African Innovators Launch Platform To Enhance Linkage With Industry


Budding innovators from the Sub-Saharan African region will be able to access funding from the private sector, thanks to Friday’s launch of a platform to help realise that objective.

The Nairobi-based African Academy of Sciences said the platform, dubbed ‘Grand Challenges Africa Innovation Network’ (GCAIN), will help tackle financing bottlenecks that hamper the harnessing of cutting edge innovation to solve challenges facing society.

“This platform will provide innovators with the resources they need to succeed.

“This includes potential new markets and funding,’’ said Moses Alobo, Grand Challenges Africa programme manager.

Innovation is a risky affair that requires long-term investment and whose results are not always immediate.

“This is the reason we at Grand Challenges Africa are providing this as a sustainable and long-term funding strategy for research and innovations,’’ he added.

Alobo said the platform connects African innovators to industry, angel investors and venture capitalists, who can provide the financing required to commercialise ideas.

The World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) said that underfunding is to blame for a partly 0.6 per cent of African innovation that is scaled up to commercial level.

Alobo said that a robust partnership between African research institutions and industry is key to unlocking financing required to commercialise innovation and ensure they offer solutions to endemic challenges of poverty, disease, hunger and malnutrition.

He said the launch of the new platform to link African innovators with potential financiers was informed by a survey conducted in 2018, which indicated that access to capital will enhance their capacity to transform societies in diverse areas like maternal health, nutrition and clean energy.

“The innovators, however, identified limited entrepreneurial capacity, poor funding, unfavourable regulatory policies and lack of access to markets as major setbacks,’’ Alobo said.

Laud Anthony Basing, an innovator from Ghana, said the new platform will promote collaboration among his counterparts from the rest of the continent and share expertise on commercialising ideas than can make a positive impact on local communities.

“This is a game-changer for the innovation space and will be crucial in ensuring that our ideas get the support they need to make it to market and to impact African lives,’’ Basing said. (Xinhua/NAN)