The VaRRIWA project is an initiative funded by the ACP Innovation Fund, one of the components of the Research and Innovation Programme of the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OEACP), with financial support from the European Union. This project with a budget of approximately 3 billion was officially launched in Benin by Eléonord Yayi Ladékan, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research (MESRS).
The objective of VaRRIWA (Valorising Research Results and Innovation in West Africa) is to promote research and innovation results in West Africa. The project will be implemented in Benin, Burkina Faso, Senegal and Togo. According to the project leader, Alioune Faye, the expected results are innovative. The aim is to help the various beneficiary countries to have mechanisms that will enable innovators, researchers and entrepreneurs, whether or not they are affiliated with research centres and universities, to make the most of what they do in terms of discovery and innovation. Thus to be able to label, patent and market them. An initiative that in one way or another promotes entrepreneurship, research and innovation in the sub-region.
“In this approach, we are trying to set up mechanisms within the universities. But these mechanisms will of course be open to the entire research community,” stresses the project leader. He went on to say that “it will be a question of setting up, from the UAC Start Up Valley incubator, a system that will be accessible to all researchers and innovators in Cotonou and the surrounding area so that they can find all the resources they need in order to be able to develop their innovations as they should.
No more excuses for not innovating
Furthermore, the VaRRIWA project addresses a key issue that hinders innovation and entrepreneurship in Africa. It is about funding. Many young people complain that there is little or no funding to showcase their innovations. It will now be a matter of the entrepreneur, researcher or innovator hatching their project before receiving support through the incubator. The launching of this sub-regional project was attended by the rectors of the universities of Abomey-Calavi and Parakou as well as the heads of the units in Togo, Burkina Faso and Senegal. Thus, the VaRRIWA project will create an incentive environment for technology transfer and sustainable innovation in four countries in the West African region.