The event, which kicked off with a media briefing, gathered investors, development practitioners, corporate executives, entrepreneurs and other stakeholders from within Africa and around the world for a high-level panel session and startup pitch sessions.
Powered by Airbus’s aerospace accelerator Bizlab, Make-IT in Africa (a project implemented by GIZ), UP42, and executed by CcHUB, the third edition of the 3-month long program designed to support African startups held, through a collaboration with Airbus and GIZ, with a Proof of Concept (POC) at the end of the programme.
Speaking during the press briefing, Rey Buckman, the Africa4Future Program Lead at Airbus Bizlab, emphasized the program’s objectives of developing and leveraging the link between Africa, entrepreneurship and aerospace.
Matthias Rehfeld, a Senior Advisor at Make-IT in Africa, and Sean Wiid, Chief Product Officer at UP42, reiterated their commitments as partners on the acceleration programme on behalf of their respective organisations while emphasising the abundant opportunities in Africa when entrepreneurs utilise aerospace technologies.
“When we started CcHub ten years ago, we knew Africa needed to figure out how to leverage the application of technology to leapfrog development across the continent,” remarks Bosun Tijani, Founder and CEO of CcHub.
He adds that geospatial technology is knowledge-driven and has the immense capability to leapfrog infrastructural development in Africa.
During the panel session, Ndidi Nwuneli, Managing Partner at Sahel Consulting, and Markus Müller, Lead Data Science Engineer at UP42, discussed the role of new technologies in unlocking business opportunities across multiple sectors.
Nwuneli emphasised the need to transfer technology to farmers and the critical role extension workers play in the process.
The ten startups in the 2020 cohort pitched their ideas to over 600 live audiences comprising of investors, corporate executives, development practitioners, entrepreneurs and other stakeholders from all around the world.
The solutions range from improving access to financing for African farmers, to yield prediction, minimising risks through near real-time data analytics, reducing losses, improving logistics infrastructure etc.
The startups, selected from 212 applicant pool, are Grow For Me (Ghana), AgriEdge (Morocco), DMM.HeHe (Rwanda), XY Analytics (South Africa); Fastagger and Flamingo Foods (Kenya); Agrorite, Crop2Cash, EPINEC and Rural Farmers Hub (Nigeria).
Joseph Ibeh is a Mandela Washington Fellow and Senior Analyst at Space in Africa. His experience spans industry research and market analysis with a focus on African-grown NewSpace companies, commercial space industry, national space programmes and real-life application of space science for sustainable development in Africa.