Institutional Landscape for Eco-innovation Development in Africa
In many developing countries, there are pockets and islands of innovativeness, or individual entrepreneurs with an innovative spirit, in otherwise static and traditional economies. Much attention has recently been paid to innovation as a way for industry and policymakers to achieve more radical, systemic improvements incorporate environmental practices and performance. Many companies have started to use Eco-innovation or similar terms to describe their contributions to sustainable development. A few governments are also promoting the concept as a way to meet sustainable development targets while keeping industry and the economy competitive. However, while the promotion of Eco-innovation by industry and government involves the pursuit of both economic and environmental sustainability, the scope and application of the concept tend to differ. To meet the targets of sustainable development, industrial activities should be undertaken within the threshold of the natural environment, vis-à-vis sustainable development. For industry to usher in sustainable development, organizations need to shift from focusing solely upon profit but continue their pursuit of profit without neglecting the interests of the planet and people, because the protection of the biosphere will influence current and future competitiveness for organizations. The promotion of Eco-innovation has been mainly focusing on environmental technologies, but there is a tendency to broaden the scope of the concept. This is because of the growing concerns about the state of the natural environment due to the negative impacts of greenhouse gas emissions, inefficiency in natural resource and waste management as well as the devastating impacts of pollution among many others. Eco-innovation is more important now than ever on the public policy agenda. It is a major driver for green growth and contributes to environmental performance and economic development. Building on the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Innovation Strategy, it argues that Eco-innovation is not merely about technological developments, non-technical innovations matter as well. It acknowledges that policies do not operate in a vacuum and that they must take account of the institutional contexts that influence the development and diffusion of Eco-innovation. It is against this background that African Technology Policy Studies Network (ATPS) conducted a review study to understand the institutional frameworks for Eco-innovation in six (6) African countries: Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria and Zambia.