Building a Resilient Innovative Africa in a COVID-19 world

Executive Summary

As an African-focused communications consultancy with deep connections and ties to African innovation and start-ups ecosystems, Djembe Consultants has been keeping a closewatch on how the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting African innovators and entrepreneurs. We have partnered withAfriLabs, the leading pan-African network of 225 innovation hubs across 47African countries to develop this report with the objective of understanding what is really happening within these ecosystems across the continent during a time of unprecedented international crisis. We spoke to 1,000 entrepreneurs, innovators, and start-ups from across Africa to gauge their sentiments on how they were being affected by COVID-19 and what matters to them most at present. This report gives insights to the realities on the ground, fromhowthe pandemic is affecting sources of funding and opportunities to scale, to how lockdowns and containment measures are impacting informal sector entrepreneurs who are so vital toAfrican economies, and how the public and private sectors can step up to safeguardAfrican innovation resilience through inclusive policies and measures. This report also brings together the expert perspectives of some of the continent’s most informed individuals who are at the helm of developments that impact the African innovation and start-ups ecosystems across education, inclusivity, investment, policy, technology, research and more. Their points of viewprovide deep insights into the challenges and opportunities that the continent faces as it grapples with the realities of the 'newnormal'. It brings together rich perspectives from scaling innovations and entrepreneurship, to transforming education towards a skills-based model of collaborative learning and powerful calls for policy enhancements to help women and youth in the informal sectors. Framed within the context of important milestones for the continent, including the impending AfCFTA, UN SDGs, and the African Union Agenda 2063, this report provides a unique and timely grassroots look at how the continent’s public and private sectors can step up to support theworld’s fastest growing and youngest population who continue to rise above challenges and remain steadfast on the path to a resilient, innovative Africa.


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