There is no arguing that the potential for new technologies in African markets is immense. Unmanned logistics, innovative use cases for drones, satellite imagery, Artificial Intelligence (AI), advanced analytics and more are already beginning to disrupt industries - from agriculture, to manufacturing, to emergency healthcare - on the continent.
Digital technologies in this space, for instance, can provide farmers - in large part the backbone of many African economies - with access to data that can transform the way they plan and operate their fields. As well, areas that continue to face infrastructure challenges can become better connected to vital resources with the help of autonomous drones and UAVs. These technologies can and are being built by local entrepreneurs on the ground, in markets across the continent, who are forming local and regional value chains.
What these entrepreneurs need to be able to compete in a global market is support in the form of skills development, investment, government intervention, partnerships with industry experts and a connection to fellow innovators in the space. The innovation ecosystem on the continent, particularly in the aerospace sector, is just beginning to grow, and with greater investment in incubator and accelerator programmes, and support from both the public and private sector, we will undoubtedly see it compete in global markets.
To learn more about the #AFRICA4FUTURE aerospace accelerator programme, download the case study
This case study evaluates the 6-month #Africa4Future Aerospace Accelerator Programme, executed jointly through a Public Private Partnership between Airbus BizLab and the Tech Entrepreneurship Initiative Make-IT in Africa. Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) implements “Make-IT in Africa” on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), as part of BMZ’s Digital Africa Initiative.
In 2018-19, MEST Africa and Innocircle supported Airbus and GIZ in implementing the #Africa4Future accelerator, which aimed to take a step toward fostering the African aerospace ecosystem and providing support for ten of the continent’s most promising technology startups.
As a result of this programme, the participating startups have created both personal and business relationships among one another, contributing to the foundation of a PanAfrican innovation ecosystem.
They’ve also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to create an official PanAfrican aerospace association, the African Aerospace and Remote Data Alliance (AARDA), with themselves as founding members. Moreover, five of the participating startups were able to build direct partnerships with Airbus and GIZ, including:
Elemental Numerics; signed a license agreement with Airbus Côte d'Ivoire Drone; signed a contract with GIZ Côte d'Ivoire Lentera; now an active user of satellite imagery platform UP42 Map Action; selected to become a client of OneAtlas Track Your Build; ambition to become a user of satellite imagery platform UP42
Others have attracted funding, launched and pivoted products, expanded or restructured their teams and come away with significant, tangible learnings.