In a newly published article, Quartz Africa crowned the 2016 Top African Innovators. Amongst the broad range of winners are brilliant minds working in diverse fields, from Tech-industry to fashion, from medicine to journalism and so on.
According to the article, in order to make it into the list, the innovators portfolio had to comply with a certain set of criteria such as groundbreaking work, thought-leading initiatives, and creative approaches to problems.
Quartz Africas list of Top innovators is just another reminder of how diverse African innovation actually is. I would even go so far as to suggest that no other place in the world is currently boosting with innovation as versatile as the African continent. But why is it that, despite the numerous challenges it’s facing, innovation in Africa is booming? This week, HBR-Blogger Ndubuisi Ekekwe published an article adressing this question.
The article points out how the interplay of economic, political and social forces produced the most groundbreaking result: It helped foster a market environment in Africa where local innovation is so competitive, it manages to force big international players out of the market.
In aiming to provide an answer for the question as to why ‘homemade innovation’ is on the rise in Africa, the article provides an interesting point about the innovators behind these upcoming African companies:
It is a matter of common knowledge that a lot of highly skilled professionals lost their job after the global economic crisis in the late 2000s hit Europe and the U.S. Amongst them there were many African citizens. the article suggests that these African professionals then returned to Africa and, due to scarce job opportunities in Africa, many of them started their own companies in their native countries. Thus, the article makes a valid point: Those highly skilled and educated innovators returning to their homecountries might have just been the human capital boost the continent needed. Furthermore, many of these newly founded local companies are focusing on local problems, thus providing the continent with the technical resources necessary to face its specific challenges.
Let me know what you think in the comment section or discuss with me on Twitter (@inventiveafrica)!