Kigali Downtown  © Pixabay
17.09.2021

Promoting African Start-ups for the Continent’s Urban Future

Smart Cities Innovation Progamme by Rwandan-German Development Cooperation has selected start-ups to make African cities a better place to live

31 start-ups adressing Cleantech & Smart Housing, Smart Mobility and Fintech for Affordability were selected to participate in the Smart Cities Innovation Programme. They will now receive training and tailor-made support to scale up their ideas and make Africa’s urban future more socially inclusive and green.

Africa is rapidly urbanising. The United Nations predict that Africa’s population will grow faster than in any other part of the world, with over half of the continent’s populace residing in urban areas by 2050. To direct this rapid urban growth, technological solutions play an increasingly important role. Smart cities and communities, as evidenced in large-scale pilot projects in Nigeria, Kenya and Rwanda, can help ensure Africa’s urban future is socially inclusive and green.

In face of this endeavour, the Rwandan Ministry of ICT and Innovation and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH – on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) – launched the Smart Cities Innovation Programme (SCIP) on 16-17 September 2021 together with multiple local and international partners, including Siemens, Volkswagen, Amazon Web Services, Jasiri, Viktoria Ventures and more.

Over six months, the SCIP supports African start-ups to scale innovative products which can boost the potential of urbanisation, ensuring smart cities achieve inclusive and sustainable economic growth. By scaling innovations for smart cities, the programme concretely contributes to Africa's urban transformation in line with the Sustainable Development Goals. The SCIP uses Rwanda’s pilot initiative towards green urbanisation, Green City Kigali, as an application case for smart city solutions in Kigali. By testing and adapting their solutions under realistic market conditions start-ups work on a viable business opportunity and explore the potential of the Rwandan market.

During the official launch, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of ICT and Innovation, Yves Iradukunda, underlined the current relevance of the SCIP: “The programme increases opportunities for talents from across Africa and especially in Rwanda. It helps us in engaging and involving partners to scale smart solutions that can ultimately transform the continent’s cities for sustainable economic growth.”

Prior to the official launch, 31 start-ups were selected out of more than 300 innovators that responded to the call for applications issued from April to May. The selected start-ups are grouped in three tracks addressing common topics of smart cities: Cleantech & Smart Housing, Smart Mobility and Fintech for Affordability.

The selected start-ups across each track are:

... for the Cleantech & Smart Housing track: Scrapays, Nigeria; Koolboks, Nigeria; Urbany Africa, Rwanda; Gas360, Nigeria; Dove Air, South Africa; EcoPlastile, Uganda; Messibat, Ivory Coast.

... for the Smart Mobility track: Kiri EV, Kenya;Mazi Mobility, Kenya; Digital Blind Walking Stick, Rwanda; Instadriver, Kenya; Optimalogistic, Tunisia; Gura Universal Link, Rwanda; BasiGo, Kenya; Smatbeba, Kenya; Transport for Cairo, Egypt; EWarren Financial Services, Côte d'Ivoire / Canada; e-safiri, Kenya; Tuverl, Zimbabwe / Kenya; KaCyber Security Tech, Uganda; Expendo!, Kenya; STES Group Limited, Rwanda.

... for the Fintech for Affordability track: Angle Dimension, Malawi, Zambia and Botswana; Cladfy, Kenya; Cofundie, Ghana and Nigeria; Digiduka, Kenya; Flow, Uganda; Insure Pay, Zambia; Mopay, Rwanda; Naa Sika Micro Savings, Ghana; Payclide, Uganda.

These start-ups will receive six months of holistic support including virtual and physical training, individual coaching and mentoring from seasoned experts. Furthermore, they get access to the SCIP’s corporate and public partners as well as investors, allowing for extensive networking and matchmaking. Over the course of the programme, start-ups and partners will build long-lasting relationships to grow each start-up and jointly built Africa’s urban future.

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