Concern over access to essential medicines has dominated international health policy debates over the last two decades. Much of this debate has focused on the role of intellectual property rights in either restricting or enabling developing countries to address persistent and emerging medical challenges. Much of this debate has focused on African countries which have borne higher disease burdens due in part to their low income levels.
These arguments and the associated policy prescriptions are guided by the view that Africa will remain a marginal player in the world of health innovation and will continue to rely on imported solutions. This collection of original papers provides a different prognosis. They reveal an emergent “health innovation system” in Africa that is driven by a combination of local research, entrepreneurship and institutional adaptations.