The Africa Telecommunication Union (ATU) announced the launch of the ATU Africa Innovations Challenge 2020. The challenge is targeted at identifying and supporting young African innovators who have developed mobile applications useful for benefiting the fight to contain COVID-19 in Africa.
The top prize winner in the competition is expected to carry home a cash award of USD 5000 aside from being engaged in other mentorship and partnership programmes.
“This challenge will be instrumental in recognizing, testing and highlighting disruptive innovations and new business models that have the capacity to redefine Africa,” said the ATU Secretary-General Mr. John OMO.
Omo stressed the importance of African institutions to support initiatives that create, innovate, and deliver for the continent.
The launch event centered on the theme: How Africa Can Stay above the Impact of COVID-19 through Innovation; brought together a number of innovators, ICT Ministries, and regulators, the academia and ICT organizations.
Speaking also during the launch event, Chief Guest Mamadou SANOGO, Minister of Communication, Digital Economy, Post, Information and Communication Technologies, Côte d’Ivoire reiterated the need and urgency to support the fight against COVID-19 including through such initiatives as the Africa Innovations Challenge.
“Innovation has become the key differentiating element that can give economic opportunities to our young people,” he said.
Huawei is the Title Sponsor of the innovation challenge.
Mr OMO said:
“For over 20 years Huawei has been building ICT infrastructure, promoting ICT skills and enabling ICT innovation across Africa. We believe the trustworthy partner can support this initiative with their expertise, insight, and experience both globally and locally. ”
Vice-President of Public Relations for Huawei Northern Africa Region, Mr. Loïse Tamalgo underscored the value of innovative approaches towards growth in the continent.
“We are looking forward to working with ATU to bring out the creativity and entrepreneurship residing in the African youth,” he said.
The ATU innovation challenge is an initiative that seeks to provide both short and long-term solutions and opportunities to the African Youth. With increased suppression of the social fabric in many communities in Africa as a result of COVID-19, and in consideration of the fact that a large population of Africa are youths who are generally living in difficult conditions, the competition promotes the idea that the ability for countries’ readiness for digital solutions, could significantly help address some of these challenges.
The event was also used to unveil ATU’s new logo as part of the Union’s re-branding effort.
ATU is a partnership between public and private stakeholders in the information and communication technology (ICT) sector.
It provides a forum for stakeholders involved in ICT to formulate effective policies and strategies aimed at improving access to information infrastructure and services.
ATU currently has 48 Member States drawn from Governments and 43 Associate Members from within and outside the African region.