A African Telecommunication Union (ATU), launched on August 20 the ATU Africa Innovations Challenge 2020; a contest designed to identify and support young African innovators who have developed useful mobile apps to assist in the struggle to contain COVID-19 'and possibly other emergency situations in Africa in the future. According to ATU's Secretary General, Mr. John OMO, the winner of the main prize of the competition will take home a cash reward in the amount of US $ 5.000, in addition to getting involved in other mentoring and partnership programs.
“This challenge will be critical to recognizing, testing and highlighting disruptive innovations and new business models that have the capacity to redefine Africa,” said Mr. OMO, who also stressed the importance of African institutions in supporting initiatives that create, innovate and provide the continent. To that end, he suggested, a joint effort by stakeholders at all levels is necessary.
The launch event whose discussion focused on the theme: How can Africa rise above the impact of COVID-19 through innovation; brought together a series of innovators, ministries, ICT regulators, academia and ICT organizations.
Also speaking during the launch event, Guest Chief Hon SEM Mamadou SANOGO, Minister of Communication, Digital Economy, Post, Information and Communication Technologies of Côte d'Ivoire reiterated the need and urgency to do everything possible to support the fight against COVID-19 including through initiatives such as the Africa Innovations Challenge. "Innovation has become the main differentiating element that can provide economic opportunities for our young people," he said.
Announcing Huawei as a primary sponsor, Mr. OMO said, ” We are happy to bring Huawei on board. For more than 20 years, Huawei has been building ICT infrastructure, promoting ICT skills and enabling innovation in ICT across Africa. We believe that the trusted partner can support this initiative with their expertise, vision and experience both globally and locally. "
Vice President of Public Relations at Huawei North Africa Region, Mr. Loïse Tamalgo, who also took part in the event, highlighted the value of innovative approaches to growth on the continent, as well as the company's dedication to investing in talent development . “We look forward to working with ATU to bring out the creativity and entrepreneurship that reside in African youth, ”He declared.
The ATU innovation challenge is an initiative that aims to provide short and long-term solutions and opportunities for African youth. With the growing suppression of the social fabric in many communities in Africa as a result of COVID-19, and considering the fact that much of Africa's population is young people who generally live in difficult conditions, competition promotes the idea that the ability to Countries' readiness for digital solutions can significantly help to address some of these challenges.
The event was also used to reveal the new ATU logo as part of the effort to reform the Union brand.