The 2019 African Innovation Week (AIW) kicked off on Monday at the AU Headquarters in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, bringing about hundreds of young innovators from across Africa and Nordic countries.
The AIW aims at creating 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 6-day event features thematic areas, including women innovation and entrepreneurship, agri-tech, smart cities, shelter-tech and circular energy, health-tech, tourism-tech and hospitality as well as trade and investment.
The event also serves as a platform to showcase innovative startups that make significant impact in lives of hundreds of millions of Africans with innovation and job creation.
In remarks, Moussa Mahamat, Chairperson of the AU Commission, reiterated that the event aligns with the AU’s flagship project Agenda 2063, a blue print that seeks to achieve prosperous, integrated and peaceful Africa by the year 2063.
Mahamat said that the event creates huge opportunities in different areas.
“The AIW is a huge economic opportunity, a business platform that has a potential to create new value chains, new markets and attract more investors and address the question of youth unemployment and productivity.
“Others are skill revolution, and rebranding of Technical and Vocational Education and Training,” the Chairperson said.
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 200 selected young innovators and startups will be pitching their projects throughout the six-day event.
In his opening remarks, Getahun Mekuria, Ethiopia’s Minister of Innovation and Technology, said the future of Africa’s young population was in the innovation areas.
This will underline the need to create environment that enables the youth to become employers and job creators in the service and the manufacturing industry sectors.
The AIW 2019 will be wrapped up on Saturday by awarding African innovators and startups from countries including Ethiopia, Nigeria, Togo and Uganda, whereby 50 finalists will win 1,000 dollars, and the top 5 prize winners will be awarded 5,000 dollars each.