For eight consecutive years, AfriLabs has served as a means for members of the innovation community to leverage their vast network of African technology and innovation ecosystems through its annual gathering.
As a testament to AfriLabs’ efforts to reshape the future of African innovation, the AfriLabs 2023 Annual Gathering was hosted by Rwanda’s Minister of Information and Communications Technology (ICT), Hon. Paula Ingabiré.
The AfriLabs 2023 annual gathering held in Kigali, Rwanda from October 11 to 13 had the theme “Accelerating the digital economy in Africa; by the strength of our community.
This event was an opportunity for stakeholders from different sectors to come together under one roof, not only to exchange knowledge, but also to see for themselves how collective action can help shape the future of this continent towards a fully digitalized Africa by 2030.
The event gave attendees access to key investor networks and stakeholder groups, including high-profile startups, academics, media partners, development organizations and industry titans . This is why the annual AfriLabs gathering remains the largest convention bringing together brilliant leaders of African innovation centers and ecosystem builders on the continent.
As the theme suggests, each activity of the event was designed to foster Africa’s digital economy with presentations of different tracks and panel discussions that remind the technological ecosystem of African countries that it is necessary prioritize the creation of an environment conducive to the development of startups.
Anna Ekeledo, Executive Director of AfriLabs, confirms that the African technology ecosystem is stronger than ever and ready to give innovation all it takes in her welcome speech: “Our young and dynamic population is eager to harness the power of technology and innovation to overcome challenges and create opportunities. in Africa.
“For the 8th edition of the annual gathering, AfriLabs has promised high-level panel discussions and dialogue, masterclasses led by industry experts and networking opportunities. Let’s take a journey into how these goals were achieved.
“We’ll walk you through how critical industry topics were covered during the tracks and sessions.
The Investors track of AfriLabs’ annual gathering in Kigali, Rwanda, explored the financing gaps in the African technology and innovation ecosystem and the innovative solutions needed to bridge these gaps.
The course included a number of panel discussions on topics such as Investing in Disruption: The Power of Industrial Digitalization, Unlocking Global Markets: The Role of Capital in Innovation, Fueling Success: The Power of Programs acceleration and mentoring in startup ecosystems, and other fireside sessions. conversations.
These topics were discussed by Nelly Mukazayire – Deputy CEO of Rwanda Development Board, Esther Kunda, Director General of Innovation and Emerging Technologies, Ministry of ICT and Innovation, Government of Rwanda and other leaders from the industry. One of the key learnings from this is the importance of emphasizing financial literacy, creating a product that fits the market we operate in, and understanding failure as a learning curve.
The Climate Change and Adaptation track brought together experts and innovators such as Eric Tambo, Associate Academic Manager at UNU-EHS, Germany, Martin Karanja, Director of GSMA Innovation Fund, Kenya, Sieka Gatabaki, Program Director, Mercy Body, Kenya, Etta Ayuk. , CEO of Mountain Hub, Cameroon, Mr. Bankole Oloruntoba, NCIC – Nigeria and Sonia Umulinga, CEO of Plasticraft Ltd, Rwanda, to explore sustainable approaches to climate action by accelerating support for climate change adaptation through the continent.
There was also a dedicated track for creatives and artists, this track was graced by MI Abaga, Artist/Founder and CEO of Tasck, Nigeria, Steve Tchoumba, Executive Director of ActivSpaces Cameroon, and other leaders from the industry. The intersection of creativity and technology stream of the AfriLabs 2023 annual gathering showcased cross-sector collaborations and innovative initiatives that leverage technology for business expression and development, and showcased the potential of technology to revolutionize the various creative industries in Africa.
A series of enlightening panel discussions took place, each highlighting the potential of technology to revolutionize various creative industries on the continent. Sessions included “Harmonizing the Future: Africa’s Music Revolution Powered by Technology,” “Africa’s Gaming Renaissance: Boosting Creativity and Entrepreneurship,” and “Indigenous Art in the Digital Age,” among others.
The Gender Inclusion component highlighted the importance of diversity and gender equity in the technology and entrepreneurship sectors.
The Afrilabs 2023 annual gathering hosted several panel discussions and a fireside chat aimed at closing the gender gap in Africa’s startup ecosystem. The sessions encouraged accelerating women into leadership, removing barriers to inclusion in the public and private sectors, innovating pathways to close the gender gap, tackling the funding gap gender in Africa: myths, realities and solutions, and design for all: inclusive and universal innovation. Accessibility.
These exciting topics were dissected by Jennifer Okeke-Ojiudu – Senior Manager of Ecosystem Engagements, AfriLabs (Moderator), Sonnia Agu, CEO of SA Consulting, Nigeria, Berna Rusagara, Executive Director of Women for Women, Rwanda and other incredible speakers .
The Hub Solutions & Sustainability component looked at how African technology and innovation hubs can offer quality support to startups while remaining profitable. The Afrilabs 2023 Annual Gathering featured several sessions and workshops focused on hub solutions, sustainability and management, including a panel discussion on sustainable crowdsourcing business models, the Hub in a Box concept, a panel discussion on how the innovation ecosystem can benefit from open innovation approaches. followed by the launch and introduction of the Open Innovation Toolkit by Make-IT in Africa and Veridian. These roundtables and workshops provided insight into how clusters can design their business models and overcome challenges to financial sustainability.
The Policy and Data-Driven Africa track explored policy challenges and data-driven decision-making and governance strategies for inclusive growth in Africa. There was also a ministerial roundtable focused on policy harmonization.
The keynote speaker was Lacina Kone, CEO and Managing Director of Smart Africa, a pan-African initiative that aims to transform Africa into a single digital market.
The AfriLabs 2023 Annual Gathering was a great success with high-level panel discussions and dialogues, meetings, a tour of the Rwandan ecosystem, exhibitions, masterclasses by industry experts, networking , an engaged pan-African and global audience and a gala evening.
This proves that AfriLabs, as Africa’s largest network of technology and innovation hubs, plays a central role in promoting innovation on the African continent, with its commitment to encouraging entrepreneurship and creativity focused on technology, through various initiatives and programs such as the annual gathering, RevUp Women. , The AfriLabs Connect Deal Room, AfriLabs Connect, The working mother’s guide, launched by Jennifer Okeke-Ojiudu, Senior Ecosystem Engagement Manager of AfriLabs, etc.
AfriLabs is a dynamic innovation-driven organization that has been empowering and building community around innovation hubs and other stakeholders in various African countries since 2011.
These hubs serve as physical coworking spaces and dedicated offices, providing comprehensive training and invaluable support in areas such as business, legality and finance to African entrepreneurs, innovators, developers and young people.
Through active involvement in these hubs and their communities, AfriLabs actively contributes to training innovators and entrepreneurs, thereby stimulating economic growth and social development across Africa.