AIF Founder Jean-Claude Bastos de Morais meeting with H.E. President Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo-Addo

By Nana Appiah Acquaye, Accra, Ghana

Ghana’s President H.E. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, is expected to grace this year’s Innovation Prize for Africa Award ceremony as the speaker of the keynote address. The event, which is organised by the African Innovation Foundation (AIF) in collaboration with the Government of Ghana, represented by the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI), Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC), and Ghana 60 Years On Planning Committee is scheduled for the month of July 2017 in Accra.

According to a statement available to Biztechafrica, the decision to host IPA in Ghana received the highest endorsement from H.E. President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the President of Ghana. 

“Ghana’s selection as host country for IPA 2017 comes as a result of its commitment towards consolidating a thriving national innovation ecosystem. In its 60 years of independence, Ghana has been an example of progressive successes that have made the country and its advancements marketable and well respected globally. With the presence of world class accelerators and incubators, Ghana in recent years has become a noted sub regional hub for excellence in innovation. The Ghanaian technology and innovation ecosystem, led by a new generation of change-makers has received much international and local acclaim, making Ghana the ideal host country for IPA 2017,” the statement said.

It quoted the Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI), Professor Kwabena Frimpong Boateng as saying: “Ghana is open for business and brimming with an ecosystem of young talent that is already being tapped into.  We thank the AIF for selecting Ghana to host the IPA 2017 event and use its platform to showcase Ghana’s innovative aspirations to the global community. We are committed to building a knowledge economy, and providing platforms such as IPA to our youth to encourage them to play their role in innovatively creating solutions to African challenges. As we celebrate the 60-year anniversary of our independence, we are looking forward and committed to putting innovation at the core of our national agenda, not only to meet Ghanaian and African challenges, but also to provide home-grown innovations that will become competitive globally.”

As it celebrates its 6th year milestone with the theme, “African Innovation: Investing in Prosperity”, IPA 2017 promises to provide an unprecedented platform for African innovators and innovation enablers to network, share knowledge, explore business opportunities and boost collaboration.

The Founder, African Innovation Foundation, Jean-Claude Bastos de Morais,  noted that Ghana has one of the most established National Innovative Systems (NIS) for Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) in the West Africa sub-region. “During my recent meeting with H.E. President Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo-Addo, he highlighted his commitment in transforming Ghana into a knowledge economy and the importance of ICT in achieving the country’s objective of diversified economic growth. Ghana’s corporate and business communities are also committed towards supporting efforts that raise the nation’s technology and innovation profile – and with good reason. By enabling entrepreneurs and innovators to test and scale new inventions and technologies, home grown business solutions can help the country build resilience and secure its future prosperity,” the statement added.

AIF, with its vision to increase the prosperity of Africans by catalyzing the innovation spirit in Africa, has over the years offered avenues of opportunity, growth and exposure to Africa’s next generation of innovators.  The IPA is a landmark program of the AIF which has since its inception attracted more than 6000 innovators from 52 African countries, making it a truly pan-African initiative.

Commenting on the IPA process and achievements, the IPA Director Ms. Pauline Mujawamariya Koelbl stated: “IPA has been growing stronger each year and not only the number of applicants continues to increase, but the quality of applications too. The IPA 2017 edition attracted more than 2530 respondents from 48 African countries; a strong indication of the creative potential that exists in Africa. Our goal is to unleash such potential. Our impact already speaks volume as we count approximately US$ 22 million investment value generated for IPA winners and nominees.”

The 2017 edition call for applications ran from 27 September 2016 through to 3 January 2017 and  proposed innovations showcased African ingenuity in the following five key categories: Agriculture and Agri-business; Environment, Energy and Water; Health and Well-being; ICTs; and Manufacturing and Service Industries. An expert panel of judges will carefully select Africa’s new crop of innovators through a rigorous, transparent process of critique, validation, interview and consensus.

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