Leapfrogging: Look before you leap

Policy Brief No. 71

New technologies, such as digital mobile communications, drones for precision agriculture and decentralized renewable energy systems that provide electricity in rural areas far from the grid, open up opportunities for leapfrogging.

As developing countries have limited capabilities, opportunities for leapfrogging in these countries are presented primarily through the adoption of technologies.

Innovation policies can help developing countries foster and facilitate the deployment of frontier technologies and their adaptation to meet their needs, to promote sustainable development.

Key points:

  • Countries engage in leapfrogging by bypassing the imtermediate stages of technology in a development process.

  • Rapid technological advances and cost reductions in ICT have enabled some developing countries to skip the development of landline infrastructure by moving directly to mobile telecommunications.

  • To support leapfrogging, countries need strategic innovation policies, sound infrastructure and institutions, and appropriate technological standards.

Leapfrogging: Look before you leap - UNCTAD Policy Brief No. 71  (UNCTAD/PRESS/PB/2018/8)
26 Dec 2018