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Studies detail triumphs, troubles of African innovators creating products for local health needs

a local asset for innovation;

  • Fundamental to success are investing in research and development to generate solution-oriented knowledge, providing incentives for entrepreneurs, and building institutional strength to help facilitate commercialization of research results;

  • Africa's health innovation systems are increasingly integrated into the global knowledge ecology, and benefit from extensive international partnerships;

  • Linkages between groups are sparse to date, but hold potential for building stronger health innovation systems. Business incubation through facilities such as science innovation centers will be an important mechanism for fostering industrial clustering and raising economic productivity.

    "Driven largely by entrepreneurs, innovative and affordable technologies to improve health in Africa are under development throughout the continent, with firms using a variety of business models in a range of political environments," says MRC researcher Ken Simiyu.

    "Clearly, many Africans have the needed talent and know-how. However, the seeds of their efforts need careful nurturing by both donors and African governments at all levels. Required are creative institutions and coherent policies that reduce risk, build on local strengths, and promote the effective use of local health research."

    Says Abdallah S. Daar, MRC Senior Scientist and Director of Ethics and Commercialization: "We are all affected in one way or another by the health and well-being of everyone else on Earth. What we present is a look at many African companies and countries striving to create local health products for local needs. Understanding all aspects of their experiences what worked, what didn't, and what could have been done better is a huge leg up for other firms and governments who wish to stand on the shoulders of these pioneers."

    The papers in full, to be published (with open public access) will be publ

  • Contact: Terry Collins
    McLaughlin-Rotman Centre for Global Health

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