Frugal Innovation during the COVID-19 crisis: Examples from East Africa

It is now two months since the World Health Organisation declared COVID-19 as a global pandemic. Incidentally, sub-Saharan Africa so far has among the lowest expected reported cases and deaths from the pandemic relative to predictions. This has been attributed to the aggressive restrictive measures that countries in the region rapidly put in place to control the spread of the virus. However, these measures—among them, closing of international and regional borders, closing of schools and universities, dusk-to-dawn curfews, social distancing restrictions, business closures, etc—have had adverse effects on local economies and social structures. These effects have been felt most among low income households in informal settlements and rural areas, and lower-middle income households in cities.

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About the author:

Elsie Osongo:

has completed a PhD in 'Economics of Innovative Change', a programme jointly offered by Friedrich Schiller University Jena and the Max Planck Institute of Economics in Jena, Germany. She has worked at Strathmore University in Kenya in various teaching, research and administrative capacities, and was a visiting fellow at the Science Policy Research Unit (SPRU), University of Sussex, UK.

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About CFIA:

In the last five years, the Centre for Frugal Innovation in Africa (CFIA) has established itself as a main centre of excellence on the emerging theme of frugal innovation. For the period 2019 – 2024 CFIA aims to further strengthen its position to become the global hub for frugal innovation research. We aim to work with the academic community, societal partners and government to form a basis for further academic and public-private partnerships. Together we explore, develop, and share knowledge on frugal innovation.