The Ethiopian center for innovation (IBA) has announced the launch of African Innovation Week (AIW) with Addis Ababa set to host the first continental event.
To be hosted later on this year by IBA Ethiopia, it is expected to bring delegates from a number of Scandinavian nations.
The six day festivity is set to start on October 28 and end on November 2. It is planned to help provide an innovation platform through advanced technology and science as a strategy to create needed employment among youth.
“Africa is a continent where 60 percent of the entire population of youth is aged below 25. All of the world’s top 10 youngest countries by median age are in Africa. Unless we embrace this fact and start investing in the youth, the statistic will remain a huge bulge that we let go to waste,” said Hailemariam Desalegn, Former Prime Minister of Ethiopia and Patron of IBA Ethiopia Center for Innovation. “We have young people that are already recognized for their innovations that bring on positive changes in the daily lives of people in their community. But it is important to understand that there is still a missing link in which investors can be encouraged to support these innovations.”
IBA Ethiopia is known to help accelerate small and medium size startups, emulated by the success of IBA Norway, which is known to focus on start-up-ecosystem, and public initiatives, which according to the organizers is, “a relevant and transparent project to create a profound impact in Ethiopia.”
Involved in the preparation are the African Union Commission and the Ministry of Innovation and Technology (MInT) that have increasingly taken interest in startups and youth engagement.
“The ministry is working on the creation of national innovation ecosystem comprising incubation, acceleration, access to funding and post incubation among others. Getting the innovators and the investors in the same platform at the African Innovation Week goes a long way in achieving agendas of job creation, wealth creation and technology capacity building,” said Ahmedin Mohammed, State Minister at MInT. Furthermore, MInTwill undertake the selection process of youth innovators in Ethiopia
Representing the African Union Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat, ambassador Rosette Katungye said that the AUC is helping to organize the AIW with a belief in the potential it can create in boosting job opportunities for the youth.
The initiative is supported by the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Addis Ababa, Oslo International Hub and the ENNC–Ethiopian Norwegian Chamber of Commerce and other partners.
AIW is a Pan-African initiative creating innovation platform determined to move Africa towards an inclusive and prosperous continent led by advancements in technology and science, helping bridge the gap between innovation and investments.