YouthConnekt Summit was held in Kigali from July 19- 21. The summit attracted more than 2,500 delegates including heads of state, government leaders, executives from multinational companies that operate in Africa, leaders of civil society organizations, Africa’s development partners, members of the academia, successful young entrepreneurs, artists and youth opinion leaders from across the continent.
Civic engagement is an important and ambitious goal of the summit that aimed “to identify, nurture and grow one million leaders that provide solutions, participate in advocacy and become role models for their communities.” Therefore the first YouthConnekt Africa Summit provided an unique opportunity to engage young people across the continent in a conversation about civic engagement.
On July 19th the Office with support from UNESCO organized an #i4Policy workshop at Impact Hub Kigali, gathering conversation leaders to finalize preparations for the session at YouthConnekt, to share ideas about policy engagement and to elaborate strategies for action. Nine innovation hub managers and community catalysts attended the workshop, attracting six additional hub managers who were in Kigali attending the YouthConnekt Africa Summit.
The group discussed ways of connecting hub managers and innovators across the continent as well as strategies to inform them about policy issues and empower them to engage in conversations with their leaders. They also exchanged first stories of success. One example came from Ghana. There the community established a national network called the „Ghana Tech and Biz Hubs Network“ after one of the leaders of a tech hub in Ghana, Jorge Appiah, came back from the first i4policy meeting. It so far consists of 17 hubs, also drawing in non-traditional hubs like universities. They have so far met with two ministers and the Government is recognizing the network as an entry point to supporting entrepreneurs and better understanding their needs.
On July 20th i4Policy participated in a session on Youth in Governance Session at YouthConnekt. This session took place in the main plenary hall before an estimated, 2,500-3,000 people. The session introduced the importance of multi-stakeholder approaches to public policy engagement, as well as the i4policy platform. Experiences from different countries talking about independent innovation hubs and innovation catalysts working together with governments to improve the ecosystem for digital transformation were shared.
Blogger and Activist Ruth Aine who represented i4Policy on the panel said:
„It is vital that a common language is found for politicians and youth, we need to create and make use of existing platforms.“
i4Policy has proven its relevancy for communities in different regional contexts. More outreach and the development of practical tools will be necessary to unlock it’s great potential to connect and empower innovation hubs to efficiently impact policies across the continent.
|Participants at pre-event workshop|
|Khalid Ali||Impact Hub Khartoum|
|Ratozamanana Andriankoto Harinjaka||Founder of Habaka|
|Ruth Aine||Independent blogger|
|Jon Stever||Impact Hub Kigali and The Office|
|Jaco Du Toit||UNESCO|
|Additional participants during YouthConnekt|
|Jean du Christ Ali||WoeLab|