African Innovation Ecosystem Roundtables
3. Key insights derived from roundtables
Following the four highly insightful roundtable discussions, the following key insights were derived.
The African ecosystem is one that is highly fragmented with different levels of maturity across the regions and participating countries. There is a significant difference between the larger, more structured ecosystems such as Kenya, Ghana and South Africa and some of the smaller systems such as Sierra Leone, Gambia and Namibia.
However, across these ecosystems a number of uniform challenges came to light:
1. Policy needs
Across the continent there is a lack of innovation policies and frameworks to encourage entrepreneurship and innovation, protect the participants and attract investment. This was prevalent across all the regions and even though some countries have started the process, far more needs to be done. It was mentioned that the time has come for the private sector and corporates to get (more) involved in the formulation of policies and the drive towards enabling the ecosystem through governance. African governments are bogged down by many challenges resulting in a cumbersome process, which does not currently prioritise innovation policies (with the exception of a select few countries). A coordinated effort from the private sector is required to lead/guide governments in this. Involvement of the private sector will make it more likely that startup voices are amplified and considered.
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