Sunday, 3 November 2013

African tech innovation brains to meet in Kigali


ICT innovators at K-Lab in Kigali busy sharing ideas on how to develop software

As the Transform Africa 2013 Summit came to an end in Kigali last week, youth involved in the information and communication technology sector from across the continent challenged their respective technology hub managers to put in place channels of partnerships among various hubs and knowledge-sharing.

Taking on the challenge, seven managers of technology hubs from African countries met on Friday at Klab, Rwanda’s first tech hub, to plan on ways to increase partnerships amongst members of their innovation hubs.

The managers zeroed in on Rwanda as the most convenient host for the continental convention of tech hubs which is slated for next year.

The convention, to be held under the banner, “African convention for global Innovations,” will specifically target start-ups and other members of technology hubs through knowledge sharing and partnerships.

“The ultimate aim of the convention will be to ensure the beneficiaries of the hubs who to a large extent constitute start-ups have a platform where they can learn from each other and share experiences,” Pierre Brunache, the co-founder of Mfriday, a technology hub in Ghana, said.

Brunache said the four-day event most likely to take place in October next year will prioritise the wishes of the hubs’ tenants, rather than going by the wishes of donors and sponsors.

“The convention will be planned and designed by hubs to have an impact on their respective members as opposed to playing by sponsors and donors’ rules. The only way we can do this is by having defined objectives we wish to achieve so that other bodies seeking to play part can complement our efforts.”

The members set the objectives of the convention as sharing knowledge and enhancing partnerships amongst innovation labs.

“With more than 100 innovation labs across the continent, it is time we came together to see to it that we not only develop local solutions but also have chances of going global, by fostering global and local solutions,“ Alex Ntale, the director of Private Sector Federation’s Chamber of ICT.

Ntale said they were assured of government support and had even floated the idea by Dr Hamadoun Toure, the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) secretary-general,  and the Minister for Youth and ICT, Philbert Nsengimana, both of who m pledged to support the convention.

The hub managers also resolved to work with the umbrella body of African innovation Hubs Afri-labs to organise the convention as well as seek support from their country’s information and technology ministries.

“We will hold talks with the umbrella body to arrange aspects like logistics and communication and to see how we will bring other partners on board,” Brian Ndyaguma, from Uganda’s innovation hub, Hive Colab, added.

African tech innovation brains to meet in Kigali


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