The maiden edition of the Africa Technovate Awards came off successfully on Saturday, April 2 at the grand auditorium of the University of Professional Studies (UPSA) in Accra, with 17 technology institutions and individuals winning honours.
The event, organised by Africa Integrated Development and Communications Consultancies (AIDEC), was held under the theme ‘Information Technology and the Way Forward for Africa under the Fourth Industrial Revolution’.
Addressing the ceremony, Chairman for AIDEC, Robert Yenneh, said the award scheme was organised to motivate technology innovator ‘Technovate’ to become even more competitive and enthusiastic about driving Africa on the road of a fast-transforming technological world.
Highlighting the importance of technology and innovation as a critical economic development tool, Mr. Yenneh noted that the way forward for Africa is to devise more smart policies to maximise and harness the gains of technology, as the answers do not lie in its denial.
“The many successes of 2021 and the host of fast-growing tech companies across the continent are creating hope for more fantastic feats in years to come. Generally, the pandemic has forced a greater demand for digital reliance across the board, and this outcome is likely to be here to stay in the ‘new normal’ as the utility of more abundant data and the ever-lower cost of using those data influence how entrepreneurs, policymakers and professionals make decisions. The pandemic, however, is just one driver of current trends. Climate responsibility, continued economic development, demographic shifts, and social well-being are also key drivers.
“One thing is certain; there is no turning back for us now amid this new normal. However, one thing that should be of concern is how we can devise more smart policies to maximise the benefits of technology,” he said.
Country Director for GIZ Ghana, Regina Bauerochse Barbosa, emphasised the need to effectively train and equip Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) with the necessary digital skills, noting that they serve as a lever for integrated, sustainable and inclusive development.
She said the ability to leverage technology has opened up room for different opportunities in sectors ranging from logistics to healthcare, education and across different markets; but SMEs, particularly in the informal sector, have a hard time leveraging these opportunities because they lack the requite skills.
“As an integral factor in the pursuit of Agenda 2063 of the African Union, the Digital Development Strategy (2020–2030) emphasises the role of digital transformation as a lever for integrated sustainable and inclusive development. It addresses the untapped potential of millions of offline and unbanked inhabitants while considering risks arising from an existing and growing digital, income and gender gap.
“In contrast to the thriving start-up scene in urban centres like Accra, it is particularly rural areas and informal businesses that have not yet fully benefitted from the opportunities of digital transformation. Particularly, the digitalisation of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises bears huge potential for growth and employment. Yet the uptake and use of respective digital tools and channels is frequently prevented by a lack of digital skills or awareness of such services,” she said.
Full list of award winners
- The Digital Agribusiness of the Year – Esoko
- Tech Insurance Company of the Year – BIMA
- Fintech Company of the Year –HUBTEL
- E-Health Company of the Year – Africa ICT Right
- Outstanding EduTech Institution of the Year – Academic City University College
- Digital Innovation and Creativity of the Year – Chatbot Africa
- Digital Business Transformation of the Year – Enterprise Computing
- Tech Startup of the Year – MSoft
- Young Tech Startup of the Year – Gambia Tech Project (The Gambia)
- Blossoming Tech Company of the Year – Soko Aerial
- Mature Tech Company of the Year – Isolutions Associates (Kenya)
- Ambitious Tech of the Year – DreamOval
- Long Standing Service Engagement – Delbondtek
- Quality Standards – Research ICT Africa
- Digital Excellence – Hanergy Global
- Outstanding Entrepreneur of the Decade – Alex Bram
- Lifetime Achiever of the Year – Prof. Nii Narku Quaynor