The African Union Commission (AUC) Department for Trade and Industry is working together with i4policy and other innovation community leaders in Africa to organize the largest-ever gathering of community innovation hubs on the continent.
The hub convention will take place on May 6-7 on the sidelines of the Transform Africa Summit in Kigali (May 8-9). Transform Africa will focus on the creation of a single African digital market, continuing the conversation about the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) negotiated during the extraordinary AU summit in Kigali last month.
The hub convention recognizes the role of innovation hubs as important convenors and enablers of local innovation communities across the continent, and is designed to ensure that Governments make use of their hubs’ on-the-ground knowledge and experience when designing regulations and policy interventions.
The hub gathering is being co-organized by i4policy together with Jamaa Funding, Kumasi Hive, the African Agribusiness Incubator Network and Impact Hub Kigali with support from the International Organization of la Francophonie (OIF), among others.
i4policy is bringing together innovators and policy makers across the continent to co-design better innovation and entrepreneurship policies. Last month, i4policy organized national “policy hackathons” in Nigeria’s political and economic capitals together with the Civic Innovation Lab in Abuja, Impact Hub Lagos, Nigeria’s national Office for ICT Innovation and Entrepreneurship, and the Make-IT in Africa program.
According to Jon Stever, co-founder of Impact Hub Kigali and one of the i4policy organizers of the hub convention, “this is all about supporting authentic voices from innovation communities and hubs to engage in the policy conversation at the national and continental level.”
The outcome of the hub Convention in Kigali is expected to be the formation of a new, official forum of the African Union to formalize an alliance between policy makers and Africa’s youth innovators to accelerate the continent’s digital transformation.
Nanjira Sambuli, the Digital Equality Advocacy Manager for the Web Foundation, points out that “local innovators across the continent are developing solutions. i4policy was formed, because policy will either make or break the future of what we want to do.”
There is a growing recognition that policy conversations are strengthened when the people affected by policies are involved in their development, particularly where it concerns innovation and entrepreneurship. As the Special Advisor for Smart Africa and former Minister of Youth and ICT in Rwanda, Jean-Philbert Nsengimana, recently said, “My only advice is to engage young innovators more!”
Innovation Hub managers and leaders all over Africa are invited to represent their communities at the hub convention, and are asked to indicate their interest in attending by filling out this registration form.