Sixty young Zambian Innovators are set to showcase their innovations in the 2020 cohort of the ICT Innovation Programme launched by the Zambia Information and Communications Technology Authority (ZICTA).
Speaking during the virtual launch in Lusaka recently, ZICTA Director General, Engineer Patrick Mutimushi, said the 2020 cohort would see innovations in the lines of Digital Financial Services, Road Safety, Education, Energy, Agriculture, Climate Change, Water and Sanitation, Health including responses to the COVID-19 pandemic.
ZICTA, who have partnered with Airtel Networks Zambia as the main sponsor of the Programme in the second year running, hoped to see the various innovations nurtured into commercially viable solutions and respond to some of the socio-economic needs as a country.
“This is the 4th year that the Authority is running this prestigious Innovation programme and I would like to take this opportunity to extend our special gratitude to Airtel Networks Zambia Plc, who are our main programme sponsors for the second year. This is a clear demonstration of the importance placed by our operators in growing the ICT sector through promoting ICT related innovations and entrepreneurship,” Engineer Mutimushi said.
“The innovation programme is in line with our mandate as prescribed under Section 6 of the ICT Act of 2009 – to promote research, development and the use of new and appropriate technologies in the sector.”
Mr Mutimushi also announced the joining of Stanbic Bank Zambia Limited as another sponsor and thanked all other partners for the continued support for the effective implementation of the programme.
“We are happy to also recognise Stanbic Bank who have come on board for this year’s edition as one of our sponsors. We are indebted to all our partners and we are truly grateful,” Engineer Mutimushi said.
And speaking at the launch, Airtel Networks Zambia Plc Managing Director Mr Apoorva Mehrotra said his company recognised its responsibility in bridging the digital divide and furthering the ICT agenda of the Government and the critical role that the company played in enabling connectivity as the country battles the coronavirus pandemic.
“We realise how this programme fits extremely well with our mission of providing globally admired technologies and services to give Zambians an easy and dependable way to connect with the world and we would therefore want to congratulate ZICTA for coming up with this grand idea to start a program such as this one,” Mehrotra said.
“We would also like to congratulate the 60 who have been selected for this cohort and say to the ones not selected that you should not lose heart but ask yourselves the tough questions of…. ‘Are you solving an important problem through your innovation and is your innovation scalable? Is your innovation going to make a difference to the lives of Zambian citizens and accelerate their wellbeing? If the answer to the above questions is a resounding YES, then don’t worry, you will have an opportunity to shine.’”
A total of sixty innovations out of Two Hundred and Forty Two applications received have been selected by an independent panel of experts.
These innovators will receive technical and business development support over the next six months. At the end of the programme, the best three will receive financial support towards their innovation initiatives.
The virtual launch was viewed by more than 200 participants from various walks of life.
This has been issued by Airtel Head for Corporate Communications and Government Relations, Mrs. Yuyo Nachali-Kambikambi and ZICTA Corporate Communications Manager, Ms. Ngabo Nankonde.