MEIDE Conference 2012: Micro Innovation for Development

Stunning Cape Town, South Africa, was the venue for our 6th Micro Evidence on Innovation and Development (MEIDE) conference, 21-23 November 2012, held alongside an OECD event on Innovation for Inclusive Development.

Professors Pierre Mohnen and Théophile Azomahou from UNU-MERIT were the main people in charge of this year’s conference. The HSRC Center for Science, Technology and Innovation Indicators (CeSTII), based in Cape Town, did a superb job in taking care of the local organization.Table Mountain, Cape Town, Flickr / Joseph Ferris III

The OECD conference on 21 November focused on three questions: i) is there a trade-off between innovation and inequalities?; ii) can inclusive innovation help tackle inequality?; and iii) what are the future research priorities to help improve policy regarding inclusive development? The day’s highlight was a challenging presentation on inclusive innovation by Raghunath Mashelkar, President of the Global Research Alliance and National Research Professor of India. Bart Verspagen, director of UNU-MERIT, participated in a panel discussion closing the first day of the conference.
Christina Mwinjipe and her sons pose for a photograph on her kasava plantation. Her crops are infected with mosaic and brown streak disease, making her kasava root much smaller and less nutritious. (Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, 2011)The MEIDE part of the conference comprised 15 parallel sessions on various topics ranging from innovation in agriculture to evaluation methods and intellectual property rights in development. Two keynote speakers were invited. Professor Raouf Boucekkine from the Aix-Marseille School of Economics gave a brilliant account of the importance of the age distribution for the innovation-growth connection and Professor André Buys from the University of Pretoria vividly described the history, characteristics and puzzles of innovation research in South Africa.

From UNU-MERIT, Jacques Mairesse and Norbert Janz each presented a paper, and Fred Gault organized a special session on the state of innovation indicators in Africa. The conference drew more than 100 attendees, many from African countries. It was a great opportunity to make contacts with African researchers and to learn about existing data and ongoing research topics on innovation and development in Africa. Above all we hope to continue collaborating with African researchers.

Note: This joint conference was co-financed by the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development); DST (Department of Science and Technology, South Africa)’ HSRC (Human Sciences Research Council of South Africa); NEPAD (New Partnership for Africa’s Development), and UNU-MERIT.

by Pierre Mohnen, Professorial Fellow at UNU-MERIT. Images: Flickr / Joseph Ferris III / Gates Foundation.