My belief that Africa’s future lies in its ability to innovate according to its socio-economic needs led to the founding of the African Innovation Foundation (AIF) back in 2009. Our aim is to unleash Africa’s dormant potential and support sustainable projects that improve the lives and the future of people in Africa.
In 2011, we took the AIF to the next level by launching the Innovation Prize for Africa (IPA), together with the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA). Later, we launched the African Law Library and Social Impact Program. All AIF programs focus on innovative solutions that unlock African potential.
Innovation Prize for Africa
The Innovation Prize for Africa was founded in on the understanding that the best solutions to the daily challenges Africans face can and will come from Africans themselves. I truly believe that African entrepreneurs have tremendous innovation acumen and entrepreneurship ideas but they are often let down by the lack of an innovation ecosystem to support their ideas.
Through the IPA, we aim to fill this gap to an extent by identifying and rewarding innovative business ideas that have lasting economic and social impact. Year after year, the innovations that are presented for the IPA comprise of high-value African solutions with positive socio-economic impact.
The IPA focuses specifically on technological breakthroughs in the manufacturing and service industries, healthcare, agriculture and agribusiness, environment, energy and water and ICTs.
For me, one of the biggest achievements of the IPA was in 2012, when the African Union (AU) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), who was then our partner, passed a resolution to promote innovation-based societies across Africa. As a result many African nations are now investing in innovation.
“Innovation and knowledge-sharing are catalysts for economic growth and prosperity in Africa”
African Law Library
The African Law Library (ALL), which launched in 2012 to help Africans access legal data freely and to understand their rights, has an interesting story behind it. I founded the ALL as a direct result of a personal experience I encountered when I bought some land in Africa. An old soba from Cabinda was quick to point out that the land still would not belong to me as long as I had not performed the traditional rites to assign ownership...even though I had followed all the necessary administrative and legal procedures.
We eventually went to the village to offer food and wine to the ancestors. With the mediation of an elderly local wise man, I performed the necessary traditional rites and was only then allowed to own the land.
So the ALL was created as an online portal that would bring these parallel legal realities under one hub, which Africans could easily access. Today the ALL contains thousands of legal documents ranging from legislations, acts, court rulings, and customary laws in various languages from many African nations, as well as a host of secondary sources including legal commentaries, journals, dissertations, books and articles.