Tanzanian among finalists of ATU innovation challenge 2020

17Oct 2020
By Guardian Reporter
The Guardian
Tanzanian among finalists of ATU innovation challenge 2020

TANZANIA'S Placidius Rwechungura was among finalists of the African Telecommunications Union (ATU) Innovation Challenge 2020.

ATU Secretary General, John Omo.

Rwechungura's innovation is an android App that allows farmers to get connected with each other as well as with experts.

The platform is also critical for farmers to plan, monitor, analyse and manage all farm activities easily by enhancing networking including with farm experts, farm input suppliers, markets and financial institutions.

A statement from ATU said that the 35 year old man topped the East Africa region together with fellow contestant Abdinoor Yerrow from Kenya.

Winning the top prize was North Africa's Mai Nagy who will be taking home USD 5000 for her innovation, a virtual science lab that allows students to conduct science experiments virtually.

The innovation, according to Nagy, has been structured to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic which has forced the shutdown of schools in many countries in the continent.

“Today, students lose the benefit of carrying out experiments in school laboratories. Our innovation seeks to fill this gap,” said Nagy, defending the initiative.

ATU Secretary General, John Omo commended the challenge partners for their support, affirming that the Union is keen to pursue cooperation with institutional investors, bilateral or multilateral providers of finance, and other sources to further support the competition winners.

“Our aspiration is to be as helpful as possible in identifying, testing and highlighting innovative adaptation approaches with potential to be replicated and scaled,” he said.

Joseph Mucheru, Kenya's Cabinet Secretary for the Ministry of ICT, Innovation and Youth Affairs who was the chief guest said that ICT is recognized as an important driver for social and economic development.

“As the ICT community, we have chosen to be part of the solution at a time when the problem is too dominant,” he said.

Huawei Group Vice President, Tao Hou noted that if countries build more networks, digital skills and content, it can help to reduce inequality in Africa – enabling those in remote areas and the disadvantaged to access quality education and healthcare.

In his recorded speech, Egypt's Minister of Communications and Information Technology, Amr Talaat agreed with his counterpart from Cameroon, Libom Minette on the importance of winners to build partnerships that will help realize accessibility of the innovations.

Other than the title sponsor Huawei Technologies Company Limited, the challenge also attracted the partnership of Intel Corporation, GSM Association, the International Telecommunications Union and the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, Egypt.

Intel Corporation's Government and Policy Director for Africa, Dr. Bienvenu Soglo expressed the desire of Intel to sustain its relationship with the challenge winners beyond the award ceremony.

“Our shared experience in the recent months in combating Covid-19 has been extraordinary. It is our conviction that enabling and accelerating access to digital infrastructure through extensive partnerships will support this fight,” he said.

The competition, launched by ATU—a specialized agency of the African Union in the field of telecommunications, was designed to identify and support young African innovators who have developed innovations useful for benefiting the fight to contain Covid-19 and possibly other emergency situations in Africa in future.

ATU believes that investments and commitments in ICT will be the fastest way to support economic growth and bring more Africans into the fast-growing Digital Economy.

The event also recognized the top two participants from each of the regions of Africa. Those awarded in this category include, Yasmin Eldeeb (Egypt), Kudakwashe Clinton Nyamhuka (Zimbabwe), Mouhamadou Lamine KEBE (Senegal), Tiisetso Masilo (Lesotho) and Olusegun Adegun (Nigeria)