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Putting innovation at the heart of the development efforts in sub-Saharan East Africa

14 March 2017
Putting innovation at the heart of the development efforts in sub-Saharan East Africa

Improving aid delivery and development strategy in sub-Saharan East Africa was the theme of the 2nd annual Aid & Development Africa Summit, organised by the Aid & International Development Forum (AIDF) on 28th February and 1st March 2016 in Nairobi, Kenya. The Summit put innovation and technology at the heart of the development efforts in sub-Saharan East Africa, advocating for cross-sector approach through inclusive, effective collaboration and coordination between government, UN agencies, NGOs, donors and businesses.

The Aid & Development Africa Summit 2017, opened by Mary Mwale, Food Security and Nutrition Specialist, Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, Kenya, brought together more than 350 participants, experts and senior decision makers from national, regional, and international NGOs, government and UN agencies, Red Cross, private sector and media, committed to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the region.

Keynote speakers and panellists included Peter Mwarogo, Country Director, Kenya, FHI 360, Pete Vowles, Country Director, Department for International Development (DfID), Philippe Carette, Country Director, Action Against Hunger, Andrew Karlyn, Regional Advisor, Africa, USAID and other experts from international organisations such as the Belgian Development Agency (BTC), Save The Children, World Food Programme, International Rescue Committee, Rockefeller Foundation, UN OCHA, World Vision, Millennium Challenge Corporation and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

Amongst the topics discussed during the Summit, particular relevance was given to data strategy and innovations that support emergency communication, health & WASH programmes, disaster preparedness and humanitarian logistics in Africa. The practice-led conference highlighted the significance of technology and connectivity for economic growth and social development and how mobile solutions drive sustainable innovation and ensure that quality aid and health services can reach those who need them most.

Lessons learnt from recent drought crisis and experiences from other countries informed discussions on building Africa’s capacity to meet the SDGs, with a specific focus on innovations and reforms to support health programmes, agricultural projects, disease prevention, education and rural infrastructure.

“The summit was well organised, it was beneficial and provided me with knowledge and insight on issues ranging from ICT, agriculture health, disaster preparedness, irrigation, etc, all which are part of my job in the office” - Asanterabi C. Sangenoi, Prime Minister’s Office Tanzania

Delivering on the 2030 Agenda requires a clear shared vision that brings together key stakeholders involved in the aid and development sectors in the region. Much has been achieved in the sub-Saharan East Africa and – to successfully continue on the path towards the objectives and long-term sustainability – prolonged commitment, collaboration and knowledge exchange between government, NGOs, UN agencies and the private sector will be required.

Alongside the Summit, the Aid & Development Africa Summit hosted an exhibition where over 30 private sector companies demonstrated their innovative solutions including cold chain solutions for vaccinations (B Medical Systems), malaria control interventions (Sumitomo Chemical), irrigation solutions (Netafim), water purification (Aquatabs), solar energy products (Greenlight Planet), helicopter services (GHS), IT infrastructure (ATEA), electronic cash transfers (sQuid Kenya), satellite, and data communications (Talia) and translation services (Strategic Agenda).

A popular attraction in the exhibition hall was the Planet of the Apps, which showcased innovative mobile applications that support SDGs in the region. The apps included ReliefWeb apps (Crisis, Headlines & Jobs), AidHedge, ConviFarm, Agribusiness TV, E-ukulima, Share The Meal and ETC Reporter.

Nearly 350 senior decision makers participated at the 2nd annual Aid & Development Africa Summit in Nairobi, making it one of the most successful and informative events in sub-Saharan Africa.

Take a look at the Aid & Development Africa Summit Photo Gallery and Presentations. For more information, please visit

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