Liquid Telecom brings MIT Inclusive Innovation Challenge and Summit to Ethiopia

Liquid Telecom
Liquid Telecom

MIT Inclusive Innovation Challenge (IIC) Africa Regional event will be held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on 20 September 2019. Event to also convene Summit on inclusive innovation and technology in Africa.

Liquid Telecom is the regional collaborator for the 2019 MIT IIC where more than 400 applicants from 35 African countries entered the challenge. Following a rigorous evaluation process, 12 winning regional finalists have been selected pitch their future of work solutions to a Selection Panel of regional experts at the event on September 20. Four regional winners, one from each IIC category (see below), will be chosen live at the event to proceed to a Gala at MIT (Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA) on November 21 for the chance to win part of a $1 million Global Grand Prize.

To mark the finale of the 2019 Challenge, Liquid Telecom is hosting the African Inclusive Innovation Summit, a one day event highlighting how technology is creating economic opportunity for low-and middle-income earners across Africa. The Summit will be held in partnership with the African Union Commission, the Ethiopian Jobs Creation Commission (JCC), and the Ethiopian Ministry of Innovation and Technology.

During the event, start-ups, investors, policy makers, and technology thought leaders will share their insights and knowledge across a series of keynotes, panels, and workshops. The Summit will then culminate with the MIT IIC regional celebration and pitch contest.

“With the arrival of the 4th Industrial Revolution, there has never been a better time to showcase some of the latest technologies and explore how they can be used as a force for good in Africa. Liquid Telecom is proud and excited to help lead the debate and discussion at the African Inclusive Innovation Summit. By showcasing some of the continent’s brightest tech talent during the regional finale of MIT’s Inclusive Innovation Challenge, applicants will be motivated and exposed to new and relevant opportunities to take their ambitions to the next level,” said Liquid Telecom’s Chief Innovation and Technology Officer, Ben Roberts.

Liquid Telecom

The African Union Commission is joining this effort under their 1 Million by 2021 Initiative which seeks to implement tangible interventions in the key areas of Education, Employment, Entrepreneurship and Engagement (4E’s), and aims to reach at least 1 million youth by 2021 on these 4E’s.

The Commissioner of Human Resources, Science & Technology H.E Prof. Sarah Anyang Agbor said: “This is a significant partnership that launches a deeper engagement between Liquid Telecom and the African Union Commission as we collaboratively move towards our common vision of an integrated and prosperous African continent. The efforts to effectively harness Africa’s demographic dividend can only be accelerated in collaborating with dedicated stakeholders.  We remain grateful to these partners who are as invested as us in ensuring that the potential of youth on the continent is realised by tapping into these areas which recognise the importance of digital skills as an avenue to achieve sustainable economic development.”

The Ethiopian government has also partnered to help support the country’s young and promising tech start-up scene, by creating increased opportunities for pan-African engagement and best-practice sharing amongst start-ups.

Dr. Ephrem T. Lemango, Commissioner of the Jobs Creation Commission said: “Ethiopia has set an ambitious goal of creating 3 million jobs in 1 year. This goal will only be met through the active participation of the private sector and start-ups – especially those in tech. We are glad to welcome the African Inclusive Innovation Summit this year, as it gives us the opportunity to engage with players across the continent who are using technology to create jobs and economic opportunity in Africa. We look forward to sharing experiences and seeing what we can apply to further our efforts in Ethiopia.”

The State Minister of Innovation and Technology (MInT), H.E Ato Sisay Tola added: “We at MinT are working on creating an enabling environment for tech firms and start-ups to be born and thrive in Ethiopia. As we prioritise creating the right policies, building infrastructure, and growing our country’s tech skillset we want to make sure we are being innovative and inclusive in all that we do. For this reason, we are happy to welcome the MIT Inclusive Innovation Challenge and this Summit to Ethiopia to continue these conversations and exchange best practices.”

Écrit par Liquid Telecom

The African regional finalists of MIT’s Inclusive Innovation Challenge (IIC) 2019: 

Financial Inclusion Category > Bloom Impact Ghana), Social Lender (Nigeria), and Inclusivity Solutions (South Africa).

Income Growth & Job Creation Category Kumwe Harvest (Rwanda), Indlu (South Africa), and Tiny Totos (Kenya).

Skills Development & Opportunity Matching Category > Forsana (Egypt), Taskty (Egypt), and Shortlist (Kenya).

Technology Access Category > Flare (Kenya), Farmerline (Ghana), and Shopit (South Africa).


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