In the beautiful gold coast of west Africa, Accra, Ghana, AfriLabs: the Pan-African network of about 40 technology and innovation hubs across 20 African countries brought the crème of the crop of the African tech ecosystem together for the biggest gathering of technology and innovation in Africa.
This event held at the Alliance Francaise centre at the heart of Accra for 3 days, from the 25th – 27th of October 2016. It was sponsored by Making All Voices Count (MAVC) and Microsoft 4Afrika. Not only were the sponsors and partners like Andela, Venture Capitalists for Africa (VC4A), United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) well represented by most of the member hubs as well from countries like Tanzania, Eygpt, Kenya, Nigeria, Cameroun, Ghana, Senegal to name a few.
This 3 day conference consisted of Keynote addresses from sponsors and stakeholders, Master classes, Panel sessions, Showcase & pitch sessions by start-ups and networking opportunities for all participants.
The Panel sessions were highly interactive and treated topics relating to Women empowerment in entrepreneurship, Collaboration of Academia and innovation for social change, strengthening of hubs as institutions for open societies, The role of government in the growth of innovation hubs & start-ups and Technology as a tool for social and economic change.
The Master classes treated topics relevant to the growth of startups and innovation hubs like: Monitoring & Evaluation of business activities, Business leadership and strategy, Communication and leadership skills & Business model canvas.
‘’To build a vibrant eco-system, we need to put together the stakeholders. We need the government, academia, policy makers and developmental agencies for the successful growth of the ecosystem’’- Bankole Oloruntoba (Founder of NiNe & Panel Speaker). As the saying goes; It takes a village to raise a child, so it was agreed that it would take a collaborative effort from all these stakeholders to grow the African tech ecosystem.
During the Annual Gathering, an initiative called the Manjaro Virtual Learning Platform (VLP) was also unveiled. This was created based on the InfoDev curriculum, a global program designed by the World Bank for hub managers. This platform provides virtual learning training for hubs, start-ups and people interested in innovation. This is part of AfriLabs’ effort to make Africa a better place so that we can leave our mark on the world through technology and innovation in areas of Agriculture, Finances, Health care, Education, and Media.