By Thandisizwe Mgudlwa – AfricanBrains
Innovation Africa Summit 2012 was a great success.
From Friday to Sunday in Africa’s most southern tip of Africa, which is Cape Town, African and the world’s leadership met to bounce ideas from experiences of the past.
It was certainly a great privilege for AfricanBrains, as organizers of the event, to host delegates and participants from African governments and ministries, business and civil society to settle on this shores, even for a short period of time, for this elusive thought-leaders’ summit.
The co-hosts of the summit were the University of the Western Cape (UWC).
And as John Glassey, Managing Director of AfricanBrains, commented before the summit: “This summit follows on from the ICT for Education Summit in Victoria Falls, January 2012 and continues the overall aspirations of AfricanBrains to fulfill the need and opportunity for greater public partnership in education, science and research in sub-Saharan Africa.
He added: “We trust this summit can play its own small part in bringing together key decision-makers from both government and industry to build their own relationships and strengthen public-private partnerships. We are grateful for your support and participation and we trust your time at the summit is enjoyable, and productive. We hope to be working with you for a long time.”
Well then, the event didn’t disappoint as speakers and additional participating officers from the African Development Bank, British Council, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and Independent Schools Association of Southern Africa (ISASA), met to design a brighter future.
Essentially, the conference was structured around an innovative program of keynote presentations during the mornings and then converted to the pre-scheduled one-to-one meetings on Saturday and Sunday.
Professor Brain O’Connell, Rector and Vice-Chancellor of UWC had said: “This gathering is timely as it is now that the 21st century will present humankind with complex challenges.”
O’Connell quoted the Norwegian educationist, Per Dalin,who argued that we are now being confronted with the unprecedented challenge of ten revolutions occurring simultaneously. “They are: the knowledge and information revolution, the population explosion, globalization, the economic revolution, the technological revolution, the ecological revolution, the social/cultural revolution, the aesthetic revolution, the political revolution and the values revolution.
Still on Dalin, O’Connell added: “He argued that humankind would be so tested by this combination of incredible changes on so many levels that our cultures would have to undergo the kind of dramatic paradigm shifts last experienced in the 16th and 17th centuries when science began its challenge to all existing forms of knowledge. Chief among these changes is the ability to build networks and the ability to change. If fact Lyle argues that change, built on the best knowledge available, is our only security. There was a time when nations sought their safety behind moats and thick walls or zones of influence like the Monroe Doctrine’s “America for the Americans” and more recently the same idea from African sources that “Africa is for Africans”. Such a time has been overtaken comprehensively by globalization and the development of modern communications technologies. It is now clear that no nation has the knowledge, skills, and natural resources that it needs to survive now or in the future,” said O’Connell.
But one way or the other, it’s clear that real work begins now. And a new path is non-negotiable.