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Development, imitation, innovation, practices, science, Tanzania, technology
Imitation and innovation are often seen as opposing paths to advancement in science and technology. However, this paper argues that a balanced approach that combines both imitation and innovation could accelerate Tanzania's development in these areas. This study has four specific objectives, namely, to assess: (1) The role of imitation and innovation of practices in science and technology; (2) Challenges that Tanzania faces in imitation and innovation of practices in science and technology; (3) Lessons for Tanzania in imitation and innovation in science and technology from Asia and Europe; and, (4) Strategies that Tanzania may use to benefit from imitation and innovation in science and technology lessons from Asia and Europe. By reviewing the literature on the interplay between imitation and innovation in Asia and Europe, the paper demonstrates how these regions have used both strategies to achieve rapid development in their science and technology sectors. The study found that imitation and innovation are important drivers of economic development for countries. Asia and Europe adapted strategies such as copycat, frugality, social innovation, the role of knowledge and technology transfer, innovation ecosystems, strong institutions, adapted disruption, balancing exploration and exploitation, systems of innovation, and intellectual properties for steering their development. For Tanzania, the paper recommends learning from the success of Asian countries like Japan and South Korea in imitating and improving their technology, as well as European countries like Germany and Sweden in cultivating an education culture that values innovation while taking advantage of the latest technologies and best practices from other countries. However, shortage of funding in the education system, poor infrastructure, lack of skilled workforce, and limited research and development might hamper the imitation and innovation in science and technology in Tanzania. Current government efforts are geared towards removing these bottlenecks.