Building a Resilient Innovative Africa in a COVID-19 world

Policy co-creation

Africa’s young innovators and entrepreneurs are intrinsically linked to the innovation DNA of the continent. This necessitates understanding their perspectives on the potential solutions to driving innovation inclusivity in Africa, particularly in the informal markets where the majority are women and youth whose life chances and livelihoods have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. Themajorityof our innovators andentrepreneurs feel that the creationof expandedmarket opportunities forhomegrown businesses is the key to driving innovation inclusivity on the continent, followed by the provision of support services and the curation of capacity development programs to address the unique challenges of operating in the informal markets.

Creation of expanded market opportunities for homegrown innovations


Development of new support services targeted towards the informal markets


Curation of tailored capacity development programs to address the unique challenges of operating in the informal markets Strengthening synergies between R&D and needs-based innovation



Fig. Policy priorities for driving inclusivity in informal markets

These priorities outlined by our innovators and entrepreneurs are all areas that African innovation hubs, which are modeled on a system that is inherently inclusive, can help move forward in terms of helping to frame policy discussions. However, these innovation hubs are not being tapped into sufficiently byAfrican governments and decision-makers. This claim is further echoed by the high proportion of survey respondents who do not feel there is enough support from the private and public sector to drive greater inclusivitywithin hubs and thewider innovation ecosystem.

As such, there is a greater need to facilitate the participation of African innovation hubs in creating policies that narrow the gap between homegrown innovations and access to enabling factors such as capacity development, skill transfer, knowhow, and seed funding amongst others.

Do not know (13%)

Yes (14%)

No (32%)

Yes, but existing public-private sector initiatives are not strategic nor sustainable (41%)

Fig. Respondents' opinions towards private andpublic sector support to drive greater inclusivitywithinhubs

“Governments must not lose sight of the need to continue to invest in innovation and technology for the youth because it is this demographic that is going to help African countries achieve the SDG goals and ultimately, technology is what will be leveraged to achieve them. COVID-19 has provided us with opportunities to rethink the path to resilience and to reprioritize the continents’ resources.” Ody Akhanoba Manager of Strategy and Innovation, Afreximbank


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