[SE31-CCT] Building Bridges Among Global High-Tech Hubs in the African Context

DAY 3 – Thursday 28 June – 10:45-12:15

Swiss Tech | Room 3C | Level Garden 
Session Leader
Reymound Yaw Buckman
Airbus BizLab, a Global Aerospace Accelerator
Rey leads Airbus BizLab Hamburg, where he promotes inclusive innovation and industrialisation within the organization as well as globally. Recently, he designed and launched the #africa4future initiative. Prior to setting up the innovation accelerator for Airbus in Hamburg, Rey worked on two digital health startups. Rey holds a CEMS Masters in International Management; he has studied and worked in Ghana and Brazil.
Ifeoma Malo
Clean Technology Hub, Nigeria
Ify Malo is the CEO of Clean Tech Hub and the Energy Innovation Center, Abuja; an incubator for new ideas and technologies, and business models specifically in the Renewable Energy and Clean Technology space in Nigeria. She is also the Country Campaign Director for Power For All in Nigeria. She leads the Nigerian campaign to promote distributed renewable energy in Nigeria and is one of the country’s leading energy access experts. Ify’s experience is cross-cutting across senior government and policy level positions; on issues around Energy Access; Gender Poverty; Climate Change: Tech and Innovation; Project Design and Strategy; Stakeholder partnership initiatives and Gender Mainstreaming. She has consulted for the European Union; DFID, USAID, World Bank; FHI 360, GOGLA, Practical Action; MHW Global; WoMIN amongst many other
The population of Sub-Saharan Africa is estimated to be 1.4 billion by 2030. The choice to develop applications of advanced technologies, such as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) for transport and mobility, satellite operationsand imagery for smart sensor telecommunications and earth observation as well as clean energy solutions will decide, if these societies will succeed or fail.
Currently, these technologies are mainly proprietary to a few multinationals or government agencies in the Global North. However, several African countries have renewed interest in launching projects to drive technological and economic development. In parallel, the World’s Bank mapping of tech hubs showed that these spaces have soared from 117 in 2015 to 173 in 2016. 
In 2016 Airbus BizLab, a Global Aerospace Accelerator launched the #africa4future initiative inviting aerospace entrepreneurs to participate in a challenge. The proposals revealed strong talent and promising ideas in Southern and Eastern Africa. Yet, the advanced tech ecosystem has the opportunity to improve its readiness to support the next generation of initiatives by combining digital development with high-tech hardware capabilities.
This breakout session will critically discuss opportunities and challenges to build bridges among high-tech hubs in the African context that enable solutions for humanitarian action, medical technologies, disaster risk reduction, and sustainable cities.
Panelists and Abstracts
(in alphabetical order)
Digital Innovation in Public Service Delivery and Social Sectors in Africa
Geraldine de Bastion1
1Global Innovation Gathering
Presenting author’s email address: Geraldine@globalinnovationgathering.org
Biography of Presenting Author: Geraldine de Bastion is an expert on information and communication technology and new media. She is founder of the international NGO Global Innovation Gathering and of the consulting agency Konnetiv GmbH. In addition, she is currently working for Heinrich Boell Foundation as Global Digital Policy Advisor. She also works as a free curator and moderator for republica, Germany’s leading event on digitization and society and is a regular speaker and moderator on digital development and digital rights topics at international events.
Many digital business models try to improve existing services with innovative solutions. This includes public services, e.g. in health or education. For example, the award-winning Startup Dext produces kits for science classes. The education budget in Ghana is spent almost exclusively for honoraria, leaving little money for materials. Most children learn about science only in theory. Dext kits follow the upper school curriculum and include hands-on experiments for all lessons. Dext’s goal is for every child to get one of the kits. The Kenyan start-up flare is a kind of Uber for ambulances. Since there is no central emergency number, this private enterprise tries to cover the supply gap. Flare is one of many startups whos business model consists of providing or improving faulty or missing government services through privatization. How can startups help pass public service bottlenecks or improve performance without shifting public ownership into private hands?
Building Bridges among High-Tech Hubs in the African Context – Learnings from the Digital Healthcare Ecosystem in Africa
Karina Faßbender1
1Copenhagen Business School, Copenhagen, Denmark
Presenting author’s email address: kafa17ac@student.cbs.dk
Biography of Presenting Author: Karina Faßbender is a Master of Science student in Business and Development Studies at Copenhagen Business School. Prior to her studies, she set-up and led the Merck Accelerator Africa based in Nairobi, Kenya and initiated and coordinated other ecosystem building initiatives such as monthly digital healthcare events. She is passionate about tech entrepreneurship and innovation in Africa and dedicated to contributing to this field in her work.
This contribution presents learnings from a case study examining the set-up of the digital healthcare ecosystem in East Africa and Africa in the period between 2015 and 2017. Main learnings are the importance of collaboration, diversified financial and technical support, long-term commitment and local and regional connectedness of various stakeholders interested in driving high-tech ventures and the ecosystem forward in Africa. These learnings can be taken to develop strategies to build bridges between high-tech hubs in Africa in a broader context. 
Using Aerial Robotics to Explore How Africa’s Arable Farming can be Re-imagined.
Ndubisi Arinze-Eze1, Ugochi Nwoga2
1Pan-Atlantic University, Lagos Nigeria, UWE, Bristol UK
2Kellogg’s Business School Northwestern University, Penn State University, USA
Presenting author’s email address: arinze.eze@amintegrated.org
Biography of Presenting Author: After 21years aviation experience in Canada, US and the UK with an MSc Aerospace Engineering, Ndubisi returned to Africa to launch his first air-taxi fleet in 2014. The ambitious goal met an early demise because there was no market for it. However, having boots-on-ground, he learnt how his patent could impact lives in the field of agriculture. This pivot generates revenue today while shaving off tons in Research and Development costs for a future revisit to his air taxi aspirations.
 Nigeria where rice, maize, yam, cassava, and sorghum are some of the various staple crops grown, much like the rest of sub-Saharan Africa, only a fraction of the arable land is currently utilized (World Bank, 2017). Primitive tools, unsuitable business structure in distribution, finance, supplier access and more have continued to impinge on any true success in the sector. We have learnt that subsistence farmers care little about new technologies or skillsets but understandably care a great deal about increase in crop yield (Laajaj and Macours, 2016). Africa’s food security remains threatened by poor yield (FAO, 2016). Numerous articles published in peer-review suggests the continent needs intensification in its agriculture mechanization for food sustainability (Sims, Hilmi and Kienzle, 2016). We are adding to the research via a mixed methodology on semi-automated arable farming with aerial robotics at the center of our revolutionary platform specifically tailored to increase crop yield in Africa today into 2050.