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Innovation could be a driving force for growth in Africa

15.12.2018
The world is currently riding on the waves of technological advancement which has been a major catalyst for innovation in the globe. Africa which had been considered a dark continent is fact picking up the trail and is today considered a center of innovation and major investors have eyes fixed on the continent to snatch the slightest opportunity to expand their reach. However, the continent still faces several challenges which impedes them from taking advantage of this opportunity to spur growth.

As the big economies are now fine tuning their growth and development models to encompass technology and innovation, African countries are also finding better ways to solve problems. Multilateral companies as well as small startups are challenging the status quo and are accelerating the continent’s growth by paying special focus on innovation. It is true that, a lot of these companies are now conscious that they cannot make a difference without constantly finding new ways to improve their services. According to a research done by the African Institution of Technology, the rate of innovation within Africa is fast increasing and the continent is finding better ways of solving local problems.

How RWANDA leverages on innovation to transform its economy

In its rapid transformation process, Rwanda was quick to understand that the only path to industrial growth is through development and integration of science, technology and innovation into enterprises.

It is in this light that the Rwandan government has continuously called for African governments to drive greater digital adoption and innovation. Kagame has also on several occasion called for collaborate in designing possible solutions for unlocking Africa’s full potential.

Today, socio-economic construct of Rwanda’s economy is deeply interwoven with technological innovations. Rwanda’s approach to reduce its trade deficit and diversifying its export base is to use smart technologies to develop its industries.

A clear understanding of this is portrayed in its Vision 2050 and the Seven Year Government Programme (2017-24), which aim to establish Rwanda as a globally competitive knowledge-based economy and create 214,000 decent jobs annually.

Rwanda is today making extensive use of smart technologies as a means to drive industries forward as the country is trying to position itself as a regional ICT Hub and the major solution has been to infuse modern technologies into enterprises to boost Rwandan industrial growth.

Innovation opens up new market in Africa.

With the massive turn towards innovation, giant firms have now found an emerging market in Africa. Tech giants like google are now opening branches in Nigeria and Kenya. As a means of encouraging innovation, Google launched the 2018 Google Impact Challenge (GIC) in Nigeria worth $2 million which was aimed at empowering Nigerian citizens to execute projects that will have an impact in the community.

A GSMA Ecosystem Accelerator report indicated that Africa recorded close to 314 active tech hubs in 2016 as compared to the 120 tech hubs listed in by the World Bank Report in September 2015.

However, the major problem Africa is facing boils down to the fact that foreign investors are scared to invest in the continent due to corrupt governance systems as well as the lack of policies and legal systems to protect property rights.

This notwithstanding, innovation has been earmarked and a vital component for growth in the continent but efficient and more organized policies need to be instituted for it to benefit from the advantages that comes along. Though several challenges still remain, companies are now more conscious than ever and are making relentless efforts transform the society.

AFRIC Editorial Article.

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