COVID-19 has led to severe socioeconomic consequences in Africa, and the pandemic is far from over. Even as countries continue to prioritize the immediate health and safety of citizens, government leaders and development partners are focused on Africa’s economic recovery. A strong and sustainable rebound after the crisis ends is critical to recapturing lost gains and keeping Africa on a transformation track.
In this way, innovation lies at the heart of Africa’s recovery. Digital technologies, for example, are helping to mitigate economics losses across sectors by creating new jobs, diversifying production, boosting productivity, increasing access to finance and revolutionizing health care. Through the effective use of big data, artificial intelligence, e-commerce and more, African countries can emerge from the pandemic with more resilient economies, stronger public health systems and more inclusive and equitable societies.
In this special essay series, policy experts and researchers from ACET and the Development and Economic Growth Research Programme (DEGRP), in partnership with ODI, explore the critical role of innovation in Africa’s recovery from COVID-19. Essays will look at innovation from a thematic perspective, identify areas in which innovation can contribute to effective responses and offer high-level policy recommendations.
The series will feature approximately 12 essays, published between March-August 2021.
A strong recovery from COVID-19 in Africa starts by supporting innovation and economic transformation. Without transformation, a growth recovery will not be sustained or resilient to future shocks.
To help ensure a resilient, post-COVID-19 recovery in lower-income countries, the development community should actively introduce global digital industrial policies to bridge the digital divides.
The pandemic has changed the prospects for innovation in agriculture. So governments should act to support farmers and businesses through investments in goods and services and knowledge sharing.
Climate-smart agriculture offers an opportunity to speed up economic recovery in Africa and put economies back on a trajectory for sustained growth and transformation.
The pandemic has highlighted the importance of innovation and the digital economy in Africa, but the continent does not yet have comprehensive policies and systems. The EU can serve as a model.
African countries can harness the potential of financial technology to increase financial inclusion and reduce long-standing inequalities exacerbated by COVID-19.
Knowledge and technology transfers between Chinese and African firms could be a key contributor to Africa’s post-pandemic recovery. But challenges stand in the way.
Sectors such as light manufacturing are crucial for the economic transformation of many countries. And they have been hit particularly hard by the pandemic. How do they recover––and survive?
To overcome major global challenges such as COVID-19, serious efforts are needed to diffuse innovations and build technological capacity in low and middle-income countries.
With underfunded and ill-equipped health care systems across the continent forced to adapt to COVID-19, Sub-Saharan Africa has become a booming region for digital health innovation.
In creating recovery strategies, African governments have an opportunity to employ a systems approach to research, science, and innovation–and put themselves in a better position to achieve the SDGs.
Innovation is vital to economic transformation. However, most African countries are in need of agile frameworks that allow innovators to rapidly develop and deploy homegrown solutions.
Digital technologies offer African economies an important pathway to recover lost GDP and generate jobs, but countries need to take a proactive approach and close digital divides.
The pandemic has intensified the need for Africa to improve its digital connectivity and use technological innovation to protect jobs and preserve continuity of education for its youth.
Large-scale enterprises have resorted to cutting-edge technologies, digital products and platforms to accelerate innovation during the pandemic. SMEs need support to catch up.
About the Series
Policy experts and researchers from the African Center for Economic Transformation (ACET) and the Development and Economic Growth Research Programme (DEGRP), in partnership with ODI, explore the critical role of innovation in Africa’s recovery from COVID-19. Essays identify areas in which innovation can contribute to effective responses and offer high-level policy recommendations.
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