John Churu and Toby Shapshak

By John Churu, Gaborone, Botswana

The African Innovation Foundation (IAF) has launched its first book, SEED, to mark the organisation’s ten year existence. In an interview with Biztechafrica, the book’s editor and publisher, Toby Shapshak, said the book is meant to speak on behalf of the AIF and all things innovative, for Africa and by Africans.

“This book celebrates African innovation, which I define as solving real problems,” Shapshak said. "Africa practices real innovation: innovation out of neccessity which is meaningful. It showcases the history of the AIF and examines a whole bunch of themes and gives advice on how countries can reboot African creativity.”

He said by showcasing the history in Africa, the book would inspire young innovators to go the extra mile. “Africa has been innovating from the time of the pyramids. Mummification is extraordinary, that’s innovation,” he told Biztechafrica.

As for the contributors to the book, Shapshak said their backgrounds and diversity made the book more appealing. “The contributors are very diverse, from various fields and different countries, all showcasing how innovation has prospered Africa. A better quality of life is all what people want in general. Innovative thinking enables smarter companies who in turn create jobs for people living on the continent.”

The lead publisher, Jean Claude Bastos de Morais, worked with the African Innovation Foundation to create the book. He told Biztechafrica that the book was all about “the AIF big family. We really believe that innovation comes in the way that we interact as people. Pauline Mujawamariya Koelbel was the first one who triggered the idea.”

The book and the title reflect the spirit of Africa, the foundation is giving back to Africa through the Seed. “This book is more than being a book; it’s a story line. We want to continue to spread the seed around and everyone is invited to spread the seeds around,” he said.

The book was edited by Toby Shapshak and Aurola Suerga Stally in collaboration with Jon Tullet. The creative direction and design was done by Justin Plunkett. Contributors to the book come from all over Africa, including our very own Tigele Mokobi from the BIH. According to the Botswana Innovation Hub’s CEO Allan Boshwaen: “the launch of the book enables us to form collaborations with all of these leaders who have given us direction.” 


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