, NAIROBI, Kenya, May 28 – This year’s Open Innovation Africa summit kicked off on Monday in Nairobi with many speakers urging for increase in funding towards innovation projects in Africa.
Officially opening the summit, Information Permanent Secretary Bitange Ndemo however said there was need for all innovators especially in the technology sector to be trained on basic entrepreneurship skills before being funded.
He said most of the young innovators come up with great ideas but do not know how much money they need hence apply for less funding or end up getting over funded and misuse the money.
“We must get to that level where our youth understand the basics in business so that we can have sustainable funding in the days to come. And we must deal with it to make this market attractive, “said Ndemo.
At the same time InfoDev programme manager Valerie D’Costa called on banks especially in East Africa to consider extending credit to young innovators.
She said most of the banks especially in East Africa continue to ignore this area, as most of the innovators have no collateral to take loans.
“Without open innovation enabling business environment and seamless collaboration, creation of new innovative enterprises and locally relevant solutions becomes incredibly challenging, “said D’Costa.
InfoDev, which is a technology, entrepreneurship and innovation program in the World Bank, plans to start a financing facility in the next six to nine months, to finance young innovators in Africa.
This year’s summit, themed, ‘Leadership in Innovation’, brings the spotlight on the leadership required to drive acceleration of African entrepreneurship and innovation in order to achieve ambitious targets for social economic development across the continent.
The three-day summit, organized by the World Bank and Nokia, has attracted over 200 top policy makers, developers and entrepreneurs various countries in Africa.