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International Journal of Technological Learning, Innovation and Development
International Journal of Technological Learning, Innovation and Development


Special Issue on: "Technological Capability Development in the Middle Eastern and North African Countries"

Guest Editor: Dr. Rigas Arvanitis, Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD), France

The issues of technological capability development and learning have been studied in different economic settings, such as Latin America, Asia, and Africa. However, there is still a scarcity of empirical studies on these issues within the context of countries from the Middle East and North Africa.

In effect, it seems that, over the past few years, many of the North African and Middle Eastern countries not only have experienced a rapid economic growth, but also have been engaging in structural reforms of their economies by opening up their economic space. Simultaneously, they have shown a willingness to promote technological development. Many firms and other organisations have been engaged in active learning processes either in the private sector or in large state-owned enterprises. Whole new industrial sectors have emerged around new technologies or from different geographic spaces. Additionally, there is a profound modernisation process taking place in some traditional industries.

At the same time, several small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) appear to have been going through a modernisation processes on the basis of active and voluntary innovation policies. It appears that even regions that have been undergoing some political turmoil have shown increasing entrepreneurial activities in many new industrial sectors. Industrial clusters have also been consolidated when not created ab novo from government policies. Moreover, these countries seem to be experiencing a whole new range of policies: support to industries and to entrepreneurial activities, venture capital, research networks, intermediate/liaison organisations, protection of intellectual rights, training and formation, support to foreign investment, promotion of technology parks/poles and industrial clusters, linkages between industry and university research, and so forth. Many of these initiatives, even if they do not appear to be original, are new to the countries and some of them appear to be quite successful.

Finally, policy-making bodies are also engaged in profound transformation and large initiatives in order to draw scenarios for the future, design priorities for public action and resource allocations and to develop new tools for policy implementation. It seems also that international organisations (such as the European Union, the World Bank, and UN organisations) have played an active role in promoting industrial and technological development in these countries, as well as igniting the need for a broader reflection. Although an assessment of these issues has yet to be produced in these countries, it seems interesting and fruitful to seek to examine all these efforts that have been made and the means devoted for that.

The purpose of this Special Issue is to scrutinise these transformations and focus on empirical material and original studies from countries of the Middle East and North Africa. We would like to disseminate research findings and conclusions among academics, corporate managers, investors, and policy makers not only in these countries, but also internationally. In effect, the active changes and policy initiatives that have been taken in these countries seem to be the outcome of an intense and global reflection on the role of technological and economic development in international relations; in particular, the European Union has been attentive to strengthen the linkage between these countries and the EU economic space. Although it is still early to assess these efforts, it is already necessary to study, publish, and disseminate the initiatives that have been taken so far.

Subject Coverage
Contributions are solicited on all these on-going transformations taking place in the Middle Eastern and North African countries along, but not limited to, the following lines:
  • What are the socio-economic conditions in these countries that relate to this urge for technological development, learning and innovation?
  • What are the economic sectors most affected by the technological transformations and what impacts could be expected in terms of economic performance?
  • What are the characteristics of the innovation and technology development policies?
  • Which kind of new institutions have been specifically created in order to support innovation and technological development?
  • What are the characteristics of the technological capability development and innovation processes at the level of firms in different industrial sectors?
  • What kinds of instruments are available today to evaluate technological capabilities in specific countries?
  • What are the characteristics and the role of institutions and supporting organisations (e.g. universities, technical centres, entrepreneurial initiatives) in speeding up companies' innovative projects?
  • What has been the role of international organisations and what type of cooperation has been engaged for technological development?
Articles may be oriented toward case studies of policy-making, specific case studies of technology innovation in firms, or they may focus on broader issues and describe the innovation and technology development landscape in a country or group of countries. This Special Issue will not favour socio-cultural investigations; neither will it accept very broad macro-economic assessments, unless they are grounded upon some industry and firm-level empirical work (surveys, interviews, and case studies).

Notes for Prospective Authors

Submitted papers should not have been previously published nor be currently under consideration for publication elsewhere

All papers are refereed through a peer review process. A guide for authors, sample copies and other relevant information for submitting papers are available on the Author Guidelines page

Important Dates

Extended abstract submission (max. 500 words) due: 31 January 2008

Full paper submission due: 31 March 2008