South Africa, Kenya ranked best in innovation in Sub-Saharan Africa

29 March 2019, Lower Saxony, Hannover: At a booth of the manufacturer IBG at the Hannover Messe, robots will be shown that work on a car model. The car says "IBG e-mobility" on it. Photo: Christophe Gateau/dpa (Photo by Christophe Gateau/picture alliance via Getty Images)


GENEVA – JANUARY 24: A general view of the World Intellectual Property Organisationon headquarters on January 24, 2009, in Geneva, Switzerland. (Photo by Harold Cunningham/Getty Images)

Switzerland is the World’s most innovative country according to the latest rankings by the World Intellectual Property Organization, WIPO. The rankings were released during the launch of the latest Global Innovation Index (GII) Wednesday in the Indian capital New Delhi.

Sweden, the United States, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom follow in that order with India having improved on rankings since 2018, jumping five places to fifty-second most innovative country.

In Sub-Saharan Africa, South Africa tops the list followed by Kenya and Mauritius.

The annual index, which has been published for the last 12 years by WIPO, and a number of partners, is designed to help policymakers better understand innovation activity, which WIPO describes as a “main driver of economic and social development”.

“The Index shows us that countries that prioritize innovation in their policies have seen significant increases in their rankings,” said WIPO Director General, Francis Gurry.

“The rise in the GII by economic powerhouses like China and India has transformed the geography of innovation, and this reflects deliberate policy action to promote innovation, “He added.

But findings also indicate concerns that public expenditure on research and development – a major element in basic and ‘blue-sky” research, which are crucial for future innovations – is stagnating, particularly in high-income countries.

The report also notes that, unless it is contained, increased economic protectionism will lead to a slowdown of growth in innovation productivity.

This year, the authors of the report have focused on the future of medical innovation, with a separate healthcare section, which looks at the ways in which Artificial Intelligence (AI), genomics, and mobile phone-based health applications, will transform the delivery of healthcare.