14 June 2018

Ethiopia: Summit Calls On Stakeholders to Enhance Innovation

ADDIS ABABA - Innovation is a prerequisite for Africa's transformation and all stakeholders must engage to facilitate greater collaboration, the Africa Innovation Summit (AIS) said.

The overwhelming view of the Summit which was conducted from June 6 to 8 aimed at nurturing, empowering and propelling African innovators and their solutions forward.

A multi-sectorial and multi-stakeholder approach must be taken to ensure policies, investments and enabling ecosystems are put in place to support African innovation without hesitation.

Obiageli Ezekwesili, former Vice President for Africa at the World Bank, shared her view: "If Africa accepted that people have to be at the center, then we would be confronted with the fact that Africa's people problem is a productivity problem. And this productivity problem is an innovation issue. We need an upheaval and people in government who can overturn the old way of doing things."

"It is not a question of knowing what is right but doing what is right. We need to be tough with our leaders. It is a pre-condition for change." United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) former Executive Secretary Carlos Lopes said.

"We have a wave of transformation in Africa. There is political will to translate Africa's dreams into practical tools. We need to harness our negative energy and change it into dynamism."

From 600 applications of the 44 countries, a selected group of 50 innovators had a unique opportunity to engage stakeholders in discussing potential solutions to some of the blockages that are preventing solutions from going to scale.

In his final call to action, Dr. Olugbenga Adesida, co-Director of AIS, called for a bolder imagination about the future by Africans and a sense of urgency around Africa's transformation.

He noted that innovation is a prerequisite for Africa's transformation and that all stakeholders must engage to facilitate greater collaboration.

Africa must ensure greater self-reliance by mobilizing domestic funding to promote innovation and support our innovators. "We must build robust ecosystems for innovation in our respective countries on the continent. Africans cannot simply be consumers, nor can they outsource its development. We all must engage with a new sense of urgency to facilitate change."

AIS is an Africa-wide and home grown initiative aimed at harnessing the innovation potential of the continent.

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