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 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.  “ 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, Hailemariam Desalegn says: “

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, Dr Getahun Mekuria. “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 Dr Getahun.

Vodafone’s CEO for Africa, the Middle East and Asia Pacific, Vivek Badrinath, 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.
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