Rallying Africa to Embrace and Implement Social Innovation Policies: Lessons from Far and Near
"Sub-Saharan Africa’s tagline as “the next global investment hub” is becoming a cliché. Following a decade of sustained economic growth, averaging between 5 and 6% of annual Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth (Regional Economic Outlook, 2014) and backed by rich natural resources such as gold, timber, silver, coal and new discoveries of oil in many countries, all indicators are pointing towards a continent with formidable economic prospects. The latest ranking places Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) as the second fastest-growing continent after Asia, with seven of the world’s ten fastest-growing economies located in the region . In fact, SSA is brimming with unprecedented confidence about its future prospects as a global competitor and economic giant. Another driving force is the marked shift in the global perception of Africa as a dark continent – full of pessimism and despair – to a continent with huge potential that has caught the eyes of traditional and new economic powers. Underlying this new optimism is the fundamental improvement in macroeconomic policies, the robust business environment, and growing political stability in many African countries."
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Ernest Nti Acheampong is a Southern Voices African Research Scholar with the Africa Program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. Ernest is also currently a research officer at African Technology Policy Studies Network (ATPS) in Nairobi, Kenya. He is responsible for undertaking research and coordinating two flagship programs notably the African Youth Forum for Science and Technology (AYFST) and the Social Innovation Program. Ernest holds a bachelor’s degree in Natural Resource Management from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Kumasi, Ghana. He also holds a double master degree in International Land and Water Management, and Agricultural Systems Research and Development from the Wageningen University and Research Center and Montpellier SupAgro in the Netherlands and France respectively. He is currently pursuing a PhD degree in Public and Development Management at the Stellenbosch University, South Africa. Ernest has worked with other international research organizations engaged in multi-disciplinary research. He has engaged in several research projects including Community Integrated Conservation Project, Climate Steward Programs, Basin Focal Project and Agricultural Water Management Solutions Project.
For more thoughts by Ernest Nti Acheampong, please visit our blog, Africa Up Close, here.
This is Research Paper No. 4 of The Southern Voices Network publications series.
About the Author
The Africa Program works to address the most critical issues facing Africa and U.S.-Africa relations, build mutually beneficial U.S.-Africa relations, and enhance knowledge and understanding about Africa in the United States. The Program achieves its mission through in-depth research and analyses, including our Africa Up Close blog, public discussion, working groups, and briefings that bring together policymakers, practitioners, and subject matter experts to analyze and offer practical options for tackling key challenges in Africa and in U.S.-Africa relations. Read more