Discussion paper 09
As part of its broad portfolio of activities RIU has established country programmes in Malawi, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Tanzania and Zambia. These Africa country programmes were established with an explicit agenda of experimenting with ways of building capacity that enables research to be put into use. This web paper discusses the status of the six country programmes and tries to identify emerging lessons for RIU.
This discussion paper presents recent empirical evidence of the RIU country programmes, after positioning these ongoing activities within current debates about innovation in the rural and agricultural sector. The case findings presented confirm innovation as a process of accessing, developing and locating knowledge and technology from different sources within the appropriate institutional and organisational setting. They also provide new lessons on the role of intermediation and intermediates and research capacity, and highlight that whilst entrepreneurship is often essential to innovation, the common understanding of what such entrepreneurship comprises may require adjustment to take advantage and stimulate ongoing sector development processes. In that respect, whilst the private sector may be ideally placed in some sectors, local circumstances may currently limit their role in many areas. In light of this, coalitions of private, public and civil society sector actors are important for developing, accessing and using knowledge and technology for agricultural and rural system innovation. The paper concludes that rather than investment in research and technology initiatives only, rural innovation may be significantly promoted through the establishment of independent brokering bodies.