African Innovation Ecosystem Roundtables
2. One Africa (Establishment of cross country and cross regional forums/discussions and markets)
Here the first stepwould be to continue the discussions that started at the roundtable sessions. African innovators rarely get together to share information in such forums and all attendees found it refreshing and valuable. There is an opportunity for Mozilla and AfriLabs to co-curate sessions that bring different innovators together for conversations relevant to both partners. The next steps would be: ● To add more countries to the different regional discussions ● To structure discussions around specific themes ● To ensure that decisions are made and implementation of regional solutions can commence (and in doing so, move beyond discussions towards action) ● Regional startup policy framework discussions 3. Assistance in the drive towards digital literacy and access to affordable internet Education and awareness is key to understanding the digital world that we live in. It is therefore vital that we prioritise digital literacy for Africa’s innovators and product users. In doing so, it will enable the continent to come up with improved, scalable, digital solutions whilst also opening up opportunities to export some solutions to the world.
This educational drive would however need access to digital connectivity and tools which will require some innovative thinking to get in place.
Further to this, educating the ecosystems on the power and benefits of open source software and building resilient solutions with customer-centricmethodologies would further strengthen the innovation and entrepreneurial efforts. There is anopportunity forMozilla to leverage theAfriLabs network toamplify thework it is doing with the Africa Telecommunications Union. There is also an opportunity to co-curate curriculums for digital literacy, safe internet use and cyber security training to be added to the AfriLabs capacity building program for hubs and entrepreneurs.
4. Access to international mentorship
Africa has the potential to be the next big growth area but requires some assistance to achieve this. While Africans must take the lead on building Africa, it is important that the continent’s ecosystem gains access to the international network of experts/ mentors. These mentors would bring valuable insights into the ecosystem leaving African innovators and entrepreneurs to utilise such knowledge to build a truly African version of innovation.
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