Pretoria – “The best way to believe in the future for Africa, is to believe in our innovations and in our innovators,” Dr Ibrahim Mayaki, CEO of the NEPAD Agency stated in his keynote address at an event held to showcase African innovations.
As part of the commemorations for Africa Day, this year the NEPAD Agency also celebrated the innovations that entrepreneurs on the continent are developing, under the African Union theme for 2017, Harnessing the Demographic Dividend through Investments in Youth.
“There is no better way to celebrate Africa Day than through innovations,” remarked Ms Teresiah Simelane, General Manager for Enterprise Development at The Innovation Hub in Pretoria, South Africa.
Dr Mayaki was speaking today at an event organised by the NEPAD Agency and The Innovation Hub to mark Africa Day, as a time for reflection, celebrating the progress made by Africans, while also reflecting on the common challenges and solutions the continent needs in a global environment.
Africa has the youngest population in the world, and it is this population that will supply the much needed human capital and innovations in the years to come, even as the continent becomes more industrialised. Even as the continent faces the challenges of integration and industrialisation, many are the innovations that young enterprising Africans are developing to redress development challenges.
The exhibition by entrepreneurs at the event in Pretoria, made the case for the myriad of innovations which exist on the continent and need to be up-scaled in providing concrete solutions to some of Africa’s challenges. The young entrepreneurs’ innovations provide solutions in the areas of bioeconomy (including agro-processing and health), climate change adaptive innovations and smart industries (ICTs and advanced manufacturing), to name but a few.
Participants at the event heard from entrepreneurs who showcased innovations from injectable bone graft substitute, to devices that help deaf communities and various other innovations in health, medical, food, beauty, pharmaceutical and manufacturing industries.
“We need innovations to trigger technological developments and other advancements in the framework of Agenda 2063, Africa’s vision for transformation,” Dr Mayaki said. He added that, “The skills of entrepreneurs need to be shaped in such a way that as they grow, African economies can also grow, with the drive from the continent’s own innovative solutions.”
Dr Mayaki also stated that the commemoration of Africa Day with The Innovation Hub marks the first step towards strengthening collaboration with the NEPAD Agency.