Liquid Telecom, the telecommunications company behind the One Africa broadband network, has announced the Africa Region Celebration of the MIT Inclusive Innovation Challenge (IIC) which will take place on 20 September 2019 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. More than 400 applicants from 35 African countries are said to have already entered the challenge.

Liquid Telecom is the regional collaborator for the 2019 MIT IIC.

“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 Ben Roberts, Chief Innovation and Technology Officer at Liquid Telecom.

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.

Finalists

The regional finalists, 12 of them, have been selected to pitch their future of work solutions to a selection panel at the event. From there, four regional winners, one from each IIC category, will be chosen live at the event to proceed to a Gala at MIT (Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA) on 21 November 2019 for the chance to win part of a $1 million Global Grand Prize.

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

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

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

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

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

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.

Ethiopia's tech startups to benefit

The Ethiopian government has also partnered with the event to help support the country’s young and promising digital technology startup ecosystem. They have said they will do this by creating increased opportunities for pan-African engagement and best-practice sharing amongst the country's startups.

“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," said Ato Sisay Tola, Ethiopia's State Minister of Innovation and Technology (MInT).

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