Rwanda to pilot Africa50’s Innovation Challenge projects meant to increase access to internet

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Africa50, a pan-African infrastructure investment platform has launched an Innovation Challenge aimed to help increase access to internet on the continent.

The Innovation Challenge was launched on Thursday before the closure of the four-day Transform Africa Summit which opened in Kigali on Tuesday.

Through this initiative, Africa50 will crowdsource innovative solutions to help increase access to high-speed internet in under-served areas in Africa, according to a media statement.

The challenge is open for ICT developers, innovators, engineers, entrepreneurs to submit workable solutions, via an online platform, to be assessed by the Africa50 investment team and its partners.

The winning solutions will receive cash prizes or will be considered for project development funding.
Projects will be rolled-out in Rwanda as the pilot country, with the objective to scale them up to other countries in Africa, the statement said.

Despite significant progress in recent years, 75 percent of Africans still do not have access to the internet, according to Africa50.

Africa50 chief executive Alain Ebobisse said Africa needs to join the fourth industrial revolution, and Africa50 is ready to contribute by promoting innovation.

“Rwanda, one of our shareholders, is a great example, having developed a thriving ICT sector through enlightened leadership and an enabling regulatory environment. We see synergies between our Innovation Challenge and our co-development of Kigali Innovation City, a major tech hub,” said Ebobisse.

“In fact, Rwanda is an ideal pilot country for implementing the solutions we hope to find. We can validate the concepts and technologies there before rolling them out in other countries.”

Africa50 is implementing the challenge in partnership with DysruptUs, a firm specializing in the organization of innovation challenges, and with Informa, an international events group.

Through the platform, the solutions can be submitted worldwide from May 14 until Sep. 8 on the website:
Finalists will be invited to present their solutions at AfricaCom in November 2019 in Cape Town.

Lacina Koné, the Director General of Smart Africa, the entity that organizes the Transform Africa Summit said Africa50’s Innovation Challenge is in line with Smart Africa’s vision of developing the continent’s single digital market.

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