As Africa continues its quest to catch up with the world in the upcoming Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), the continent has started mentoring its youths to actively participate in contributing to the development of a vibrant digital economy.
The process officially kick-started its local activities in Nigeria with the Africa Internet of Things and Artificial Intelligence Challenge (Africa IoT & AI Challenge) at the weekend, with the aim of building the capacity of qualified youths in the technology field to accelerate the process of digital transformation and serve the goal of digitally uniting Africa.
The challenge covers a number of countries in Africa and the Middle East including Egypt, Kenya, Morocco, Tunisia, Uganda, Nigeria, Ghana, Rwanda, and South Africa.
With a vision of developing an environment of innovation and entrepreneurship, Africa IoT & AI Challenge provides all the technical and logistical support to the participating youths starting from equipping them with advanced technical information in the fields of Internet of Things and Artificial Intelligence to supporting innovative projects and startups to be ready for investment.
The program also established the ‘IoT & AI Knowledge Hub’, a knowledge complex that provides online workshops, lectures and online learning resources for the IoT & AI community in Africa. Through the hub, the participants learn from the success stories of African engineers and developers working in giant technology companies and follow their steps to grow in their own careers.
Africa IoT & AI Challenge applies an innovative regional capacity building and a pre-incubation program model, which makes the challenge not just a competition but a digital transformation movement. The challenge goes through two stages, where participants compete on the local level, followed by regional finals through which winners from each country meet. The regional finals are held annually as part of the activities of the IEEE Global Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Internet of Things (IEEE GCAIoT).
With the support of different regional partners, the challenge represents a model of orchestrated efforts starting from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) as the challenge owner, in partnership with the organizing partners WAKANDAI Ventures, Global Innovation and Entrepreneurship Company (GIE) and Ideaspace.
This successful program received the consideration of prominent business entities including Benya Group, the leading digital solutions and ICT infrastructure provider in Egypt and the MEA region, FinTech pioneer, Banque Misr. The challenge also joins forces with a number of academic partners and universities in each country.
Nigeria IoT & AI Challenge is supported and organized by Digital Africa, putting its extensive experience in the technology management and support field to help the Nigerian youths lead the next steps in the country’s future.
Nigeria IoT & AI Challenge capitalizes on its partners’ expertise and is being organised with the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Pantami in Nigeria as the arrowhead.
The challenge, which was launched last May, comes in line with the global direction towards the exploitation of technology in various spheres of life, as the technologies of the Fourth Generation Industrial Revolution have transformed societies over the past 30 years, creating new opportunities to move towards a sustainable economic growth and achieving the goal of a united digital Africa.
The opening ceremony was held virtually and had in attendance the chairman of Digital Africa, Dr. Evans Woherem, – the local challenge organizer for Nigeria, chair of Africa IoT & AI Challenge, Mr. Mohamed Aboud, vice president for Innovations and Business Growth at Benya Group, the official sponsor of the challenge across Africa, Mr. Muhammad Sameh, managing director of WAKANDAI Ventures – the founding organizing partner of the challenge, Mr. Amr Karim. Also in attendance was the director-general of National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Mallam Kashifu Abdullahi, who was represented by Dr. Abdullahi Usman.