(AfricaLics) is the African regional network for researchers involved in innovation and development research with a specific interest in promoting learning, innovation and competence building systems approaches. The network currently includes scholars from all over Africa including Algeria, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Ghana and Tanzania.
The formation of AfricaLics was centred on the following two rationales:
A need to understand innovation and learning in the context of Africa – both from theoretical and practical perspectives. Given the fact that Africa lacks adequate capacity for the above purpose, a need for capacity building arose. It was envisioned that the AfricaLics network can become a strong dynamo for capacity building in the specific field of innovation and economic development, both at the individual, institutional and country levels. This can allow African countries to design policies suitable and responsive to their own needs, and instigate corrective measures to ensure the smooth production, dissemination and use of knowledge for economic development, including poverty alleviation.
For about seven years that AfricaLics has been operating, it has received funding from the Sida to conduct research capacity building activities to build research capabilities in the field of innovation and development. The Phase II of the project runs from 2016 – 2021. The research capacity building efforts have involved training of PhD students, development of new curricula and funding support for collaborative research projects in neglected areas of innovation and development research such as gender and innovation and conferences. However, there is a need to consolidate activities and widen out the efforts to a larger number of beneficiaries, including policymakers. AfricaLics Phase II pays a lot attention to policy engagement and outreach.