Prolinnova’s Subregional Coordinator in Eastern & Southern Africa (ESA), Jacob Wanyama, was invited to present the Prolinnova network and approach at the AU-EU Innovation Agenda Stakeholder Event on 23–24 November 2022 in Nairobi. The event briefed the participants on the joint Innovation Agenda of the African Union (AU) and the European Union (EU) and gave them an opportunity to explain how they are contributing to the Agenda. The event aimed to identify programmes and initiatives for implementing the actions foreseen by the AU-EU Innovation Agenda in several thematic areas. Prolinnova was presented in Agenda Area 2: Green Transition: Food and Nutrition Security and Sustainable Agriculture (FNSA).
In general, the event was dominated by universities, research institutions and a few companies and technical innovators. It did not include innovators at the grassroots level, and there was very low representation of advisory services. But it was a good sign that Prolinnova was invited and could thus draw attention to small-scale farmers’ role in innovation and to the importance of strengthening all stakeholders’ capacities to innovate within agricultural systems.
An interesting session at the end of the event was for “pitching” innovations. In the plenary, each innovator (mainly youth) gave a very short presentation (pitch) about his/her innovation and invited the participants to their stands, which were set up in a different room. This is an approach that Prolinnova could use, for example, during Farmer Innovation Fairs.
Some useful Kenyan contacts, e.g. with universities, could be made during the event and will be followed up to strengthen the Prolinnova network in Kenya and in ESA more widely.