African Innovation Week

African Innovators and investors from across the Continent and other parts of the world are coming together in Addis Ababa to take part in African Innovation Week.

Hundreds of young innovators from all over Africa and Nordic countries are set to take part at the African Innovation Week (AIW) 2019 here in Addis Ababa. IBA Ethiopia Center for Innovation along with partners, FDRE Ministry for Innovation and Technology (MiNT), African Union Commission (AUC) and Oslo International Hub (OIH) are hosting the first African Innovation Week 2019 at the AUC Headquarters. The six-day event will be featuring thematic areas that include Women Innovation and Entrepreneurship, AgriTech, Smart Cities, ShelterTech& Circular Energy, HealthTech, TourismTech& Hospitality as well as Trade & Investment.

One of the objectives of AIW is to create a functional platform for African policy makers, researchers, academics, private sector and international stakeholders that engage in fostering innovation and inclusive sustainable development in Africa. The event will also be a platform to showcase innovative startups that make significant impact in lives of hundreds of millions of Africans with innovation and job creation.

African Union Commission Chairperson, Moussa FakiMahamat underlines that the innovation week aligns with the African Union’s flagship project, Agenda 2063.  “The African Innovation Week is well aligned to our long-term Continental Agenda 2063, with the determination to deliver on the aspirations of the African citizens,” says the Chairperson.“The African Innovation Week is a huge economic opportunity, a business platform that has a potential to create new value chains, new markets and attract more investors and address the question of youth employment and productivity, skills revolution, and rebranding of Technical and Vocational Education and Training,” Mahamat added.

IBA Ethiopia Center for Innovation focuses on stimulating a sustainable innovation and entrepreneurship among startups in growing markets in Africa, with a particular focus on Ethiopia. Patron of IBA Ethiopia, former Prime Minister of Ethiopia, HailemariamDesalegn says: “In organizing African Innovation Week 2019, IBA Ethiopia, wants to create a platform where both young innovators and successful investors can be brought together to explore what is needed in order to strengthen the innovation ecosystem in the continent, keep up with international technological developments in various sectors, expand network for possible future partnerships and further transform various sectors of the continent.”

The Ethiopian Ministry of Innovation and Technology has been working on screening the young innovators in Ethiopia that will be included in the innovators’ competition at AIW 2019. The selected 200 young innovators and startups will be pitching their projects that are tackling challenges in their home countries.

“The future of many of our young population is in the innovation area,” says Minister of Innovation and Technology, DrGetahunMekuria. “Being innovative creates the majority of the employment in the industry, especially in the service sector. We have to drive our young population to becoming employers and job creators in the service sector and in the industry sector. I believe that Africa should not be left behind in innovations and technologies. It is time, now that Ethiopia is truly walking up the digital realm and digital economy,” added DrGetahun.

One of IBA Ethiopia’s newest partners Vodafone’s CEO for Africa, the Middle East and Asia Pacific, VivekBadrinath, says: “We support Africa Innovation Week because it showcases the benefits of digital societies and the opportunity and promise of a digital future that is accessible to all.” It is fitting that it is held this year in Ethiopia, a country where I know there is great potential for digital technologies to drive social and economic development and improve the quality and choice available for customers.”

AIW 2019 begins October 28, 2019 at the AUC headquarters. This event will wrap up on November 2, 2019 awarding African innovators and startups from countries such as Nigeria, Togo, Uganda, Kenya, and |Ethiopia. 50 finalists will win $1000 and the top 5 Prize winners will be awarded $5000 each.