Rethinking development *1 A role for innovation networking in the ‘other two-thirds
As global competition intensified and the rate of technological innovation and diffusion accelerated over the 1970s and 1980s, the sustainability of comparative advantage based solely on the existence of location-specific raw materials or cheap labour began to erode and innovation emerged as the key to competitiveness. For those few Third World countries that successfully passed through the window of opportunity for effective catchup strategies that opened in the 1970s, a base was laid for innovation in products, processes or organizational technologies.next term The other two-thirds, however, were singularly unprepared to meet the challenges of a changing technological and competitive environment. In large part this resulted from the contradictions generated by the mass production, import reproduction model to which they had remained wedded for several decades. During the 1980s, a number of changes took place, in the strategies of multinational corporations with respect to the internationalization of R&D and the role of overseas subsidiaries more generally, and in government previous termpoliciesnext term with respect to the role of innovation in international competitiveness. A slow process of technological accumulation in both public and private sector enterprises and universities in Africa, previous termLatin Americanext term and the Caribbean also got underway. These changes provide the foundation upon which well crafted previous termpoliciesnext term to promote networks for innovation can be developed. In previous termLatin Americanext term a number of such networks are already in place, and the article discusses the new role that both states and international donors are playing in stimulating and supporting them. A brief look at how such approaches might be adapted and generalized to Africa is also offered.