First Lady Rebecca Akufo-Addo has urged all Africans to help create and promote innovation in communities in a bid to solve real and difficult challenges facing the continent and its people.
The First Lady made this call on Monday while addressing the Africa Innovation Foundation (AIF)’s 2017 Innovation Prize for Africa (IPA) taking place in Accra.
The two-day programme is to celebrate the best of African innovation.
In her address, the First Lady said that “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 tell our story and support those who through their innovation and creativity drive economic growth,” further encouraging 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 to offer mentorship and coaching tools to up and coming innovators, encourage competitiveness that allows the unleashing of creative solutions to society’s challenges, needs and aspirations as well as work together to tell our own stories effectively.
She indicated that Ghana as a country is committed to putting innovation at the core of the national agenda knowing that to succeed one has 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 ten IPA nominees for this year especially the four women among them, noting that their inclusion is a “proof that ingenuity and creativity is not limited to any gender,” affirming that “there is truly no limit for the determined African woman.”
She emphasized that as a continent, it is pertinent that Africa “creates 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.