Sunday 8 December 2019
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GBF 2019: Dubai, Africa collaborate on innovation

Political and business leaders on Tuesday lauded innovation as an important driver of growth as the 2019 Global Business Forum comes to an end in Dubai. African and Emirati leaders agreed that both sides need to take advantage of the rise in technology to further open up space for innovators, for the continent to realize its dream of becoming the next big growth and investment frontier. “We have introduced innovation hubs where talented students in institutions of higher learning are allowed to develop their talents at these hubs. If they succeed, the next step is that each university has an industrial park to develop whatever innovations they have and once it is successful, we now commercialize it,” said Emmerson Mnangagwa, Zimbabwe President. African startups have also been identified as critical elements for jo b creation. In Uganda, innovators are helping to foster inclusion and to improve public service delivery. “The president has just set up a ministry of science, technology, and innovation and it is getting substantial resources. And an innovation fund for ICT areas has also been put in place and some money to support startups in the IT sector is already being given to help young people develop their various innovations and to become entrepreneurs,”Prime Minister of Uganda, Ruhakana Rugunda explained. The growth of the internet is powering a digital revolution in Africa. But innovators say governments need to offer more support. “So if in Africa, the local chambers of commerce or governments could put in place market access programs similar to what Dubai is doing, then you would have startups access larger organizations that they might think don’t need their services but actually the moment you listen to these big organizations, you realize that you are actually what they need” said Assia Riccio, Founder, Evolvin. The year’s Global Business Forum ends with a lot of optimism about Africa. And With a free trade agreement in place, and political and business reforms, growth and investment are expected to flow steadily.

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