A brief overview of the African economic picture reveals a paradox where the continent that has rich mineral resources, nearly a billion people and a land mass which includes the sizes of China, USA, India, Western Europe, Argentina together larger than the sum of these regions is in an unacceptable state of being an object of aid, debt and loans despite the vast resources both known and yet to be explored. Africa should have been a productive and innovation centre and not a charity and aid centre of the world where 'donorship' has replaced African national ownership' of not just Africa's resources, but even worse, Africa's own agency, autonomy and independence to shape policy and direction; to undertake African integrated national development by establishing a science, engineering and technology based knowledge, innovative, learning and competent economy.
The chapters in this volume address the application of the innovation approach to a variety of problems in Africa. Together they highlight the critical importance of the innovation systems approach in each of the issues the authors preferred to select and analyse. In the African context, the application of innovation goes beyond firms to the informal activities at grassroots level. The boundaries and the range of actors and activities for innovation application are varied and not limited. This variation is represented in this volume by the diverse issues that the authors dealt with in their research by applying as common the use and application of innovation.