Are Africans Really that Innovative?
The short answer? Yes, of course! Daring to even ask such a question would be quite inexcusable. Nonetheless, this question is often asked and answered with the negative. “No, Africans are not that innovative”. There seems to be a notion that Africans are generally not educated or resourceful enough to be innovative. Why else would there be so much poverty? Africa is still patronized as a continent where excess goods can be dumped, and as a place where impoverished ‘primitive’, ‘tribal’ Africans cannot help themselves. So then, it may seem almost contradictory to suggest that Africans are innovative.
Before taking such a narrow approach to addressing innovation, it is important to first define what kind of innovation is being referred to. If one is referring to entrepreneurial and social innovation, a culture of such innovation is very much alive in Africa, and perhaps even more so than in other continents. Many citizens of African countries turn to entrepreneurial innovation as a means of survival, independent of formal business structures.