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41st IASP World Conference on Science Parks and Areas of Innovation

24-27 September 2024, Nairobi (Kenya)

Demographics, entrepreneurship and technology defining the frontiers of future economies

The United Nations (UN) estimates that by 2030, there will be 1.3 billion people on the planet between the ages of 15-24. The regions of the world that will have the largest share of their population as youth, are poised for great opportunities including larger share of global workforce and more opportunities for innovation, economic growth, and larger domestic consumer markets. According to the same UN estimates, it is predicted that by 2050 that one in six people will be over 65 years old. The youth populations in Latin America and the Caribbean, Europe, Northern America and Oceania, have stabilized in size and are projected to change little over the coming decades, signifying an aging population and decrease in workforce, and potentially shrinking domestic markets, in these regions. On the other hand, Asia and Africa are experiencing growth in their youth population.

Today, Africa has the youngest population worldwide, with 40% being below 15 years, and the share of the youth is projected to continue to grow well beyond 2050. While domestic markets in Africa will grow in terms of labour supply, innovation, and potential consumers, there are also challenges that arise. The recent coronavirus pandemic has also highlighted the need for more distributed / devolved global manufacturing and supply chains, amid growing number of multinational corporations which struggle to survive and the necessity to create shared value in markets where there have traditionally focused on sales and distribution. There is rising need for innovation and technology transfer across markets to support such manufacturing and supply chains. This calls for skilling to ensure creation of a workforce that can work globally to also address decline in workforce in other parts of the world. The transition of many countries to knowledge-based economies, the intersection of technology, innovation, and entrepreneurship offers new models of shared growth, based on innovative start-ups seeking to address emerging global challenges. There is a strong realisation that competitiveness in the knowledge-based economies will be based on the ability to solve problems at scale, whilst creating wealth in domestic markets and employment opportunities in the world’s most youthful regions – thus focusing on shared value creation.


From 24-27 September 2024, the next IASP World Conference will be held in Africa for the first time, since 2008, the theme is relevant not only in respect of the role of science parks and areas of innovation in leading the way in respect of how countries in Africa and other emerging markets can capitalise on the youth demographic, entrepreneurship, and technology to foster the growth of their economies. In addition, with the rest of the world aging, the theme calls upon us to reflect on critical components of collaboration across the world to ensure that there is a sufficient talent pool, innovation, and technology base, to sustain the global economy. With the recent coronavirus pandemic, the theme also calls upon us to reflect on new models of cooperation and shared growth. This theme proposes to explore the challenges and opportunities offered by the changing global demographics, the need for new models of value creation and shared growth through use of innovation and technology, the shift towards entrepreneurship and the rise of start-up movements in the world’s fastest growing and youthful regions, and the role of STPs and AOIs in preparing their nations for the opportunities that arise.

Download the Call for Contributions, read the session descriptions, and speak at IASP 2024!