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Innovation week concludes bolstering tech friendly society

With hundreds of innovators in attendance, the weeklong African Innovation Week (AIW) 2019 will conclude this afternoon inside the headquarters of the African Union (AU). Organized by the Ministry for Innovation and Technology (MiNT), the African Union Commission and the Oslo International Hub – the event highlighted Women Innovation and Entrepreneurship, AgriTech, Smart Cities, ShelterTech and Circular Energy, HealthTech and Travel and Investment.

“The African Innovation Week is well aligned to our long-term Continental Agenda 2063, with the determination to deliver on the aspiration of African Citizens,” Moussa Faki Mahamat, the chairperson of AU said. “The African Innovation Week 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 employment and productivity, skills revolution and re-branding of Technical and Vocational Education and Training.”

The conference was used as a hub for African policymakers, researchers from the academic and private sector, as well as international stakeholders to meet and strategized and plan to move the continent towards an innovation friendly society.

On Wednesday, the Norwegian Ambassador to Ethiopia, Merete Lundemo, as part of the conference hosted at her residence, a fashion show dubbed Textile and Leather Innovation along with a panel discussion about the opportunities and challenges of the fashion industry and how African designers can partake was held. Among the designers who presented their work were, Lulit Johannes, Kunjjina Tesfaye, Yoadan and Lulit, Lidia Tameru, Meklit Marsha and Bethelehem Abebe.

Former Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn, the patron of IBA Ethiopia Center for Innovation, the local organizer of the conference, hopes the initiative would help stimulate and promote entrepreneurship among young Ethiopians.

“In organizing African Innovation Week 2019, IBA Ethiopia, wants to create a platform where both young innovators and successful investors can be brought together to explore what is needed in order to strengthen the innovation ecosystem in the continent, keep up with international technological developments in various sectors, expand network for possible future partnerships and further transform various sectors of the continent.”

Throughout the conference, more than 200 young innovators and startups pitched their projects and networked with potential partners and investors. And this afternoon, some 50 innovators will be awarded USD 1000 while five will be awarded prizes valued at USD 5000 each.

Getahun Mekuria (PhD), Minister of Innovation and Technology said that, “The future of our young population is in the area of innovation.” “Being innovative creates the majority of the employment in the industry, especially in the service sector.”