Climate Change Adaptation Innovation in the Water Sector in Africa: Dataset

Published: 24 March 2022| Version 2 | DOI: 10.17632/4f234mww6s.2
Linus Nyiwul


Our data comprises of socioeconomic and sociopolitical indicators for African countries drawn from three credible sources. These indicators include patents as proxy for technological innovation; research and development activity; water stress; quality of institutions; education as proxy for absorptive capacity for innovation; trade openness as proxy for technology transmission mechanism; and income per capita as proxy for size. Consistent with the theory, data and literature, we use water-related climate change adaptation technological developments to examine the degree to which the vulnerability to climate change in the water sector is motivating these innovations. Using the pooled data for African countries between 1990 and 2016, we estimate the relationship between climate-induced vulnerability in the water sector and water-related innovations, controlling for country size and proxies for technology transfer environment, institutional and regulatory quality, knowledge base, and research and development activity. We find evidence that countries most exposed to water stress are innovating at lower rates. Though counterintuitive, this result is explained by the fact that such vulnerable countries also tend to have little research and development infrastructure needed to develop the kind of high quality innovations that usually necessitates patenting. Our result suggests that African countries experiencing water stress may need to reconsider priorities in the design of water-related adaptation to climate change. We also find that a country’s knowledge base and openness to trade are important determinants of adaptation technologies in the water sector



Gettysburg College


Sustainable Development, Innovation, Adaptation, Water, Climate Change