‘Solve IT! 2020’: U.S. & Co Launches Innovative Competition in Ethiopia

ADDIS ABABASolve IT 2020, a nationwide innovation competition to encourage young Ethiopians to address community issues through the application of software, hardware and other technologies, launched on Wednesday.

The third in a series of competitions, Solve IT 2020 will be promoted across 15 cities in Ethiopia and seeks to support youth across the country to develop innovative projects, promote entrepreneurship, and solve local problems through technology.

Solve IT 2020 will be implemented by iCog Labs, with sponsorship from the US Embassy, JICA Ethiopia, the Federal Small and Medium Manufacturing Industry Promotion Authority, and the Federal Urban Job Creation and Food Security Agency.

“Solve IT aims to decentralize technology by increasing the availability of technological products in all regions of the country,” Bezawit Kassaye, Project Manager, Solve IT, explained.

“Often technology is found in the cities and is usually not attainable or affordable for the middle and lower classes,” she said. “Hence, this competition is allowing for all social classes throughout the country to have an opportunity to connect with technology to make their lives easier and solve their daily struggles.”

As the name implies, Solve IT encourages Ethiopian youth to find ways to solve local problems using technological innovation.

Participants enter the competition by developing a product to solve a prominent issue within their community.  In addition, a core component of Solve IT is the focus on providing mentorship to participants.

“Moreover, Solve IT does not just decentralize technology, but it also allows for the creation of jobs and several opportunities for the youth” Bezawit said.

She said creates an environment where the youth are focused on creating jobs rather than finding them.

“Thus, Solve IT provides an alternative solution to the problem of unemployment that is currently facing a majority of the youth,” she added.

Image Caption: From Left  – Asfaw Abebe, Director of the Federal Small and Medium Manufacturing Industry Promotion Authority; John Ice, U.S. Embassy Spokesperson; and Bezawit Kassaye, Project Manager, briefed provided a briefing on the Solve IT! 2020 program.