Recognizing the crisis facing small businesses and innovators across Africa, the Africa Innovation Policy Taskforce published an Open Letter together with innovation communities from across Africa, calling on communities and governments to join forces in response to the COVID-19 crisis. 

This letter was distributed across the i4Policy community, and in less than two weeks over 200 community innovation hubs from across forty-eight countries, surveyed their members and joined forces to co-organize the pan-African Digital Assembly (#pADA).

 The #pADA served as a  platform for continent-wide conversations over the course of three days, including high-level panel discussions with health and entrepreneurship experts, political and cultural leaders as well as virtual  roundtable discussions where partnering hubs joined as facilitators  to consult hundreds of African entrepreneurs to crowdsource an inventory for Governments  to respond to the crisis.


After the #pADA, community innovation hubs partners engaged in a seven day consolidation process to refine the ideas harvested during the #pADA. The consolidation process resulted in the  into an Action Agenda Covid-19 for Response & Recovery for African SMEs, including seven urgent action items, and repository of potential policy solutions to be taken into consideration in the formulation of entrepreneurship legislation in support of African SMEs.

Co-Created Action Agenda:
Covid-19 Response & Recovery for African SMEs

  1. Increase access to working capital and liquidity needed to maintain business operations and retain employees, particularly for the smallest and most vulnerable firms;

  2. Increase the adoption of e-platforms, digitize public services and promote partnerships that improve internet access and digitization of MSMEs;

  3. Increase access to local and regional markets through government procurement and adoption of local products and services;

  4. Reduce costs of public  infrastructure and health services for startups and SMEs;

  5. Support local R&D targeting COVID-19 response to drive innovation and to open new markets; 

  6. Support the development of Start-up Legislation where none exists, to address the unique needs of innovation, high-growth companies; and

  7. Promote and support the organization of youth assemblies to engage young people in policy co-creation and deliberation processes.

Benchmarking Small Business Acts and Startup Acts in Africa:

Together with AFD, the i4Policy team developed a comprehensive benchmarking study of all Startup Acts and Small Business Acts across Africa. This work was expanded through funding from Make-IT in Africa to develop the first version of a practical toolkit.