AfricaScience & Tech

ECA’s Origin Initiative to Back Innovation Labs in East Africa

An Origin Initiative for East Africa has been launched by the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) in a bid to provide guidance for implementing original research and innovation labs for entrepreneurial universities in the region.

“The initiative will focus on inspiring and accommodating passionate and brilliant individuals from different disciplines who wish to invent the future,” said Prof Ndirangu Kioni the Vice-Chancellor of Kenya’s Dedan Kimathi Tech University.

First Introduced by former ECA executive secretary Vera Songwe, the initiative was launched at African Science, Technology, and Innovation Forum 2023 in Niamey, Niger, on Monday.

Songwe used the term “Origin” stating that since problems in any location start at their source, the solutions should also be developed in that same location by understanding the problem’s nature and context.

“Consequently, unique issues necessitate creative solutions that are based on the region’s culture and values,” ECA says in a statement.

Victor Konde, a Scientific Affairs Officer at ECA, described the Origin initiative as a place where people come to innovate and solve human problems.

The physical hub is expected to be open to solving human problems, with a focus on the start-up workspace, consultant recruitment, ICT platform, partners in research, and financial institutions.

It will work in three core areas that include inventing, co-creating/co-innovation, and solving complex problems for Africa, with a focus on Agri-tech, Information and Communication Technology (ICT), and Design.

The initiative will also utilize Metaverse, an application that offers possibilities and advantages to identify key local and global challenges and respond to them.

By adopting Metaverse, ECA says Origin intends to address energy and climate change issues, contribute to the attainment of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and generate up to $5 trillion in value by 2030.