By Olubode Olatunji
INSEAD, the leading international business school, recently announced the findings of its 2010-2011 Global Innovation Index (GII). Launched first in 2007, the Report is one of the most comprehensive international assessments of the impact of innovation on competitiveness and growth. This year’s Report which covers 125 economies, accounted for 93.2% of the world’s population and 98.0% of the world’s Gross Domestic Product (in current US dollars).
The GII has five enabler pillars. These pillars define aspects of the environment conducive to innovation within an economy. They are Institutions, Human capital and research, Infrastructure, Market sophistication, and Business sophistication. The two output parameters – ‘Scientific Outputs’ and ‘Creative Outputs and Well-Being’ – provide evidence of the results of innovation within the economy.
A cursory look at the top 20 countries list shows that the countries from Europe, America and United Kingdom dominated. Previous editions of the report showed similar trend (see table below). These countries did not achieve this feat by accident. It was made possible because they have been able to develop their capacity to continually create ideas through a vibrant creative labour force.
Nigeria Ranked 96 this year, a position not different from that of 2009/2010. This is indeed a very poor showing given the vast potentials that the country has. Other African countries with better ranking than Nigeria’s are Mauritius (53rd), South Africa (59th), Tunisia(66th), Ghana(70), Namibia(78th) ,Egypt(87th) and Kenya(89th).
According to the INSEAD report:
Although Nigeria’s position on the GII is rather low (96th), this country obtained the top regional position on the Output Sub-Index, where it is ranked 62nd, and has the second-best Efficiency Index score globally. Nigeria’s leverage is similar to 1st place on the Efficiency raking, Côte d’Ivoire…Nigeria also obtained relatively high scores from the survey questions on ICT use on business and organizational models (45th and 70th). On the Creative outputs pillar, Nigeria is ranked 5th globally on the production of national feature films per million population.
It is interesting to note that getting a better rating is no rocket science. Smaller Countries with fewer resources than Nigeria have fared better on the list. For example, the 2009/2010 report showed Iceland topping the chart. This is a country with a population of about 320,000 people and a total GDP of $11.818billion. This country which heavily relied on agriculture and fishery prior to 1994 have since diversified to economic and financial services. In recent years, Iceland has been one of the wealthiest and most developed nations in the world. In 2010 it was ranked as the 17th most developed country by the United Nation’s Human Index and the fourth most productive by capita. Though it was hit badly by the recent global financial crisis, it still ranked 11th this year.
This year’s most innovative country, Switzerland, is a country with a population of about 7.9million people but total GDP of about $321.9 billion. The country has no mineral resources; it imports, processes and resells them as products. Services (banking, assurances and tourism) are the most important part of the economy. It has the highest Wealth per adult in the world and in 2010, the world Economic Forum ranked it as the most competitive country in the world and Europe’s most innovative country by the European Union. Ditto for Sweden- an industrial and technological leader in several fields with the fastest economic growth, highest innovation, and most competitive economy in the European Union. With a population of about 10million and a GDP of about $337.8b, it has had one of the world’s highest standards of living for hundreds of years! For two consecutive years, the country has maintained its position of being the second most innovative country in the world.
With its versed human and natural resources, Nigeria can be said to be nowhere on the global innovation map. No parent pops Champaign when his child comes 96th in a class of 125 pupils.
The year 2020 is less than 9 years away. Nigeria’s quest to be among the top 20 developed countries of the world, we were told, is still on course. The much talked about vision 2020 will only be a pipe dream or at best a mirage if efforts are not urgently put in place to make Nigeria an innovation crazy state.
This should be a collective effort. But the Government must be at the vanguard. It should voice support for innovation and throw its financial support into efforts to boost innovation in the economy. Strategic policies targeted at the five enabler pillars should be formulated and vigorously pursued and implemented. This will create the needed enabling environment that is needed for innovation. This will put Nigeria on the path to the top. The journey to being an innovation state is not costless. We must invest time, energy, financial and human resources to be able to reap the benefits of innovation. We need to brace up as a country and give it all what it takes to make our economy competitive through embracing, growing and sustaining the culture of innovation. Can Nigeria ever top the list of the most innovative countries in the world? Yes, it can.
20 MOST INNOVATIVE CONTRIES IN THE WORLD
4 Hong Kong (SAR), China
7 United States of America
10 United Kingdom
15 New Zealand
16 Korea (Republic of)