Building a Resilient Innovative Africa in a COVID-19 world


Experts who have contributed to this report agreewith our young innovators and entrepreneurs and call for a radical shift in how policymakers look at the innovation ecosystem. The co-creation of public policy for start-ups between the public, private and government sectors are more likely to deliver laws that are inclu- sive in nature. There is however, movement in the right direction with the various start-up laws and acts that are being enacted in some African countries. Hanae Bezad, Project Manager, Start-ups and Innovation Ecosystems at SMART Africa explains how the co-creation of public policies for inclusion, such as the current Rwanda Start-upAct, have a proven potential toworkwell in delivering inclusive innovation spaces. She believes that COVID-19 will only accelerate this trend.

“Policies must be geared towards empowering start-ups and small businesses through the prism of a top-down and bottom-up approach - one that is by virtue comprehensive and inclusive of all stakeholders from across the entire ICT start-up ecosystem. When we look across sub-Saharan Africa, we have seen public policy emerge through this top-down, bottom-up approach inMali, Côte d'Ivoire, Benin andmore. Through policy co-creation, SMART Africa has played a part in securing the enactment of new acts of law specifically designed to promote inclusive innovation and start-up ecosystems. Tunisia and Senegal enacted start-up acts in 2018 and 2019 respectively, and from there other African countries within the SMART Africa Alliance, such as Rwanda, followed suit. As a key enabler, SMART Africa aims to strengthen and catalyze this trend.”

Hanae Bezad Project Manager, Start-ups and Innovation Ecosystems at SMART Africa


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