Africa is increasingly becoming a key player in acquiring, generating and applying knowledge to development challenges. Yet more needs to be done to make technology and innovation play its part in the quest for transformation and diversification of the African economies. Sustained support to help member States put in place a favorable technology transfer and innovation development environment to address member states pressing needs is required. The drive is to promote the growth of knowledge based economies for the African continent.
As part of providing leadership and coordination in the sustainable development of the continent’s Animal Resources, AU-IBAR is implementing a 5-year project on "Sustainable Development of Livestock for Livelihoods in Africa - Live2Africa". The Live2Africa project gives effect to the Livestock development strategy for Africa (LiDeSA) and is aligned with Agenda 2063 development goals. One of the key project’s focus areas is to enhance innovation development, generation and utilization of technologies, capacities and entrepreneurship skills of livestock value chain actors. Thus, the project seeks to establish Regional Technology and innovation incubation hubs in Africa (A-TiChubs). The impetus of the A-TiChubs creation is to provide creative spaces, infrastructural services, mentorship, intellectual property management, access to financial resources and networking opportunities for technology innovators, technology accelerators, agribusiness entrepreneurs, and technology entrepreneurs. The vision is that the A-Tichubs will be the centerpiece of revolutionizing technology, innovation, skills and promoting knowledge-based economies in the African livestock sector.
In light of this, a write-shop "Development of business model for the establishment of regional Technology and Innovation Incubation hubs in Africa (A-TiChubs)" was convened by AU-IBAR from 19th – 22nd November 2018 in Arusha, Tanzania. The consultative workshop was attended by a total of 35 participants who were drawn from selected Member States, Universities, Private sector, regional and International organizations amongst other key stakeholders. The meeting was officially opened by the Director of Veterinary Services, Professor Hezron Nonga.
The overall objective of the writeshop was to develop a draft business model for the establishment of regional Technology and Innovation Incubation hubs in Africa (A-TiChubs) with specific emphasis on; mapping the technology and innovation ecosystems, identifying key partners and stakeholders, formulating guiding principles on functionality and administration of the A-TiChubs as well as formulating step-wise strategic options to guide commercialization and skill transfer of novel technologies for the Animal resources sector.
The writeshop’s success was attributed to the exemplary participation and well-thought-out contributions of the participants. The outcomes realized included development of four draft business models with various value propositions such as supporting Intellectual property rights (IPR) acquisition, offering mentorship programs, pitching and business skills training, investor identification, partnership development amongst others. An administrative structure was proposed with AU-IBAR as the governing body supported by the African technology and innovations incubators advisory committee (ATIIAC).The proposed committee will undertake the following functions; overseeing of incubatees selection, ensuring quality assurance, technical backstopping, mentorship and knowledge management. The writeshop also identified a vast array of potential host institutions and key stakeholders of the A-TiChubs. The participants also recommended the formation of the African TiChub working group (ATWIG) to function as the think tank for the A-TiChub dynamic business model.
In conclusion, the participants unanimously agreed that a hybrid continental business model should be coined based on the four draft business models developed for the A-TiChubs. They also reiterated their commitment to support and ensure the realization of this noble cause that will take Africa to greater heights in terms of promoting technology and innovation based economies in the Animal Resources sector.