MEIDE Conference 2012: Micro Innovation for Development

Stunning Cape Town, South Africa, was the venue for our 6th Micro Evidence on Innovation and Development (MEIDE) conference, 21-23 November 2012, held alongside an OECD event on Innovation for Inclusive Development.

Professors Pierre Mohnen and Théophile Azomahou from UNU-MERIT were the main people in charge of this year’s conference. The HSRC Center for Science, Technology and Innovation Indicators (CeSTII), based in Cape Town, did a superb job in taking care of the local organization.Table Mountain, Cape Town, Flickr / Joseph Ferris III

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Pink Slippers and Platinum: Governance Failure and the Decline of Innovation and Entrepreneurship in South Africa

South Africa’s national defence force was once perhaps highly rated; recently it is facing ridicule and concern. Ridicule, as a Lieutenant-Colonel was seen sporting pink slippers with her official uniform in public. According to the UK’s Guardian Newspaper, “It is not an image of top guns defending African skies that is likely to deter would-be foreign invaders”. Concern, as an officer borrowed an air force plane for personal use to visit a friend in neighbouring Botswana.

South Africa’s platinum mines were also once highly rated. Until the Marikana Massacre of 16 August 2012 when the South African Police killed 34 striking workers, apparently shooting many in the back, interfering with evidence after the shootings, and charging the mine workers (the victims) with the deaths of their fellows. While it is the police, and not the mines that are now facing an inquiry, the context of South African mining remains problematic, despite a decade of the longest commodity boom in recent history.

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Addis Ababa: What Drives the Diplomatic Capital of Africa?

Find a good map and you’ll see that Ethiopia sits on a similar latitude as Colombia, both firmly embedded in the tropics. Moreover, being the 26th largest country in the world, this African nation is almost the same size as Colombia.

Fortunately for its inhabitants, a large part of its territory includes the high Ethiopian massif, a mountain range system soaring between 1500 and 3000 metres above sea level, boasting blessed fertile lands. This explains why some of its most important products are – once again similar to Colombia – coffee, beans and sugar cane. If that’s not enough to ignite your curiosity, here’s another fact: the capital, Addis Ababa, stands 2400 metres above sea level (much like Bogotá, located ‘2600 metres closer to the stars’).

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