switzerland has the most innovative economy both globally and in Europe, scoring 64.6 per cent. The United States ranked second with 61.8 per cent; Sweden was third with 61.7 per cent; United Kingdom was next with 59.7 per cent and Netherlands followed with 58 per cent.
The Republic of Korea with 57.8 per cent score is sixth, followed by Singapore with 57.3 per cent; Germany is eight with 57.2 per cent; Finland is ninth with 56.9 per cent and Denmark is the 10th country with the most innovative economy.
Globally, South Africa ranked 61st and second in Africa with 29.8 per cent score. Morocco, which was eight in the region, ranked 67th globally with a 28.8 per cent score. Mauritius is Africa’s most innovative economy and ranked 45th globally with 34.4 per cent score.
Botswana ranked third in Africa and 86th globally with a 23.9 per cent score; Kenya was positioned 88th globally with 22.7 per cent and fourth in Africa. On the global map, Kenya was followed by Egypt, which ranked 89th and 15th in Africa with 22.7 per cent.
Further, WIPO noted that in the last 20 years, Africa’s Internet and digital penetration have grown to some 570 million Internet users, thanks to innovation that led to more than 1.2 million kilometres of Internet cables across the world’s ocean floors.
WIPO also believed these numbers will continue to rise with the arrival of SpaceX’s Starlink and Google’s Equiano to further drive digital penetration on the continent.
Support for the growth of digital technologies is being seen across Africa with governments recognising cryptocurrencies as legitimate investments.
According to Disrupt Africa’s African Tech Startups Funding Report, start-ups in some of the continent’s most innovative nations raised a combined $1.9-billion in 2021. Fintech companies have been particularly successful in attracting VC funding, with most of the continent’s unicorns being Fintech firms.
The Disrupt Africa report noted that the fintech sector in Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya and others was the most attractive to investors in 2022, receiving almost $1.5 billion in funding during the year, making up 43.4 per cent of all startup investments into the continent.
The startup investments that came to Africa in 2022, according to Disrupt Africa in its African Tech Startups Funding Report were $3.3 billion.
The report noted that in all, 205 fintech startups raised funding, with Nigerian fintechs making up almost 40 per cent of startups and 46 per cent of fintech funding. African unicorn Flutterwave led the pack with a $250 million raise followed by Moove ($181.8 million) and Yellow Card ($40 million).
Egyptian fintechs also had a strong year, with key rounds raised by MNT-Halan ($150 million), Paymob ($50 million) and Khazna ($38 million).
The capital raised by the fintech sector in 2022 was a 39.3 per cent increase on the prior year.
Despite fintech’s domination, other sectors also received funding. The next biggest sector for startup funding was e-commerce and retail-tech, which pulled in over $556 million, followed by e-health startups, which raised over $189 million in 2022. Other sectors also pulling in startup funding were logistics, ed-tech, energy, agri-tech and transport.