Innovation ecosystems will be crucial for Africa to emerge as a continent of vibrant national economies and successful businesses. Part social network and part business infrastructure, innovation ecosystems provide the web of support that makes it easier for startups to launch and grow quickly, and for established companies to innovate more aggressively. This is the kind of support that will go a long way towards helping African businesses will produce a wave of innovative products, igniting sustainable economic growth and helping African countries to shift away from an over-dependence on natural resource extraction, and in some countries, a reliance on subsistence farming to feed their citizens. IBM is committed to helping African governments, businesses, universities and entrepreneurs build innovation ecosystems.

Here’s an IBM Blue Paper that explores what it takes to create such ecosystems in Africa, and IBM’s role in building them.