EU supports innovation hubs in Africa

THE European Union has dished out 2.0 million euros to support AfriConEU programme and strengthen existing Digital Innovation Hubs (DIH) in Africa.

The money will support research and innovation, to create the first trans-continental networking academy to support African and European digital innovation hubs for skills development.

The three years programme will also empower and enable African DIHs to better serve their local industries, boost their start-up ecosystem and empower the youth population with the necessary skills to thrive in a digitalised world.

The funds provided through the AfriConEU project, will be envisioned to create  and facilitate the collaboration between European Union (EU) and African DIHs, for them to  generate innovative project ideas and refine them using ideation techniques such as brainstorming and world cafe.

EU Delegation, Programme Manager, Mr Jose Gonzalez, said on Tuesday during a Buni Innovation Hub and AfriConEU three-day boot camp workshop, that the aim is to create the first trans-continental networking academy for African and European DIH to strengthen a common EU-Africa innovation and start-ups ecosystem.

“The AfriConEU project envisions essentially strengthening and reinforcing the digital innovation ecosystems in Africa by targeting existing DIHs and supporting them through capacity building and networking activities,” said Mr Gonzalez.

African DIHs are playing a central role in the development of digital entrepreneurship and by raising their capacities to tackle the challenges they face and will be more effective in driving digital innovation forward.

Mr Gonzalez said in order to achieve its mission the AfriConEU project will connect DIHs from Tanzania, Uganda, Ghana and Nigeria with DIHs from Europe with the aim to facilitate knowledge and experience sharing.

“We will also drive the development of mutually beneficial partnerships and support the creation of collective projects for boosting the digital economy, empowering youth and fostering innovation and growth,” he said.

The project will develop, test, and validate the AfriConEU Networking Academy, an innovative mechanism for connecting and sharing best practices and experiences.

“We will develop resources between DIHs in Africa and the EU in a comprehensive, replicable and self-sustaining way,” he said.

AfriConEU Dissemination Manager Ms Marilena Maragkou said the DIHs will receive valuable insights on European investment and how it can benefit African start-ups.

“The first flagship programme of the AfriConEU Networking Academy is dedicated to capacity building for reinforcing the role of African DIHs as innovation intermediaries matching demand and offer of digital services and technologies and supporting digital entrepreneurs,” she said.

The Tanzania Commission for Science and Technology (COSTECH), Director General, Dr Amos Nungu, said the AfriConEU boot camp aims to prepare a curriculum to teach youth about digital creativity.

The European countries include Greece, Portugal, United Kingdom (UK) and Italy while from African ones are Tanzania, Ghana, Uganda and Nigeria. AfriConEU is the first trans-continental networking academy for African and European DIHs.

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