Africa Innovation Summit (AIS) is an African broad and local initiative. It aims at making useful the potential of Africa. It targets to bring together individuals with open mindset into a partnership to cooperate to promote and develop the best environment for African innovation. The individuals include researchers and academics, investors, policymakers, innovators, the business community, the youth among others. The summit’s platform comprises regular summits that promote dialogue that facilitate the exchange of best practices among African countries and shareholders, pitch what is taking place in Africa and share experience lessons. It also comprises of discussions with African scholars and researchers to have case studies to bring out experience lessons stakeholders can get an opportunity to learn.
The African Innovation Exhibit is an arm of AIS. It offers a stage to pitch homegrown innovations and the continent innovators. Heckathons will challenge people to develop solutions to real problems. The heckathons and exhibitions will give stakeholders a chance to get ways for potential solutions. The African Innovation Summit (AIS) 2018 kicked off on 6th June in Kigali Rwanda. The event was opened by Honorable Edouard Ngirente, the Rwandan Prime Minister. This is the second time the summit is taking place after its launch.
AIS II will focus on disruptive and innovative solutions to the significant problems facing countries in Africa. The major problems include governance, food insecurity, water, energy access and health systems. AIS II offers a platform for a dialogue with various stakeholders. It is the only innovation summit in Africa that aims at having an action-driven dialogue between African stakeholders and innovators in private sectors, government, academia and civil society to ensure that opportunities African solutions get opportunities to scale in the right way. According to Ngirente, developing a robust system of innovation is the primary challenge in the continent. He added that he was pleased that AIS is helping African countries develop a culture of innovation as their way of life. He said that Rwanda would be launching innovation and research fund. The fund will help to address the critical needs of the country. AIS’ resolutions and recommendations will play an important role.
Zimbabwean based speaker and innovator Simba Mhuriro challenged governments of Africa to support innovators who are tackling significant challenges in Africa. He added that local innovators would only remain local in case Africa realizes their benefits. He challenged governments to create regulations that allow financial institutions to fund innovators from Africa at a large scale. AIS’ co-director Dr. Olugbenga Adesida said that AIS puts innovators from Africa in front and at the center. He added that these are the individuals who work daily to identify African challenges. They also work to develop solutions to them using little local support. He said that Africa could not be in a position to outsource its development. This can only change by creating dialogue around challenges and opportunities faced by local innovators. The continent will be well placed if its innovators get conducive atmosphere to thrive in.
A total of 50 innovators were selected from 600 applicants from 44 countries. The group will have an opportunity to discuss with stakeholders about the potential solutions to some of the stumbling blocks that are hindering the execution of solutions. The summit will end tomorrow, Friday 8th June.