Presentation of ESTIME results in Prime Seminar, Mexico, September 2008
We presented some relevant result of ESTIME at the PRIME Seminar in Mexico, September 2008.
Innovation policies in the context of North-Africa: -What do the innovation surveys reveal?
Rigas Arvanitis, IRD, France
Hatem M’Henni, ONST, Tunisia
Lena Tsipouri, Univ. Athens, Greece
Jamal Assa, R&D Maroc, Morocco
The innovation activities in firms are, with some exceptions, little known in the context of Mediterranean and North African (MENA) countries. Still there are innovation policies that have been developed and sustained by the governments of Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Morocco, Tunisia and Turkey. Other countries in the Mediterranean region have also strongly promoted specific schemes and measures for innovation (namely Jordan, Lebanon, and , to a lesser degree, Syria). In the last ten years this effort has benefited of the so-called Barcelona process (EU-Med cooperation) and the policies have often been supported by the cooperation between the EU and the Mediterranean countries. A large array of measures have also been devised that aim at the catching-up of industries and the funding of innovation activities in the companies (Pasimeni, Boisard, Arvanitis and Rodríguez, 2006).
Additionally, international organisations, bilateral donors and NGOs have participated in the need of the countries to transform their development models from low-cost into knowledge-based production: the EU, the OECD, UNESCO, UNIDO and ALECSO are only a few examples to name. Finally, the World Bank has actively promoted the policies in favour of innovation, mainly through its KNA-MENA initiative (Reiffers and Aubert, 2002). A specific emphasis was put by funding agencies and governments in the development of techno-parks and industrial clusters (Saint Laurent, 2005). This policy shift was basically done by promoting innovation in all its forms. All the MENA countries are also very profoundly affected by the EU and its own promotion of innovation and instruments to measure it (such as the European Innovation Scoreboard).
This article will revise recent developments in the innovation policies, as derived from the ESTIME project which, among other things, has been instrumental in collecting systematically the policies around the Mediterranean partners of the EU (Arvanitis, 2006). Other projects try to fulfil the need for information in the MENA region such as Medibitikar or MIRA. MIRA is setting-up a collective network for the observation of science and technology in the MENA region and Medibtikar is setting-up a network that will collect information specifically related to innovation (see NEBIP, the Network for Evidence-Based Innovation Policy in the MEDA countries; it was created in the framework of large EU-funded project during the second year of Medibtikar).
After a view of the transformation of the research systems in MENA countries, we will examine the indicators and focus on the example of Tunisia and Morocco, since these two countries have developed a systematic policy toward research as well as innovation surveys.