The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Accelerator Labs and AfriLabs have partnered to advance digital innovation policy in Africa aimed at building solutions that solve African challenges.
The partnership between two well-established actors in the African innovation ecosystem will focus on harnessing the knowledge of local innovators across the continent to close the gap towards the Sustainable Development Global Goals (SDGs).
The partnership was formally announced at a hybrid live and virtual event hosted by AfriLabs as part of their 2021 Annual Gathering recently. It was attended by the senior advisor and UNDP Nigeria Accelerator Lab Focal Point, William Tsuma and the executive director, AfriLabs, Anna Ekeledo at the ImpactCove Hub in Abuja, Nigeria.
The assistant secretary-general and director of UNDP’s Regional Bureau for Africa Ahunna Eziakonwa and UNDP Accelerator Labs Team Leader, Gina Lucarelli joined virtually. While Africa is fueled by an incredibly innovative community of grassroots innovators, youth and members of the informal sector, governments do not yet fully utilize this incredible potential.
With this partnership the UNDP Accelerator Lab Network and AfriLabs bet on the African innovation ecosystem to increase its contribution to solving the continent’s most pressing development challenges and advance innovation policy in Africa.
Both partners’ scale and networks across the continent make them uniquely positioned to achieve that. The UNDP Accelerator Lab Network comprises 91 labs covering 115 countries among which 35 are located in Africa, and AfriLabs is the largest pan-African network, comprising 320 technology and innovation hubs across 51 African countries and the diaspora.
“With our youth population projected to be over 500 million over the next 5 years, the importance of job creation cannot be understated, and innovation hubs act as a platform that build systems and businesses that create these jobs. We see this partnership as a powerful collaboration that can multiply the effect of our goals and we look forward to recording measurable impact tailored to revolutionize the innovation ecosystem in Africa,” Ekeledo of AfriLabs said about the partnership.
“Together, AfriLabs and the 35 UNDP Accelerator Labs in Africa will draw lessons from existing policies and develop a framework which will be shared as input for African leaders,” said Eziakonwa.