Innovation hubs serve as centres for creativity and development of information technology amongst youth. In Africa, where several innovation hubs are located in strategic cities, they often go past being centres of creativity and even go as far as driving development in a broad range of sectors. These hubs are also the birthing place of numerous great ideas – ideas created by African youth who engage in the IT sphere. Although several hubs are spread across Africa in Cairo, Lagos, Addis Abeba and Dar es Salaam amongst others, there is an increasing need to further develop these hubs so as to stimulate the minds of African youth interested in information technology. This is a great way to build potential and create great ideas where vacuums existed. Jovago highlights the interesting role that innovation hubs could play in African communities and the effect they could have on the youth.
Africa definitely has great potential and so does its youth who make up about 65% of the population. With this also comes the concern of unemployment which plagues several African countries to a large extent. The provision of innovation hubs could be a means of youth empowerment which would allow the youth to channel their creative energy into a potentially productive source for their communities. With all the governmental efforts to boost youth empowerment schemes, perhaps investing in innovation hubs is the way to go.
These hubs make for a great engaging space where young people could mingle with members of their local IT communities and benefit from them as well. Geraldine de Bastion noted that the hubs go a long way in “supporting innovative local developments, not only in the IT and creative industries but also in other sectors like energy and agriculture.”
Linking youth empowerment and innovation hubs makes the realisation of the vacuum they fill much clearer. They go a long way in boosting IT knowledge in the African countries which do not possess the capable structures to properly inspire the youth to start viable businesses. The growth of startups that cater to the needs of consumers could also be partly credited to these hubs.
Innovation hubs such as the Co-Creation Hub in Lagos, the Jozihub in Johannesburg and the Impact Hubs spread across Africa continue to be great sources of support for entrepreneurship and youth empowerment. However, a key issue to be addressed would be the possible measures to monetize created services and generate revenue in order to keep incentive for African youths that decide to opt for these hubs.