'Frugal Innovation' Africa's Ticket to Green Development?

Cash-strapped Africa will need "frugal innovation" based on simple, local solutions to deal with serious and growing problems, from climate change to a surging youth population and a lack of jobs, writes Laurie Goering for the Thomson Reuters Foundation. However, sparse research funding, government restrictions, a cultural under-appreciation of entrepreneurs and a focus by many governments on large-scale industrialisation as the way ahead are holding back efforts, Fatima Denton, director of the UN University Institute for Natural Resources in Africa has said. Tackling such barriers could help Africans create millions of new jobs, find ways to deal with climate threats and spur development, as seen from the rapid spread of smartphones and apps that can help climate-hit farmers adapt crops in response to seasonal weather forecasts.


Pupils of Kimisagara Primary School use their laptops acquired under the One-Laptop-Per-Child project (file photo).

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