The Association of Startups and SME Enabler of Kenya (ASSEK), Innovation Support Network (ISN), Hubs, Nigeria and Technology & Business Hubs Network, Ghana (TBHN), on Wednesday, 29th of October, 2019 signed a tripartite memorandum of understanding (MOU) towards an integrated innovation ecosystem among the three countries. This MoU is to foster collaboration amongst these networks as they work to encourage knowledge exchange, capacity development programmes for the networks as well as growth.
The MOU was signed at the 4th Afrilabs Annual Gathering currently happening at the African Union Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Representing the network of hubs at the signing of the MOU were Sheilah Birgen, Vice Chair, ASSEK; Fiifi Baidoo for TBHN; Hanson Johnson, Ecosystem Director, ISN Hubs; Jeremy Riro, Treasurer, ASSEK and Chukwuemeka Fred Agbata Jnr., Marketing Director, ISN Hubs.
The three associations are part of AfriLabs, the largest pan-African network of technology and innovation hubs with over 174 members across 44 countries. This collaboration is in line with the theme of Afrilab’s this year’s Gathering that is ‘Connect: Towards an Integrated Innovation Ecosystem’.
Nigeria’s Hanson Johnson, founder of Start Innovation Hub, in a statement said that in Africa, the number of youth is growing rapidly. In 2015, 226 million youth aged 15-24 lived in Africa, accounting for 19 per cent of the global youth population. He added that according to the United Nations, by 2030, it is projected that the number of youth in Africa will have increased by 42 per cent and is expected to continue to grow throughout the remainder of the 21st century, more than doubling from current levels by 2055. This is scary and caused us to worry, hence this strategic MoU with our Kenyan and Ghanaian counterparts.
The partnership will provide a framework of cooperation and facilitate collaboration between the association as they share common interest within the continent.