Three EAC countries lauded for innovation

Thursday July 6 2017

An innovator uses technology to boost crop

An innovator uses technology to boost crop production. PHOTO FILE | NATION 

By VICTOR KIPROP
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Seven African countries — Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, Mozambique, Malawi, Madagascar and Senegal — have been hailed for their support to innovation in the agricultural sector.

A new report by Cornell University’s INSEAD Business School and the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) has called for “digital agriculture” in the face of a rising population, resource scarcity and climate change.

Speaking during the launch of the 2017 Global Innovation Index, Bruno Lanvin, INSEAD executive director for Global Indices, said: “We are already witnessing the rapid, worldwide emergence of ‘digital agriculture,” which includes drones, satellite-based sensors and field robotics.”

The GII 2017, whose theme was “Innovation Feeding the World,” looked at innovations carried out in agriculture and food systems.

As at March this year, more than 17 million people were facing hunger in nine East African countries due to the prolonged drought, according to the United Nations.

WIPO director general Francis Gurry said each nation must find the right mix of policies to mobilise the creative potential in their economies.

South Africa, Mauritius and Kenya are the most innovative countries in sub-Saharan Africa, according to the report, which ranks Kenya as the 3rd and 80th most innovative country in sub-Saharan Africa and in the world respectively among 127 countries surveyed.

The 2017 report noted a continued gap in innovative capacity between developed and developing nations and a high innovation performance in sub-Saharan Africa, especially in East Africa.

“Since 2012, sub-Saharan Africa has counted more ‘innovation achiever’ countries than any other region. Kenya, Rwanda, Mozambique, Uganda, Malawi, Madagascar and Senegal stand out for being innovation achievers this year, and several times in the previous years,” the survey indicates.