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(pp.14-27) A. Djeflat ‘Absorptive capacity and demand for innovation as driving engines for emerging innovation systems (EIS): comparing GCC and Maghreb countries’, IJIKMMENA, Vol. 4, No. 1, 2015

(pp.14-27) A. Djeflat ‘Absorptive capacity and demand for innovation as driving engines for emerging innovation systems (EIS): comparing GCC and Maghreb countries’, IJIKMMENA, Vol. 4, No. 1, 2015

International Journal of Innovation and Knowledge Management in Middle East and North Africa (IJIKMMENA)Abdelkader Djeflat, University of Lille, France

Purpose: The objective of this paper is to highlight some of the major obstacles facing the emergence of the innovation process in both GCC and Maghreb Countries. It presents an empirical analysis of the absorptive capacity and the effective demand for R&D and innovation services and compares the two blocs of countries.

Design/methodology/approach: The study uses data from fieldwork conducted in both GCC and Maghreb countries involving several institutions (enterprises, training centres, ministries, research centres, universities and industrial technical centres) together with secondary data mostly from international organisations.

Findings: Results indicate that both GCC and Maghreb Countries suffer from a weak absorptive capacity of R&D funding, of higher education graduates, of new technology and researchers. Demand for R&D and innovation appears to be the second handicap in both GCC and Maghreb Countries: it results from low demand for University research services, low demand from the private sector for R&D and low demand for venture capital. The data show that overall, GCC countries seem to be performing better than Maghreb countries.

Originality/value: The originality of this work stems from two aspects: the first one is an analytical tool we used and which is derived from the concept of Emergence and which we developed in an earlier work (Djeflat, 2006). We use for the first time the ‘emergence’ paradigm rather than the catch-up one in the Arab World. The second one is to investigate in depth the absorptive capacity and the demand for R&D using a comparative perspective between GCC and Maghreb Countries, a work rarely done.

Keywords: Innovation system; Innovation emergence; Catch up; Absorptive capacity; Effective demand; Developed countries; Maghreb; GCC countries.

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