i4Policy, a pan-African community of over 160 innovation hubs in 45 countries across Africa, has launched a continental consultation to shape the next version of the Africa Innovation Policy Manifesto.
i4Policy emerged from a gathering of innovation hubs from across Africa, organised in Kigali, Rwanda in October 2016, and in May 2018 a group of 49 innovation community leaders from 25 countries gathered again in Kigali to co-create a manifesto of innovation policies for the continent – the Africa Innovation Policy Manifesto.
The manifesto has created opportunities for policy reform at the national level in 11 countries, including Rwanda’s Private Sector Development and Youth Employment Strategy, and the Startup Act recently passed in Senegal. It has also influenced important continental policy documents, such as the EU-AU Digital Economy Task Force report on a new Africa-Europe Partnership, and the draft African Union Digital Transformation Strategy 2020-2030.
Given the growth of the i4Policy community and its increasing influence on national and regional policy processes, the movement recently recruited a taskforce of 21 members from 20 countries to conduct a revision of the manifesto. The taskforce has produced a working draft that has been shared for consultation at a continental level. The consultation will involve entrepreneurs and innovators from across the continent to revise the draft and create the next version of the manifesto – the Africa Innovation Policy Manifesto 2.0.
The Innovation for Policy Foundation – a not-for-profit organisation established to sustain i4Policy’s activities – has built an open online consultation platform to gather feedback on the manifesto. The foundation has partnered with Facebook to build chatbot tools to be integrated into social media platforms, enabling even more people to provide their input. In parallel, i4Policy will mobilise hubs in at least 45 countries to host focus groups on the manifesto with their communities of entrepreneurs.
Between February and March 2020, the consultation on the Africa Innovation Policy Manifesto 2.0 will engage more than 10,000 individuals on the online platform and reach over one million people through the mobilisation of hubs and innovation ecosystems.