JOHANNESBURG – AFRICA has the potential to leapfrog the world in innovation, experts said at a just-concluded seminar held to encourage the continent to embrace technology.
This was the prevailing message at the second annual Accenture Innovation Conference, held in Johannesburg.
The event gathered South Africa’s top companies, technologists, media and thought leaders to discuss the role and future of innovation in South Africa and across the African continent.
One of the conference speakers, Siyabulela Xuza, an award winning local innovator and Harvard alum, said, “We as South Africans and Africans are all capable of global innovation and global excellence.”
He urged participants and the continent to take innovation seriously.
“Unfulfilled human potential is terrifying. I had very few fears in my life, but one was when young people like myself, young Africans especially – black, white, male, and female – don’t fulfill their potential,” Xuza said.
William Mzimba, Chief Executive of Accenture South Africa and Chairman of Accenture Sub-Saharan Africa, was upbeat Africa was on course to outsprint the world in innovation.
“We have hope. Certainly what I have heard at this conference – the speeches, the questions, the conversations – have confirmed at the heart of innovation we are going to leapfrog the world,” said Mzimba.
He wished the continent would accelerate the momentum in the innovation movement that was beginning to happen in corporations and across this continent.
“You can go to Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and you can feel it. Because digital has arrived,” concluded Mzimba.