ECA Chief, Songwe, calls for scaling up of African innovation

Kigali – Rwanda 6 June 2018 (ECA) - The 2018 Africa Innovation Summit kicked off with a call to governments and entrepreneurs to scale up the innovation on the continent to greater heights.
“With the arrival of the fourth industrial revolution, innovation only is not enough”, said Ms. Vera Songwe, Executive Secretary of UN Economic Commission for Africa. "We need to take it to scale and create jobs, add value, grow our GDPs and bring prosperity to our society".
Songwe was speaking in a panel session themed:  "Innovation Africa: Challenges and Opportunities. She said that policymakers should not only be regulators of innovation but also its advocates for large scale growth.
Innovation, as explained in the summit, is a sequence of the invention, innovation, diffusion and imitation. “On the continent, we are doing the invention part and the innovation part, but we need to take it to scale in a diffusion way, said Songwe.
Only a handful African countries have made it to the top 100 in the global Innovation ranking. Songwe made an appeal to policymakers to do more and facilitate Internet penetration on the continent, stating that in Africa, only Kenya has internet penetration of more than 80% of its population.
The Summit was opened by Rwanda Prime Minister, Mr. Edourd Ngirente, who stressed that one of the key elements of African development is to catalyze the innovation spirit in Africa by supporting and promoting young innovators in different sectors such as agriculture, ICT, energy; and education and “link them with available opportunities for coaching.”
The Africa Innovation Summit is an initiative aimed at mobilizing different policy makers, investors and innovators into a coalition for collective action to promote and build an enabling environment for innovation in Africa.
Issued by:
Communications Section
Economic Commission for Africa
PO Box 3001
Addis Ababa
Tel: +251 11 551 5826