Exploring a theme that focuses on collaboration and connectivity, this year’s edition of the Gathering will be held in Lusaka, Zambia from the 25th to the 28th of October.
AfriLabs is pleased to announce the theme for this year’s AfriLabs Annual Gathering – “INTER-AFRICA CONNECTIVITY, COLLABORATION & INNOVATION”. The 2022 AfriLabs Annual Gathering will be held in Zambia and will have Jacaranda Hub as the host hub. This was announced at a press briefing in Lusaka, the Zambian capital.
The AfriLabs Board Chair, Moetaz Helmy during the briefing spoke about the focus for this year’s Gathering. “The Gathering this year focuses on the innate ability of Africa to build Africa. We want to look inward and interrogate how we can scale the innovation economy regionally and across the continent. We want to explore ways we can improve innovation support and tackle our well-known challenges. We are inviting everyone that has Africa’s growth at heart, everyone that believes that leveraging collaboration and communal effort is how we will make progress as a people”
AfriLabs is Africa’s largest community of innovation hubs and enablers who seeks to build a thriving innovation ecosystem, powered by its community of innovation hubs. These hubs provide centres for financial, legal, business, and training support necessary for aiding successful entrepreneurs in developing innovative solutions to Africa’s problems and creating employment opportunities to stimulate economic growth. AfriLabs supports these innovation centres with access to resources and builds their capacity with knowledge sharing while offering a platform for collaboration and partnership.
“This year’s Gathering is themed “INTER-AFRICA CONNECTIVITY, COLLABORATION & INNOVATION” and what better time to explore this topic than now. AfriLabs just celebrated a decade of existence and we are looking into the next decade; what can we do better? What can the innovation ecosystem in Africa do better to improve the quality and impact of the innovations we produce?” said Anna Ekeledo, AfriLabs Executive Director at the briefing. “For there to be growth, there must be sustainable innovation, and for there to be sustainable innovation, there must be structures that support and enable innovation. We can’t scale and sustain our progress if we are not intentional about it.”
The Zambian Minister of Science & Technology, Minister Hon. Felix Mutati was also present at the briefing. “Hosting this year’s Gathering presents an opportunity for Zambia to show more of its potential as a leader in entrepreneurship and innovation in the Southern African region”
“I want to agree with the Executive Director of AfriLabs, that if we are to make progress as an African continent, the doors must be open to each other. We must partner and collaborate with each other to open doors to innovation transformation” he said during his speech. “Collaboration and engagement must be a part of stakeholders’ agenda of supporting startups”.
Speaking on the Zambian Government involvement in developing the local innovation ecosystem, Mara Zhanet Michelo, CEO of Jacaranda Hub, Zambia said “I would also like to commend the new dawn government under the leadership of His Excellency Hakainde Hichilema on its commitment to driving technology and innovation through the newly formed Ministry of Technology and Science. In executing its mandate, the Ministry of Technology and Science is fostering research and innovation in order to improve commercialization and market acceptance in digital economies. The Ministry is now in the centre of the human development process and Jacaranda Hub is proud to be a co-anchor in that development process”.
The AfriLabs Annual Gathering 2022 which will take place in Lusaka, from the 25th – 28th of October 2022 aims to attract hundreds of delegates from all African Countries and the diaspora. bringing together different leaders in Africa from government officials to business executives, hub managers, decision-makers, innovators, and startups.
Through Ubuntu, the Annual Gathering is dedicated to uplifting Africa by relentlessly testing and trying solutions that will enhance resilience in resource utilization and leadership. Interested in partnering with AfriLabs for this year’s edition of their Annual Gathering, send an email to email@example.com and/or firstname.lastname@example.org.
AfriLabs is a network of technology innovation hubs across Africa, it was founded in 2011 with a desire to build a community around rapidly emerging tech hubs in Africa. AfriLabs aims to support the growth of the technology and innovation economy across Africa. The AfriLabs Annual Gathering brings opportunities for hubs in the AfriLabs network and other stakeholders to share knowledge around a common theme and build partnerships. The event was first hosted by Ghana in 2016 and now Zambia will be the first Southern African Country to host it in October 2022.
Currently, AfriLabs boasts of 320 member hubs, and during the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, the network had a massive impact where 70% of women-based projects were supported and €267,000 was invested to support various African communities. Additionally, €36,000 was raised as grants to host SDGs and Covid-19 virtual meetups while over 2,000 ecosystem enablers, staff, and hub managers were trained on best practices for startup support.
The bid to host AfriLabs Annual Gathering in Zambia was secured by Jacaranda Hub and will also be hosted by Jacaranda Hub in partnership with the Ministry of Science and Technology. Jacaranda Hub is a social enterprise and ecosystem developer that provides support to young people and youths through the provision of collective services, infrastructure, and specialized tools and equipment. Founded in 2017, Jacaranda Hub utilizes available global and local resources to upgrade Zambian skills through training programs that aim at progressing public services, businesses, and people’s lives. The organization is mandated to engage Zambian youth in contributing to national commercial and social-economic expansion. As such, this mandate aligns with the government’s agenda of building innovative startups in Zambia and calling for collaboration with the Ministry of Science and Technology to make it possible.
“Our mission is to leverage ICT in promoting the Development of an Entrepreneurial Ecosystem in Zambia” – Mara Michelo, CEO at Jacaranda Hub