In Africa today, there are more than 4 billion people who live on less than $5 U.S. per day.
Eighty percent of the 20 lowest per capita income countries on the planet are in Africa.
Africa has the world's fastest-growing and youngest population around the world, and has access to a treasure trove of natural resources.
But as IBM South Africa general manager Mark Harris, recently observed, "Philanthropy alone with not create opportunity. To drive economic development in Africa, the private and public sectors need to collaborate to help develop economies."
To that end, IBM recently launched its first-ever public "ThinkPlace Challenge," a three-week open forum designed to foster global collaboration on innovation opportunities and economic development issues facing the African continent by helping shape the agenda for our upcoming Global Innovation Outlook (GIO) focus on Africa.
The GIO program will explore some key questions:
- How can global businesses best partner with local enterprises, universities and governments to build a better platform for economic growth and competitiveness?
- What policy initiatives, infrastructure investments and development programs can advance Africa's participation in the global economy?
- What specific opportunities are present in developing infrastructure for IT, communications, water and energy? What roles should micro-finance and lending play?
The program will bring together more than 150 global thought leaders from business, government, academia, NGOs, and venture capital to try and surface actionable policy issues, investment strategies, business models, and technology priorities related to innovation and economic development in the African region.
But those individuals don't have a monopoly on good ideas.
So, if you have some ideas of your own, step up and participate at the ThinkPlace site located here.
The ideas will be shared directly with the GIO team and its partners as they prepare the final agenda for the series of global discussions, as well as by the IBM World Development Initiative team.
As the ThinkPlace site says, your input can help improve the quality of life for many people in Africa.
So share your best ideas today. You have until May 25 to contribute.[Read More]