Can a Stronger Patent Regime Result in Growth of Patenting Activities in Africa? Lessons Learned from Five African Countries

This brief report provides evidence on the question of whether as argued by its proponents, a strong patent regime can result in a rise in inventive capacity in least developed countries, particularly in African countries. It finds that stronger patent regimes would result in a rise in inventive capacity and patenting activities when such regimes are commensurate and are thus apt responses to actual and steady increases in the key pillars of the national innovation system, which mainly include research and development (R&D) expenditures (R&D intensity), R&D capabilities and business and market sophistication. The finding is based on a case study of five African countries: Algeria: Egypt; Kenya; Nigeria; and South Africa, from 1998 to 2013, and can inform other countries that are contemplating strengthening their patent regimes and encouraging inventive activities. Some innovation policy implications are discussed.