RLabs represented on AfriLabs Annual Gathering banner

At the end of October 2019, RLabs was represented at the AfriLabs Annual Gathering held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia by its Chief Executive Officer, Rene Parker and it’s Chief Innovation Officer, Christine Taphel. AfriLabs was founded in 2011 to build a community around rapidly emerging tech hubs―innovation spaces that serve as meeting points and communities for developers, entrepreneurs, and investors. It believes that supporting the development of the African technology and innovation ecosystem enables Africa to participate in the global knowledge and innovation market place thereby stimulating economic growth.

Christine Taphel, CIO of RLabs

The AfriLabs Annual Gathering provides a unique opportunity for tech hubs in the AfriLabs network and other stakeholders in the African tech ecosystem such as local innovators (entrepreneurs), corporates, investors, academia and developmental agencies to convene, network and share knowledge. The 3-day Gathering featured interesting and relevant panel discussions, keynote addresses, multiple parallel workshops, local ecosystem tours, networking sessions, and open-floor exhibitions. 

We were also honoured to have our CEO, Rene Parker on one of the panels discussing: Increasing Participation of Women in the African Innovation Ecosystem. “Research shows that sub-Saharan Africa boasts the highest rate of women entrepreneurs in the world at 27% (UN Africa Renewal, 2018). However, in-depth studies show that the majority of these female-led entrepreneurs are challenge-stricken small businesses with very few actively included in technology and innovation, without relevant support and opportunities to scale up. Recent trends have proven that the inclusion of women in tech and innovation would bring about a tremendous positive change! This cannot be overemphasized as it will boost creativity, productivity, innovation and economic diversification/empowerment, outcomes which are necessary for achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.” – AfriLabs. Hence, the AfriLabs Annual Gathering 2019 has featured this panel session on “Increasing Participation of Women in the African Innovation Ecosystem”. 

Below is the speaker lineup for this panel:

1. Fiifi Baidoo, Chief Technical Officer/Co-Founder, iSpace Foundation, Ghana (Moderator)

2. Dr Anino Emuwa, Founder of Avandis Women CEO Network

3. Rene Parker, Director, RLabs, South Africa

4. Andrew Rugege, Regional Director for Africa,

International Telecommunication Union (ITU)

5. Letty Chiwara, Representative to Ethiopia, Africa Union

and United Nations Economic Commission for Africa at

United Nations Women

6. Nekesa Were, Managing Director, iHub, Kenya

One of the key highlights for all members is that the Annual Gathering is a unique opportunity for members and other stakeholders to convene, learn the latest hub insights, and build partnerships between and with hubs. When wanting to strengthen the technology and innovation ecosystem across the continent it is helpful to meet face to face with other members and each year the gathering reflects its growth and strength. 

A clear indication of this was showcased during the launch of the #i4Policy Manifesto on Day 2 of the AfriLabs Annual Gathering. Ecosystem leaders across Africa have come together to co-create a policy vision. The #i4Policy community consists of 150 hubs representing 44 countries which have reached more than 700,000 people. These ecosystem leaders believe that “The Future is Co-Created”. 

RLabs is on the #i4Policy task force as well as a member of the AfriLabs Network and through these collaborations; it strengthens relationships, partnerships and networks which is critical for RLabs to reach its goal of impacting 2Billion people through Making HOPE Contagious!

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