Africa, The Next Pillar of Innovation

Last November 18-22 the Africa Industrialization Week (AIW) was celebrated with the theme, “Positioning African Industry to supply the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AFCTA) Market”.

Heightening awareness, enhancing synergies

Events that aim to raise global awareness on the continent’s progress and challenges in industrialization was held throughout the entire week. There were meetings, training, forums, startup fairs, and symposiums to register in.

With these events, AU hopes that they can enhance the synergies between the public and private sectors for the industrialization of the continent.

The African Union (AU) specified five key objectives for AIW 2019:

  • To mobilize African and world leaders to advocate for an accelerated, sustainable, and inclusive industrialization in Africa.
  • Promotion of startups and other enterprises to strengthen Africa’s capacity to integrate into global production and world trade
  • To serve as a platform for public-private engagements to generate ideas concerning Africa’s industrialization agenda.
  • To promote the implementation of AU continental frameworks.
  • To develop a strategy for the continent’s automotive value chain to catalyze industrialization.

A need for industrialization

According to Bloomberg, extreme poverty is quickly engulfing Africa because of its quickly growing population.

Another key reason for this accelerating domination of poverty is Africa lagging behind when it comes to industrialization — something which has resulted from its history of unstable governments as well as the legacy of colonialism.

With this, we can see that there is a huge need for industrialization given that it is the key to fast-track Africa’s progress towards material security.

How can Africa drive sustainable growth? In an interview with McKinsey senior partners Acha Leke and Georges Devaux, they identified four elements which can serve as a leverage for Africa to succeed in industrialization and developing a strong business strategy:


Call for unity

According to the World Economic Forum (WEF), Africa is undergoing a tech revolution, with more than 400 tech hubs currently in operation in the continent as of this year:


However, WEF has pointed out that much of the growth that the country is experiencing in the tech sector is fragmented, with some countries enjoying more growth than others.

WEF proposed that Africa should further develop these tech clusters cohesively so that the already fast growth of Africa will be supercharged.

In line with this premise, Leke said, “For us to really grow as a continent, we need one big economic community for us to be able to speak to a China or speak to an India.”

Now more than ever is there a need for Africans to unite as a continent in order to create a strong front in facing the global market.

This way, not only will Africa be able to liberate itself from the issue of extreme poverty — it can position itself as a new pillar of innovation for the world to behold.

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