In 2020 the theme of the Annual Report is “Resilience”. Despite the challenges of COVID-19, Open AIR made significant research progress. Field research was largely halted but desk research continued apace and, in some cases, accelerated.

This resulted in an increase in the number of publications, the most notable of which are:

  • We released a flagship report detailing the results of an ambitious, three-year phase of research: ‘Scaling Innovation: How Open Collaborative Models Help Scale Africa’s Knowledge-Based Enterprises
  • We produced an entire special issue of The African Journal of Information and Communication (AJIC) featuring research on concrete ways to scale up innovation across the African continent and beyond.

Our researchers have been working extensively to advance economic opportunities through inclusive inter-African trade, especially for women in business, science, technology, and innovation. Our researchers are also at the cutting edge of innovation policy globally, supporting and shaping the data collection and measurement practices of key international organizations.

Yet we remain well connected to grassroots communities of innovators, especially innovators from marginalized groups like women in the informal sector and Indigenous and local communities. Our researchers are amongst the continent’s, indeed the world’s, leaders studying maker communities and innovation hubs.

Together we are at the forefront of Africa’s role in the fourth industrial revolution, influencing the laws and policies that will govern everything from digital agriculture to artificial intelligence.

Open AIR’s “New and Emerging Researchers Group”, which we call our NERG, has been extremely active and successful. Eight emerging leaders received their PhDs, several received prestigious international awards, and others were nominated/elected to important positions in international advisory bodies, businesses, and non-governmental organizations Our large cohort of Queen Elizabeth Scholars were integrated into each of our research themes and received extensive mentorship both in person and virtually.

Read the 2020 report online or download a PDF.