The African Union, Scientific, Technical and Research Commission (AU-STRC) as a specialized institution of the AU; has one of its flagship initiatives - “CAPACITY BUILDING INITIATIVE ON INCLUSIVE /COMMUNITY-BASED INNOVATION FOR AU MEMBER STATES”. An Inclusive Innovation is any innovation that leads to affordable access to quality goods and services for the poor on a sustainable basis, serves a real need, effective and with extensive outreach. While Community-based innovation is innovation driven by community needs where research institutions are more informed about their local community needs and design efficient solutions to resolve these challenges. STI development in Africa must be people-centered, affordable and tailored to meet the needs of our indigenous/rural communities.
The Capacity Building Initiative on Inclusive/Community-Based Innovation for AU Member States” has been developed to bring together various stakeholders from Member States to enhance their professionalism and equip them with requisite skills to boost Africa’s competitive advantage both locally and in the global market. Recalling that “Building Professional and Technical Competencies” is a pillar of STISA 2024 and its policy analysis recommended building of institutional capacities and promotion of professionalism.
This Initiative therefore seeks to change the landscape of research in Africa to be focused on community needs and market-driven innovation. It seeks to bring stakeholders’ urgent attention to the importance of inclusive and community-based innovation in Africa. Considering that the people at the grassroots constitute the majority percentage of the population and potential consumers, hence, a greatly untapped resource/source of income.
Also, this Initiative seeks to create and establish the needed trilateral connection among African scientists, industrialists and financial institutions. STI solutions and inventions by African scientists require quality investment from industrialists to scale-up to commercial levels. Whereas, African financial institutions play a major role in enabling access to needed funding mechanisms for scientists and researchers.
The Initiative will train stakeholders from Member States who are at the front burner of implementation and integration of continental policies to fully grasp the essence and benefits of effectively exploring inclusive and community-based innovation in Africa. The stakeholders identified are Vice-Chancellors of African universities, heads of African research institutions, parliamentarians, African scientists, African industrialists, financial institutions and private sector; to be also trained on the potentials embedded in the sector for Africa’s socio-economic prosperity. The AU-STRC will work with the support from the Department of Trade & Industry of the AUC and other partners.