Innovation under the Radar: The Nature and Sources of Innovation in Africa – new book by TMCD Director, Prof Xiaolan Fu.

TMCD Director Prof Xiaolan Fu, has recently published a book titled ‘Innovation under the Radar: The Nature and Sources of Innovation in Africa’. The book investigates the nature, drivers, and sources of innovation in Africa by examining the channels for effective diffusion of innovation in and to Africa under institutional, resource and affordability constraints. 

Drawing from almost a decade of research on innovation in Africa, Prof Fu combines a rigorous statistical analysis of a purposely designed multi-wave, multicounty survey with in-depth studies of representative cases to explore these issues and unpack the process of innovation. Based on this, she argues that African firms are innovative but unsupported; the ‘under-the-radar’ innovations that widely exist in Africa as a result of the constraints are not sufficient to enable Africa to leapfrog the innovation gap in the era of the fourth Industrial Revolution.  


The book makes two significant contributions to scholarship on the issue of innovation in low income countries. It is the first comprehensive analysis of the creation and diffusion of innovation in low income countries and it also provides the first survey-based analysis of innovation in the informal economy. 

The book is published by the Cambridge University Press (CUP) and can be ordered on the CUP website here.