Enhancing innovation networks and facilitating cross-border collaboration in Southern Africa

People sitting around desk

A training event in Helsinki, Finland, where Boost Up finalists from SADC were invited to attend Slush, Europe's premier start-up event

The Southern African Innovation Support (SAIS) programme contributes to the growth of new businesses through strengthened innovation ecosystems and sharing of good practice among innovation role-players in the SADC region.

December 13, 2019
  • SDG: #9, #5, #8
  • SECTORS: Development Consulting
  • COUNTRIES: Mozambique, Zambia, Tanzania, South Africa, Namibia and Botswana
  • DONOR: The Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland
  • CONTRACT VALUE: Phase I: €6.15 million. Phase II: €9.2 million
  • DURATION: Phase I: 2011–2016. Phase II: 2017–2021

Combatting poverty in the SADC region requires investment in science and technology as well as improved management of the resources required to bring new or improved products, processes, and services to the market. Funded by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland and in it's second phase, the Southern Africa Innovation Support (SAIS) Programme is contributing to this process in five countries across the region by specifically focusing on national and regional innovation systems supporting early-stage entrepreneurs.

Phase I of the programme (SAIS 1) ran from 2011 to 2016 and established a knowledge-sharing network of innovation support among partner institutions, organisations, and stakeholders in Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, and Zambia; strengthened human capacity in innovation at all policy and practical levels; adapted and replicated projects and initiatives that enhanced innovation across participating countries; and planned an institutional framework for long-term regional innovation and cooperation that aligned with SADC’s and member countries’ strategies as well as international best practice.

The second phase, SAIS 2, launched in 2017 and will run until 2021, with Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, and Zambia as partner countries. The programme takes the objectives to the next level by focusing on early-stage entrepreneurship and related innovation systems. It is using new approaches such as the SAIS 2 Innovation (Challenge) Fund to support transnational projects driven by consortia constructed by local innovation champions.

Download the project brief to learn more about this programme.

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