AfriLabs Annual Gathering

Fostering African Innovation: AfriLabs Annual Gathering 2023 Sparks High-Level Dialogue in Kigali

Last year, AfriLabs hosted its Annual Gathering in the city of Kigali, Rwanda, from October 11th to 13th. At the heart of this landmark event was a high-level dialogue that united influential figures from across the continent to tackle the pressing policy challenges faced by African technology and creative startups. The dialogue, masterfully facilitated by Stephanie Busari, CNN Correspondent and Editor, brought together a distinguished panel of speakers who shared valuable insights into the evolving landscape of African innovation.

Among the notable attendees was Esther Kunda, Director General of Innovation & Emerging Technologies in Rwanda, representing Honourable Paula Ingabire, Minister of ICT and Innovation. Rebecca Enonchong, Founder and CEO of AppsTech and Co-Founder of I/0 Spaces, a prominent AfriLabs Trustee from the USA/Cameroon was also in attendance. The lineup featured Anna Ekeledo, Executive Director of AfriLabs; Tamer Taha, Advisor to the Minister representing Dr. Raina Al-Mashat, Minister of International Cooperation of Egypt; and other key personalities shaping Africa’s tech and innovation ecosystem. The dialogue resonated with the passion and commitment of these individuals, all dedicated to propelling Africa into a new era of technological and creative excellence.

The dialogue delved deeply into the challenges of accessing capital for startups, with Tomi Davies, Founding President of the African Business Angel Network (ABAN), emphasizing the importance of local investors. “Supporting local investors is crucial to de-risking startup investment in Africa. Government funds should follow, not lead, risk-prone investments,” he asserted. This sentiment underscored the necessity of fostering a supportive financial environment to spur entrepreneurial growth.

Rebecca Enonchong highlighted the power of collaboration, stating, “This stakeholder forum is not in vain. Together, we’ve built solutions to challenges faced by startups in Africa.” She pointed to Catalytic Africa, a matching fund by ABAN and AfriLabs, as a prime example of initiatives aimed at strengthening African startups and angel investors. Her words underscored the transformative potential of unified efforts across the continent.

Tamer Taha, representing Egypt’s commitment to innovation, assured stakeholders of the nation’s dedication to co-create solutions for startups. He announced the creation of a fund of funds, inviting innovative ideas on leveraging these funds for sustainable economic growth. This announcement marked a significant step towards mobilizing resources and fostering a thriving startup ecosystem.

Tracy Okoro, State Adoption Lead of the Nigeria Startup Act, emphasized AfriLabs’ unique role as an aggregator. “AfriLabs has built solid partnerships and networks across Africa. With the Aggregator program, countries will collaborate through AfriLabs to distill solutions and solve challenges,” she explained. This role positions AfriLabs as a crucial connector and facilitator in the African innovation landscape.

The high-level dialogue at AfriLabs Annual Gathering 2023 was not just a discussion—it was a commitment. A commitment to collaboratively navigate the challenges faced by startups, create innovative solutions, and solidify Africa’s position in the global tech and innovation landscape. As the dialogue concluded, the air was thick with determination, setting the stage for a future where Africa’s startups thrive and innovation knows no bounds.

Join Us for the AfriLabs Annual Gathering 2024 in Cape Town

Building on the momentum from Kigali, we are excited to announce the AfriLabs Annual Gathering 2024, taking place from November 5th to 8th in the beautiful city of Cape Town, South Africa. This event promises to be another pivotal moment in fostering collaboration, innovation, and growth across the continent.

Be part of this transformative journey and join us in continuing to shape the future of African innovation. Register now and be a catalyst for change in the continent’s burgeoning tech ecosystem: