Following the recent announcement that Ghana will host the prestigious Innovation Prize for Africa 2017 event on the 17th & 18th July, under the patronage of H.E. President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the country’s top innovation leaders came together at a roundtable to discuss important opportunities in supporting local innovation. Hon. Professor Kwabena Frimpong Boateng, Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI), opened the discussion that was themed “Investing in Home Grown Innovation: Opportunities for Ghanaians”.
Endorsed by Ghana Investment Promotion Center (GIPC) and Ghana 60 Years On Planning Committee in partnership with the African Innovation Foundation (AIF), the roundtable featured an illustrious panel comprising of AIF and Ghanaian speakers including Pauline Mujawamariya Koelbl, IPA Director and AIF Innovations Ecosystems Teamster; Yofi Grant, Chief Executive Officer, GIPC; David Asiamah, Founder, Agro Mindset; Herman Chinery-Hesse, Founder/CEO, SoftTribe and DK Osseo-Asare, Co-founding Principal, Low Design Office (LOWDO) & lecturer, Ashesi University.
In his opening remarks, Hon. Professor Kwabena Frimpong Boateng, highlighted that Ghana’s partnership with AIF in hosting IPA2017 will raise the country’s innovation profile at a Pan-African and international level while reiterating the Government’s commitment towards driving socio-economic growth and prosperity through innovation. The subsequent panel discussion highlighted the need to drive local innovation and entrepreneurship in Ghana, turning challenges into new opportunities, and the need to provide appropriate financing solutions to catalyse Ghanaian innovators and scale home-grown innovations and ways to promote innovation in the key sectors of the economy.
The roundtable was conducted with the objective of creating a network of innovation practitioners, representing the Ghanaian innovation ecosystems in order to drive innovation research and practice in Ghana and West Africa as a whole. It was also aimed at mobilising champions for innovation from policy institutions, the private sector, academia (research institutions, universities and polytechnics), international organisations and training institutions representatives.
Speaking at the event, Pauline Mujawamariya Koelbl, commented, “Ghana has been a frontrunner in the technology and innovation race, and today’s panel discussion is a strong indication that its leaders, innovation enablers and even the diaspora, are aligned in their quest to take home grown innovation to the next level. We look forward to welcoming Ghanaian companies, institutions and investment community to partner with AIF and support Ghana’s pursuit of its innovation development milestones.”
Over the past five years, the AIF has been playing an active role in supporting the development of African innovation ecosystems through ongoing collaborative programs and strategic partnerships with governments and innovation influencers across the region. For this 6th edition ‘African Innovation: Investing in Prosperity’, IPA is bringing together select stakeholders comprising of innovators, entrepreneurs, investors, leaders of innovation hubs and technology parks, policy makers as well cutting-edge African training institutions. It is an opportunity for companies to forge important partnerships, synergies and collaborations with innovation enablers from across the continent to strengthen Africa’s innovation investment climate.