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The emergence and strategy of tech hubs in Africa: Implications for knowledge production and value creation

Victor Yawo Atiase, Oluwaseun Kolade and Tahiru Azaaviele Liedong

Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 2020, vol. 161, issue C

Abstract: Do-it-Yourself tech hubs in Africa are challenging the dominance of traditional universities as sites of knowledge production. Adopting the theory of the new production of knowledge, we explore how these hubs' transdisciplinary, heterarchical and boundary-spanning approach enables them to more efficiently generate innovative solutions in direct response to specific industry needs and critical societal challenges. We draw on five case studies of tech hubs in Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya and Uganda. While traditional universities are struggling with resource constraints, inadequate industry engagement, and the limitations imposed by the institutional organisation of disciplinary knowledge, our study shows that tech hubs are leading the way in generating new knowledge and innovative solutions particularly for those at the bottom of the pyramid. They are also more effective in economic and social value creation by generating new jobs, stimulating the entrepreneurial ecosystem and improving the quality of life through technology. We develop a conceptual model to show the constraints underlying hub formation, the strategies used to achieve hub motives and the contingent impact of hub strategies.

Keywords: Africa; Bricolage; DiY; Mode 2 knowledge; Tech hubs (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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DOI: 10.1016/j.techfore.2020.120307

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