ECA launches Origin Initiative for East African region
By Wallace Mawire in Niamey,Niger
Origin Initiative, a physical hub in East Africa has been launched by the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) at the 5th African Science, Technology and Innovation Forum 2023 in Niemey, Niger.
The initiative aims to provide guidance for implementing original research and innovation labs, and organizational arrangements for entrepreneurial universities in Africa.
The Origin Initiative was introduced by former executive secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa, Vera Songwe, who noted – in an earlier statement – that the term “Origin” was chosen because problems in any location start at their source or “origin,” and 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
According to Ndirangu Kioni, Vice-Chancellor, Dedan Kimathi University of Technology, Kenya, the Origin initiative will be crucial in building research partnerships with industry and attracting talented individuals from different disciplines to invent the future.
“The initiative will focus on inspiring and accommodating passionate and brilliant individuals from different disciplines who wish to invent the future,” said Prof Ndirangu. It will also showcase breakthroughs, encourage prototyping and crafting of clear pathways for taking products and firms to market; bring the brightest and talented minds to find solutions to complex challenges faced by firms and society at large; and build research partnership with industry.
The initiative 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.
It 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, the initiative aims 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.
The physical hub will be opened to solving human problems, with a focus on the start-up work space, consultant recruitment, ICT platform, partners in research, and financial institutions.
Victor Konde, a Scientific Affairs Officer at ECA, described the Origin initiative as a place where people come to innovate and solve human problems.
Jussi Jauhiainen, a professor at Turk University, emphasized the importance of being economically, socially, and environmentally sustainable and responsible while making profitable businesses.
By engaging the entire value network beyond existing business systems, societal networks, and face-to-face contact, sustainable and responsible local and global transformation can be achieved through innovation processing.
Established by the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) of the United Nations (UN) in 1958 as one of the UN’s five regional commissions, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa’s (ECA’s) mandate is to promote the economic and social development of its Member States, foster intraregional integration and promote international cooperation for Africa’s development. ECA is made up of 54 Member States and plays a dual role as a regional arm of the UN and as a key component of the African institutional landscape.