A total of 90 African hubs from 32 countries with more than 450,000 innovators within their combined community created and endorsed the Africa Innovation Policy Manifesto during the i4policy African Innovation Hub Convention on the sidelines of the Transform Africa Summit in Kigali this week.
Disrupt Africa reported last month the African Union Commission (AUC) Department for Trade and Industry has partnered i4policy and other innovation community leaders in Africa to organise what it claims is the largest ever gathering of community innovation hubs on the continent in Rwanda.
The event took place this week, with the participating hubs co-creating and endorsing a manifesto that included policy recommendations such as easing mobility for Africans to travel in Africa, adopting the African Declaration on Internet Rights and Freedoms, and simplifying the regulatory environment to make starting a business and paying taxes easier and cheaper.
Other key recommendations included redesigning education curricula together with a broad coalition of partners, such as labs and civic spaces, to emphasise critical thinking and digital skills, and increased investment in R&D to accelerate indigenous innovation.
The major hub networks on the continent, including Afrilabs, the Global Innovation Gathering, Impact Hub Africa, Jokkolabs Global, MEST, rLabs and Womanity, have signed, while numerous affiliates and supporters also endorsed the document.
“It is time for innovation for policy in Africa,” said Markos Lemma from iceaddis, Ethiopia. “We are not asking our governments to listen to us anymore. Instead, we will work with them to co-create policies that work for the innovation community. It is not a demand-supply relationship we want to have with policymakers. We want to have a relationship of cooperation and collaboration.”