Young Innovators Cash in on First African Innovation Week

ADDIS ABEBA – A total of 75,000 USD has been awarded to winners at the first edition of African Innovation Week (AIW2019) on Saturday.

The event was successfully concluded on the day the top five young innovators and fifty other runner-ups have been recognized at the Innovation Week which was hosted at the African Union Commission in Addis Ababa.

The innovators and startups had the chance to pitch their projects to judges throughout the week starting from October 28, 2019.

The awardees were picked based on the scores given to them by a set of 4 judges for each pitching session that comprised of up to 34 pitchers per day.

During the scoring process, judges took into consideration the project’s viability, economics, rigor, impact as well as the pitchers’ delivery and punctuality among other criteria.

The top 5 innovators, who are from Rwanda, Ethiopia and Togo, received 5000 USD each for their projects in categories of AgriTech, Digitalization, E-commerce, Manufacturing Technology and Mining Industry.

Both the winners and the runner-ups which received 1000 USD each will continue to get support from IBA Ethiopia Center for Innovation and the Ministry of Innovation and Technology through further training, grants and sponsorship, said the organizers in a statement sent to Ethiopian Monitor.

Officials expressed a plan to make the African Innovation Week an annual event.

“We are more than happy to join hands with IBA Ethiopia to make sure that this event is hosted yearly where our young people can showcase their creativity and innovation,” said Getahun Mekuria (Ph.D.), Ethiopia’s Minister of Innovation and Technology, in his closing remarks.

The final day also witnessed when recognition was given to Traditional Medicine Practitioner, Hakim Abebech, for her lifetime achievement in preserving, building and promoting indigenous knowledge and innovation in Africa to lay down a foundation.

Hakim Abebech has been nominated for the Grand African Innovation Award which was officially launched at the closing ceremony by IBA Ethiopia Center for Innovation CEO Ayalew Desta.

The award will officially start being presented at African Innovation Week 2020. The United Nations Development Program the first edition of AIW award 2019.

Overall more than 3000 participants have taken part in the first African Innovation Week. The six-day event comprised of panel discussions in areas of Digitalization, Fintech & E-Commerce, Women Innovation and Entrepreneurship, TourismTech & Hospitality, as well as Trade & Investment.


Caption: officials of UNDP and Ethiopian government with the five innovators that won 5000 USD each