The Informal Economy in Developing Nations: Hidden Engine of Innovation?

The Informal Economy in Developing Nations: Hidden Engine of Innovation? 2016-10-25T18:10:51+00:00

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Chair: Prof Rasigan Maharajh, DST/NRF Centre of Excellence in Scientometrics, Science, Technology, and Innovation Policy, South Africa
Panellist: Dr Erika Kraemer-Mbula, Institute for Economic Research on Innovation, DST/NRF Centre of Excellence in Scientometrics, Science, Technology, and Innovation Policy, South Africa
Panellist: Dr Phil Mjwara, Department of Science and Technology, South Africa
Panellist: Dr George Owusu Essegbey, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, Ghana
Panellist: Dr Sacha Wunsch-Vincent, World Intellectual Property Organization, Switzerland
Panellist: Ms Anneline Morgan, Southern African Development Community Secretariat, Botswana
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The informal economy in Africa is of undeniable importance. It provides a source of income, employment and livelihood to a large portion of the population. However, informality is a phenomenon with many facets that scholars and practitioners are still trying to unpack. Informality is tightly linked to exclusion, poverty and marginalization. At the same time, many innovators in developing countries work informally, finding creative solutions to everyday problems.

A central concern of this book is to better understand whether innovative solutions can be found in the informal economy, and whether such innovations can be promoted and supported in such a way that they lead to a more equitable scenario.

This session presents the main findings of the new book “The Informal Economy in Developing Nations: Hidden Engine of Innovation?”” published by Cambridge University Press, which contains rich empirical evidence from three African countries (South Africa, Kenya and Ghana), and includes conceptual and methodological tools and policy recommendations to help researchers and policy-makers understand innovation in the informal economy.
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maharajhProf Rasigan Maharajh
DST/NRF Centre of Excellence in Scientometrics, Science, Technology, and Innovation Policy, South Africa
Chair

Professor Rasigan Maharajh is concurrently Node Head of the Department of Science and Technology and National Research Foundation’ Centre of Excellence in Scientometrics and Science, Technology and Innovation Policy; the founding Chief Director of the Institute for Economic Research on Innovation at Tshwane University of Technology; Professor Extraordinary at the Centre for Research on Evaluation, Science and Technology of Stellenbosch University; an Associate Research Fellow of the Tellus Institute in Boston; and the Chairperson of the Southern Africa Node of the Millennium Project. He holds a Doctor of Philosophy degree from the Research Policy Institute, School of Economics and Management, Lund University, Sweden; and is also an alumnus of the University of KwaZulu-Natal of South Africa, and Harvard Business School of the United States of America. He is the Ministerial Representative on the Council of Rhodes University and an elected Senator of Tshwane University of Technology. Since 2004, he has contributed to more than 65 publications, and has presented his research in 38 countries.
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mbulaDr Erika Kraemer-Mbula
Institute for Economic Research on Innovation, DST/NRF Centre of Excellence in Scientometrics, Science, Technology, and Innovation Policy, South Africa
Panellist

Erika Kraemer-Mbula is a research fellow at the Institute for Economic Research on Innovation at Tshwane University of Technology in South Africa and a researcher at the DST-NRF Centre of Excellence in Scientometrics and STI Policy (SciSTIP). She is also an associate professor extraordinary at Stellenbosch University. Erika holds a PhD in Development Studies from the University of Oxford, and her research interests have focused on Science and Technology Policy analysis, innovation systems, sustainable development and various routes to the expansion of creative competencies in Africa. She is an active member of several academic networks, such as Globelics and Africalics, and an advisory member of international platforms advancing Africa–EU research collaboration in science and technology.
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mjwaraDr Phil Mjwara
Department of Science and Technology, South Africa
Panellist

Phil Mjwara has served as the Director-General of South Africa’s Department of Science and Technology (DST) since April 2006. In this capacity, he is responsible for all policy development in the science and technology sector in South Africa. Prior to his appointment at DST, Dr. Mjwara was the Group Executive for Research and Development and Strategic Human Capital Development at the Council for Scientific Industrial Research (CSIR). He has also held positions at the then Department of Arts, Culture Science and Technology, as Director of Technology; at the University of Pretoria as Professor of S&T policy; and at the universities of the Witwatersrand, South Africa and Fort Hare as a physics lecturer. Phil led the team that conducted the first South African technology foresight project. He has published and presented numerous papers relating to physics, technology analysis and foresighting-related topics. Dr. Mjwara is also the General Secretary of the Academy of Science of South Africa and has served on various advisory councils and review boards. He also serves on the Council of the University of Johannesburg. He is the co-chair of the intergovernmental Group on Earth Observations, based in Geneva.
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essegbeyDr George Owusu Essegbey
Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, Ghana
Panellist

George Owusu Essegbey holds a PhD in Development Studies from the University of Cape Coast, Ghana. He did PhD Internship at the United Nations University in Maastricht, The Netherlands (now UNU-MERIT). He was also a Commonwealth Fellow at the Policy Research in Engineering, Science & Technology (PREST), University of Manchester in the UK. Since 2007, he has been Director of the Science and Technology Policy Research Institute of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research Institute in Ghana. His key areas of research are Micro and Small Enterprises (MSEs), Innovation Studies, STI Policy and Climate Change. Dr. Essegbey served as a member of Ghana’s National Development Planning Commission. He currently serves on various boards including the Governing Council of Ghana’s Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR). Dr. Essegbey has executed assignments for agencies of the UN including the World Bank, UNESCO, WIPO and UNEP.
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vincentDr Sacha Wunsch-Vincent
World Intellectual Property Organization, Switzerland
Panellist

Sacha Wunsch-Vincent is the senior economist under the chief economist at WIPO. He is one of the main authors of the World Intellectual Property Report and Editor of the Global Innovation Index. Sacha’s primary research is concerned with the interaction of innovation, intellectual property and economic development. Before joining WIPO, he was an economist at the OECD Directorate for Science, Technology, and Industry for seven years, and before that the Swiss National Science Fellow at the Berkeley Center for Law and Technology, University of California, Berkeley. He has served as an advisor to various governments. Sacha holds a Master’s in International Economics from the University of Maastricht and a PhD in Economics from the University of St. Gallen. He teaches at Sciences Po (Paris) and the World Bank Institute.
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morganMs Anneline Morgan
SADC Secretariat, Botswana
Panellist

Anneline Morgan is currently seconded to the SADC Secretariat as the Senior Technical Advisor: Science, Technology and Innovation, responsible for facilitating and coordinating regional STI policies, strategies and programs in support of the SADC Member States. Prior to her secondment, she held the position of Director: Africa Cooperation at the South African Department of Science and Technology, where she was responsible for managing international engagements and partnerships with African countries in the area of science and technology. Ms. Morgan has been instrumental in championing regional cooperation in the area of science, technology and innovation, which has resulted in the initiation of several regional programs. She holds a Master’s of Management in Public Policy from the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa.
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