As you by now have hopefully noticed, the aim of this blog is to cast an eye on African innovation. So when I see things titled ‘Why does innovation matter for Africa?‘, I get really excited. In this short but very illuminative article, Professor Mario Scerri of the Institute for Economic Research on Innovation (ieri) gives a comprehensive insight on why innovation is important for Africa from theoretical perspective.
My head is still reeling somewhat (the article is formulated rather scientifically), but this is one of my main take-aways:
«From the perspective of innovation theory, innovation has been brought in as the main driver of growth and development, especially since the second part of the twentieth century which has seen accelerating technological change emerging as the main determinant of the competitive positioning of national economies.»
Sadly it seems that the African Innovation Summit (where the article was published) has been dormant since 2014, but it’s certainly still a source of knowledge.
Let me know what you think of the article on Twitter. I’m looking forward to discussing it with you.
One of my favourite websites is venturesafrica.com because they keep me up to date on African business, innovation, and policy. If you have time and don’t already know about them, you should definitely check the website (and their podcasts) out.
In early January they published an article about the most recent African innovations you should keep an eye on. In my last blog post I briefly told you about Agenda 2063, an action plan formulated by the African Union (AU). Well, 3 years after the launch, it is certainly yielding fruit: Did you know, for instance, that the Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda has developed a multipurpose tractor which will make life so much easier for farmers? Or about Mobi-Bank, a mobile application for bank transactions, which Tamanda Pius, a student at Lilongwe Technical College, Malawi, won a prize for? No? Well, then listen to this podcast by venturesafrica.com and learn about these and other innovations.
These brilliant examples illustrate why it is so important to foster innovation. I’m excited to see what else lies ahead.
Agenda 2063 is a long-term strategy formulated by the Heads of State of the African Union (AU) for their 50th Anniversary Solemn Declaration back in 2013, dedicated to the future continent’s accelerated development and technological progress. In the words of the AU:
“Agenda 2063 is both a Vision and an Action Plan. It is a call for action to all segments of African society to work together to build a prosperous and united Africa based on shared values and a common destiny.” Source: About Agenda 2063
By encouraging discussion among all stakeholders, Agenda 2063 focusses on learning from the past and by doing so encouraging a positive socioeconomic transformation in the next 50 years. As we will see in my next post, that has a very positive effect on the spirit of fostering innovation in Africa.
The future we want for Africa: Go visit the website an contribute!
With the recent oil crisis in Angola, other business opportunities are getting more attention. AFKInsider recently spoke to Zandre Campos, CEO of Angola Capital Investments about the future of Angola’s economy:
“Oil going down means all the other opportunities are going up. Oil is important but it doesn’t mean that it’s everything. Angola has around 1060 kilometers of beaches and all the minerals” said Campos.
Campos founded his company to strengthen companies focussing on energy, transportation, hospitality, real estate and–above all else–healthcare: “The lack of investment in the [healthcare] sector is a big concern for us.”
Fortunately, Angola has begun legal and institutional reform linked to private investment, getting rid of the $1 million US dollars requirement and so encouraging micro, small and medium companies to invest. It also means, doing business in Angola will be faster which, according to Campos, are both important indicators for the country.
This is certainly encouraging news for Angola’s economy and will no doubt foster more innovation.
To recognise and promote developers and entrepreneurs who are using the internet to improve the standard of education and economic health in their communities, Facebook has launched the Internet.org Innovation Challenge. The competition is open to developers of entering apps, websites and online services in one of two categories: learning/education and economic empowerment.
Beside the Innovation Challenge Award prize in the amount of $150,000 which will be awarded in each category, Facebook is also offering two Impact Award prizes in the amount of $50,000 for each of the two categories.
“We’re looking forward to seeing how African developers are providing real value for their communities. By connecting people and empowering them with access to services and information, we can help them achieve extraordinary things and help them to enhance their lives” said Ime Archibong, director of strategic partnerships at Facebook.
Well, I can certainly agree with that.
Entries can be made until May 1, 2016 and winners announced in August/September 2016. I don’t know about you, but I will be following the awards closely. Stay tuned.