Africa Innovation Summit II – Call for Application Launched across Africa for Innovations Addressing Continent’s Challenges

Africa Innovation Summit II – Call for Application Launched across Africa for Innovations Addressing Continent’s Challenges

KIGALI, Rwanda, March 13, 2018/ — The Africa Innovation Summit (AIS II), which will take place from 6-8 June 2018 in Kigali, Rwanda, under the esteemed patronage of His Excellences President Paul Kagame and Pedro Pires (ex-President of Cabo Verde), announced a call for applications to innovators across Africa whose solutions have the potential to solve the continent’s challenges.

The AIS II seeks innovative and disruptive solutions to the major challenges facing African countries, which include energy access, water, food insecurity, health systems, and governance. As a platform for multi-stakeholder dialogue and actions, AIS II will bring together people with the power to act, from all parts of the continent and elsewhere, including Heads of States and Governments, Ministers, corporates, innovators, investors, policy makers and academics, researchers, as well as policy, science and technology experts, with the aim of building robust ecosystems for innovation in Africa to ensure Africa’s structural transformation.

Dr. Olugbenga Adesida, co-Director of AIS, indicated that “AIS provides more than a robust and dynamic platform for multi-stakeholder dialogue, but rather a catalyst for “Made in Africa” innovations that are already addressing the challenges faced on the continent, but need assistance to take root and scale across the continent.”

The AIS has partnered with Enterpriseroom, a transformation consultancy specializing in starting, sustaining, and accelerating businesses, to drive the sourcing and selection of up to 50 Innovations across the continent, to be showcased at the Summit. The CEO of Entepriseroom, Tracey Webster, said “We are delighted to partner with the AIS and believe the innovations selected to be showcased at the Summit will have a unique opportunity to engage the right stakeholders when it comes to discussing and unlocking blockages in the eco-system that are preventing solutions from going to scale, or ideas being commercialized.” AIS firmly believes that the solutions are in Africa and innovators need to be at the table architecting a conducive environment for Innovation to thrive in Africa.

AIS is therefore calling all African innovators to apply for this unique opportunity. The innovators selected must meet the following criteria:

  • Know or have an innovative idea or solution that can drive positive change in Africa and;
  • The solution must be at a critical stage: either ready to commercialize or ready to scale.

The identified innovators will meet influential people, policy makers, and investors who are ready to discuss Africa’s development challenges and ways to solve them. They will also have the opportunity to interact with like-minded African innovators and change agents who are driving a new era of change in Africa.

Applications and additional information can be found on the AIS website:

Applications close Friday, 30 March 2018.

UN expert urges new Weah Administration to advance freedom of expression

UN expert urges new Weah Administration to advance freedom of expression

MONROVIA, Liberia, March 12, 2018/ — Liberia needs to lock in and expand the gains made in the years since the civil war, in particular in the areas of freedom of expression, media independence and government transparency, a UN expert said after visiting the country.

At the end of a week-long visit, the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, David Kaye, said the new administration’s commitment to freedom of expression deserves the strong support and encouragement of all sectors of Liberian society and the international community.

“Liberia has come a long way since the civil war, and the space for open and indeed vibrant debate in the country is remarkable,” Kaye said.

“After two democratic elections marked by increasingly active media and free expression on the campaign trail,” the Special Rapporteur said, “Liberia enjoys a particular moment to savour its early post-conflict successes.”

“It is a fraught moment, however, given the deep economic problems the country faces and the legitimate demands of the Liberian people for an improvement in the economy and basic institutions of governance. In such a moment, strengthening guarantees in law would signal globally that Liberia is indeed, in President Weah’s phrase, ‘open for business’.

“At the top of the priority list,” Kaye added, “should be the decriminalization of defamation, in keeping with basic international and regional standards, and the transformation of the state broadcasting system into an independent public broadcasting service. Legislation for both is already pending in the legislature, and their quick enactment at this early stage of a new administration would signal to Liberians and the international community a basic commitment to rule of law and media pluralism.”

Pointing out that Liberia adopted in 2010 one of the strongest freedom of information laws, the Special Rapporteur urged the authorities to prioritize implementation. “The Access to Information Act depends on political will for its implementation,” he said. “I particularly urge the authorities to actively disclose and disseminate information, through online mechanisms, regular press briefings, and other tools.

“The strength and diversity of the media depend on more than just legal change, though that is foundational,” Kaye added. “In the face of poor working conditions and extremely limited funding and equipment, the media, governmental actors, and international donors should collaborate to improve the sustainability and professionalism of journalism in Liberia.

“I also note that women journalists face significant challenges and opportunities, but they are evidently quite underrepresented in the profession. I urge all stakeholders to take steps toward better gender balance in the profession, an outcome that would strongly benefit all consumers of the media in Liberia.”

Kaye concluded by underlining his intention to work further with the Liberian Government. “Liberia maintains a very good and open dialogue with various human rights mechanisms. I thank the authorities for their openness to engage in frank discussions at the highest levels and I look forward to exchanging information on my recommendations,” he said.

The expert, who visited the country at the invitation of the Government of Liberia, met with Government authorities, including the President. He also held discussions with civil society organizations, journalists, academics, students, and lawyers. The Special Rapporteur will prepare a report to the Human Rights Council on the main findings of his visit and make recommendations on the promotion of the right to freedom of expression in Liberia.

#AIS2018 – Registration Announcement

#AIS2018 – Registration Announcement

KIGALI, Rwanda, March 8, 2018/ — This June the Africa Innovation Summit (AIS) will bring together about 1,000 innovators, entrepreneurs, policy makers, business and political leaders, as well as academics, researchers and investors who are “thinkers and doers” to join minds for three days in the land of thousand rolling hills Kigali, Rwanda to reflect on how Africans can innovate to address the pressing challenges facing the continent, such as water, energy, food security, health, governance and poverty.

This is a three-day event of inspiring talks, dialogues, hands-on exploration, and futures oriented analysis aimed at mobilizing and inspiring stakeholders to undertake collective actions to promote innovation and the building of robust innovation ecosystems in Africa able to provide the enabling environment to finally address the perennial challenges facing the continent.

The AIS is an exciting and dynamic event that is focused on “how to promote innovation in Africa.” The AIS promotes “synthesis” and it is not simply a tech-oriented platform. The AIS will include an Exhibition Track with up to 50 Start-ups and SMEs to showcase “Made in Africa” innovations to address the challenges facing the continent.

So come participate and work with us to build the AIS into a continental platform for the promotion of innovation in Africa.