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Knowledge Economy Gaps, Policy Syndromes and Catch-up Strategies: Fresh South Korean Lessons to Africa

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Name of the Asset | Knowledge Economy Gaps, Policy Syndromes, and Catch-up Strategies: Fresh South Korean Lessons to Africa
Type of Asset | Working Paper
Date | November 2015


South Korea’s “economic miracle” was largely due to a knowledge-based development strategy that holds valuable lessons for African countries in their current pursuit towards knowledge economies. Worryingly, Africa’s overall knowledge index fell between 2000 and 2009. Using updated data (1996-2010), this paper presents fresh South Korean lessons to Africa by assessing knowledge economy (KE) gaps, deriving policy syndromes, and providing catch-up strategies. The study contributes to existing literature by addressing two important policy issues. First, the paper diagnoses KE prospects of peripheral African countries and KE gaps in relation to a frontier country (South Korea), and recommends catch-up policies to bridge KE gaps. Second, the study examines whether the impressive growth experienced over the last decade by African countries has moved hand-in-hand with catch-up trends in KE relative to South Korea.  It finds that with the exception of ICT, for which “catch-up” is not very apparent, we observe African catch-up by categories (in increasing order) in innovation, economic incentives, education and institutional regime. The speed of catch-up varies between 8.66% and 30.00% per annum with full or 100% catch-up of between 34.64 years and 10 years. Based on the trends and dynamics in KE gaps, the authors discuss policy syndromes and compelling catch-up strategies, dissecting obstacles to KE in Africa and presenting relevant South Korean solutions.

Authors | Simplice A. Asongu, African Governance and Development Institute
Country and/or Region | Africa
Name of the Program | KOICA Development Research Award 2014-15, a research competition held on the theme of the ‘Relevance of Korean Development Experience in Developing Countries’
Funder(s) | Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA)

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