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OECD Environment Working Papers No. 50

Climate Mitigation and Adaptation in Africa

Evidence from patent data

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This paper presents comparative data on innovation in selected climate change mitigation and adaptation technologies in the context of Africa. Such analysis informs policy aimed at encouraging international technology transfer and development of domestic innovation capacities. We present detailed analysis of the role of Africa in development of these technologies (invention), and then move on to examine Africa as a technology market (as reflected in patenting). In addition, we briefly touch upon the question of cross-border technology development (co-invention) in Africa. Despite Africa’s generally low volume of inventive activity in these fields in comparison with other countries, inventive activity is disproportionately directed towards mitigation and adaptation technologies. In addition, the rate of international co-invention for most mitigation and adaptation technologies is much higher in Africa than in the rest of the world. And finally, rates of protection of climate technologies at African intellectual property offices are high relative to other technologies. Nonetheless, it must be emphasized that a relatively small number of inventions are protected in Africa, providing evidence that IP is not a barrier to technology transfer and diffusion.

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