First Lady Rebecca Akufo-Addo has urged Africans to help create and promote innovation in their communities in their bid to solve real and difficult challenges facing the continent and its people.
The First Lady made the call on Monday, 17 July while addressing the Africa Innovation Foundation’s 2017 Innovation Prize for Africa (IPA) taking place in Accra from 17 – 18 July, 2017 to celebrate the best of African innovation.
In her address, Mrs Akufo-Addo said: “Often when we talk about creativity and innovation, we look at the more developed regions, but it is important to note that there are a lot of world-class innovations being produced in Africa, therefore, unless we shine a spotlight on them and create enabling ecosystems, our innovators will continue to languish in the shadows. It is critical that we have our own narratives, through initiatives like the IPA.”
She, therefore, urged that “we [Africans] tell our story and support those who through their innovation and creativity drive economic growth.” She further encouraged all “to be innovation enablers and not just leave it to institutions like the African Innovation Foundation.”
She noted that being innovation enablers will mean offering mentorship and coaching tools to up-and-coming innovators, encouraging competitiveness that allows the unleashing of creative solutions to society’s challenges, needs and aspirations as well as working together to tell their own stories effectively.
Mrs Akufo-Addo indicated that Ghana as a country is committed to putting innovation at the core of its national agenda knowing that to succeed, we have to be innovative. In line with this commitment, she said that the government has plans “to establish ICT Incubator hubs in our regional capitals” to facilitate innovations and creativity across the country.
The First Lady commended the 10 IPA nominees for this year, especially the four women among them, noting that their inclusion is “proof that ingenuity and creativity is not limited to any gender,” affirming that “there is truly no limit for the determined African woman.”
She emphasised that as a continent, it is pertinent that we “create every opportunity for women to flourish, and celebrate them, when they do well. It is important that our little boys and girls grow up seeing images of African women excelling.”
She also commended the AIF, its founder Jean-Claude Bastos de Morais, and all their partners for their outstanding efforts and passion in putting Africa on the global innovation map.