Technological Innovation Development in Africa to Enhance Employability, Entrepreneurship and Job Creation (TIDE)
Project Duration: 2021-2023
Principal Investigator: Dr. Nicholas Ozor Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Grantor: African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank)
Grant Amount: US$ 500,000
The youth are Africa’s greatest asset. Africa’s youth population is rapidly growing and expected to double to over 830 million by 2050 (AfDB, 2016). If properly harnessed, this increase could support increased productivity and stronger, more inclusive economic growth. Unfortunately, majority of the youth do not have stable economic opportunities. Of Africa’s nearly 420 million youth aged 15-35, one-third are unemployed and discouraged, another third are vulnerably employed, and only one in six is in wage employment (AfDB, 2016). While 10 to 12 million youth enter the workforce each year, only 3.1 million jobs are created, leaving vast numbers of youth unemployed (Ibid). These conditions have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Addressing the youth unemployment challenges in Africa will require sustainable solutions that can be achieved through effective policy interventions and the strengthening of institutions. Unfortunately, Africa as a whole lacks robust policies and plans on science, technology and innovation (STI), which slows down its progress in attaining industrialization and economic development (Ozor, 2020). This is because policies and institutions embedded in STI development have shown to have the greatest potentials to accelerate job creation (African Union Commission, 2014). To make effective policies the use of evidence is paramount (Bowen & Zwi, 2005). Besides, there is no sufficient documentation of technological innovations especially by the youth and women that could be supported for commercialization.
It is against this backdrop that the TIDE project proposes to review the STI policy and institutional landscape/ecosystem in selected sub-Saharan African countries namely: Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Uganda and Zimbabwe; with a view to understanding their statuses, what works (successes), what doesn’t work (failures) and why (reasons for successes or failures). The findings and lessons learned from the three years research and intervention activities is aligned with the implementation of Afreximbank’s Private Sector Development Strategy.
Key Objectives and Activities
The specific objectives of the TIDE project are to:
- Conduct a review of the science, technology and innovation (STI) policy and institutional landscape in selected SSA countries with a view to understanding the statuses, what works, what doesn’t work and why;
- Undertake a stakeholder analyses and mapping along the countries’ priority technological innovation value chains with a view to understanding the key actors, their roles, linkages, contexts, capacities, interests, power and influence;
- Facilitate knowledge sharing and policy engagement among stakeholders with a view to developing a stakeholder engagement strategy/action plan within and among countries; and
Empower young graduate innovators/entrepreneurs through the TICA programme with a view to enabling them scale up their innovations, start new businesses, support livelihoods, and create more jobs in their communities.
Methodology and Work Packages
Work Package 1: Strategic Research Intervention (SRI): The TIDE SRI WP will focus on strategic research activities that will provide critical knowledge, baseline information, data and outputs that can feed into the Afreximbank’s private sector development strategy and the Impact 2021 Africa Transformed. Different methods will be used to accomplish the SRI including the reviews of grey literature and secondary data; online surveys; key informant interviews (KIIs); focus group discussions (FGDs); and case studies.
Work Package 2: Knowledge Sharing and Policy Engagement Intervention (KSPEI): The KSPEI WP will focus on creating innovative platforms among the stakeholders already mapped for sharing evidence-based knowledge, building partnerships for greater impacts, networking, learning, and dialogue. It will also focus on knowledge valorization to bring innovations to the marketplace. The KSPEI WP will also promote policy engagement sessions in selected countries to bridge the gaps between research, policy and practice (industry) towards the sustenance of STI development in Africa.
Work Package 3: Empowerment and Business Support Intervention (EBSI): The EBSI WP will focus on supporting at least five consortia of young technological innovators and entrepreneurs linked with research and higher education institutions (HEI) as well as the technical and vocational education and training (TVET) to scale up their innovations, sustain their livelihoods and create more jobs in their communities. Results from the stakeholder map will be useful in identifying suitable innovators/entrepreneurs for the proposed Technological Innovation Challenge Awards (TICA) programme.
- A deeper understanding of the science, technology and innovation (STI) policy and institutional landscape in selected SSA countries.
- Increased knowledge sharing and policy and stakeholder engagement.
- Empowered young graduate innovators/entrepreneurs through the TICA programme with a view to enabling them scale up their innovations, start new businesses, support livelihoods, and create more jobs
To be updated