Funding for innovation swelled during the Covid-19 pandemic, with significant growth in developing countries, the UN said Thursday, warning though that the current geopolitical turmoil was threatening the advances.
In a fresh report, the UN's World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) found that research and development spending and other investments that drive innovative activities continued to boom last year despite the still-raging pandemic.
"This is contrary to what we expected," WIPO chief Daren Tang told reporters, pointing out that during previous downturns, innovation spending plummeted.
But the global health crisis sparked an upsurge in innovation spending in "whole new areas", and in regions that do not usually receive a large share of such investments.
Research and development investment by the top corporate spenders swelled by nearly 10 percent in 2021 to over $900 billion -- higher than before the pandemic -- with most going to areas including pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, and information and communications technology.
Venture capital (VC) deals meanwhile "exploded" by nearly 50 percent last year, recording levels comparable to the internet boom years of the late 1990s, WIPO said.
The greatest growth was seen in the Latin America, Caribbean and African regions.