Tech Trends (Channels TV)

Tech Trends: African Governments should encourage their Innovation Ecosystems to Own Locally but go Global – Sheilah Birgen

A lot has changed and are still changing in the innovation ecosystem in Africa, in the past few months, due to the effects of the global COVID-19 pandemic.

I, recently, had a chat with Sheilah Birgen, CEO, The Cord, on Tech Trends show, on Channels Television, where she shared her perspectives on the transformation of the Innovation Ecosystem, in response to the effects of COVID-19 and lots more.

CFA: Sheila, glad to have you on the show today.

Sheilah: Thank you for having me on the show.

CFA: Looking at the African innovation ecosystem today. What has changed?

Sheilah: Well, a lot, A lot has changed. There are lots of people getting into the ecosystem. Governments are becoming more deliberate about investing in infrastructure, for instance for education, for health. manufacturing. A lot more has changed, in the the sense that, adoption of technology is a bit more now, than before.

I think also, that there is more highlight at the what is consistent, globally. Something that was not there 10 years ago. Almost every country now, are very deliberate about growing their ecosystems. We’re thriving, in a way.

CFA: Looking at it, critically, what do you think we should do, as Africans, to ensure that we make the most of the digital opportunities that are available today?

Sheilah: I think most of us, as entrepreneur, or innovators and governments in Africa, we are not deliberate about leveraging technology for commercial purpose. We look at it from the impact, or whatever it is, but not for commercial purposes.

That is why digital sovereignty for instance, is on a big deal to governments in Africa. If you register your business wherever, it’s fine, but they don’t look at the long-term effect of making sure that businesses are registered in their countries and that those products are locally owned.

I think that is one thing we really need to look at, ensuring that the policies in the digital space, ensures that local innovations are locally registered, but they also, look at the global market, in the sense that, everybody can use it, but ownership of the product is local.

I feel that a lot of super-power countries do that, but I haven’t seen a country that is very deliberate around that issue yet.

You can watch the full interview here