Building a Resilient Innovative Africa in a COVID-19 world

After years of steady economic development and the emergence of an exciting, dynamic, and transformative innovation ecosystem across the continent, Africa’s job creating entrepreneurs have beendealt a blowby the sudden emergence of a global pandemic. Having spent manyyearsworkingwithAfrican innovators, entrepreneurs, and enablers, it is clear to me that all four corners of the continent have been transformed. FromKenya toNigeria, Morocco to SouthAfrica, amix of good public policy, third-sector initiatives, education reforms and improved public and private sector financing, has enabled the continent’s growing body of innovators to come to the fore as game-changers. From fintech to agri-tech, African innovators have developed African solutions to African challenges that deliver social impact, jobs, and value chain creation. Africa has taken its place as a competitor on the world stage. Then, in 2020 everything changed. The extraordinary nature of the pandemic has brought hardship across many parts of the world, destroying entire supply chains, and plunging many sectors into an irreversible decline. Millions of SMEs within the informal sector are out of the reach of state interventions thatmany in the developed economies enjoy – furlough schemes, grants, tax holidays and more. The pandemic has hindered short-term growth prospects for innovators and entrepreneurs just getting started. As an Africa-focused communications consultancy that profoundly appreciates and values the continent’s entrepreneurs for their innovation spirit, Djembe Consultants aims to shed light on how COVID-19 is impacting them right now and on the ground. This report, in partnership with the continent’s largest network of African innovation hubs, tell a story of extraordinary resilience that has given rise to new ideas and solutions to entrenched African challenges and to COVID-19 itself. It is a narrative of fierce resistance to the forces of uncertainty brought about by the pandemic. Entrepreneurs are at the heart of every free economy in the world. They are the single most important contributor to job creation, invention, taxes, ideas, and the social mobility that every community wishes to see bestowed upon the next generation. Seen through the lenses of Africa’s young entrepreneurs aswell as some of the continent’s foremost experts, this report offers powerful and inspiring insights on the unique opportunities inherent inAfrica’s journey through one of theworld’s most challenging and complex moments in history.

Mitchell Prather CEO - Djembe Consultants


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