The rapid and unprecedented reorientation of the global economy in recent decades has compounded the importance of national competitiveness and innovation strategies. Governments play a critical role in promoting science and technology, as innovation requires a level of investment not easily derived from the private sector. With much of the world's manufacturing shifting to Asia, political support in industrialized countries has moved away from heavy industry in favour of nanotechnology, biotechnology, digital enterprises and alternative energy solutions. This paper comments on the existing methods of analyzing national science and technology policies, and makes an assessment of the innovation strategies adopted by three very different countries - Japan, Canada and Nigeria. In particular, it illustrates how nations at varying stages of development have responded to modern scientific and technology opportunities and challenges. The paper concludes that the widening "digital divide" requires a significant response from governments and international institutions in order to create greater and more equitable global prosperity.