Digital innovation has become an increasingly important driver for Africa’s social and economic development in past few years. Digital technologies are providing solutions to the region’s pressing social concerns while also opening diverse new business opportunities.

The AfriConEU is an Horizon 2020 project centered around building and improving the capacity of African and European Digital Innovation Hubs (DIHs) to foster digital growth and economic development through the establishment of a Trans-Continental Networking Academy for capacity building, information sharing, networking collaborations, joint projects, and venture development. This project would strengthen African DIHs’ ability to expedite the economy’s digital transformation.

AfriConEU is set to achieve this goal by developing, testing, and validating a mechanism to share learnings, best practices, experiences, and resources between DIHs in Africa and the European Union (EU) in a way that is aggregated, easy to understand, replicable and self-sustaining. This Networking Academy, envisioned to empower both African and European Innovation Ecosystem will build local industries, boost innovation ecosystems, support the scale-up of African start-ups and empower the youth population with the necessary skills to thrive in a digitalized world.

Implementation of the Academy will be through the creation of an online multi-actor community (the AfriConEU Community) to facilitate dialogue, experience sharing, and collaboration between stakeholders from both continents. Eleven Partners across both continents on the project includes; Inova+ Innovation Services, SA (Portugal), Emerging Communities Tech-Up Organization (Nigeria), Youthmakers Hub Astiki Mi Kerdoskopiki Etaireia (Greece), Associacao Porto Business School-U.Porto (Portugal), Outbox U Ltd (Uganda), Dpixel SRL (Italy), Stimmuli for Social Change (Greece), ITC-Inovacijsko Tehnoloski Grozd Murska Sohota (Slovenia), Tanzania Commission for Science and Technology (Tanzania), Africa Technology Business Network C.I.C (United Kingdom), HapaFoundation (Ghana).

Deliverables have been divided into Six Phases namely:

1. Project Management

2. Context and State of the Art Analysis

3. Development of the AfriConEU Networking Academy

4. Roll out implementation and assessment

5. Community development and results uptake

6. Communication and dissemination

Emerging Communities Africa (ECA), Nigeria, leads the Stakeholder Engagement segment as part of Phase 4 of the project, which is the implementation and assessment phase. It is expected to run from January – April 2022 with a series of engagement activities within this timeline. These activities will be performed in Akure (Nigeria), (as well as Kampala, Kumasi, and Tanzania respectively) with the aim of gathering local ecosystem actors to inform them about the Academy’s proposed resources and activities.

The first activity of these series of engagements will commence with a virtual Pre-Stakeholder’s Engagement targeted at key stakeholders in the Nigerian Innovation Ecosystem -Academia, Private Sector and Government to share knowledge and chart a path for fostering collaboration between DIH in Africa and Europe.

Predominantly, this project will enhance and foster insightful collaborative activities tailored towards knowledge sharing and Partnership Development programmes of the AfriConEU Networking Academy, As well as strengthen the digital innovation ecosystem in Africa.

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