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Trending News -Rwandan Prime Minister Edouard Ngirente Addresses The Africa Innovation Summit in Kigali

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Africa Innovation Summit 2018

Rwandan Prime Minister Edouard Ngirente Addresses The Africa Innovation Summit in Kigali. According to East AFrica Business Week report  the Prime Minister of Rwanda Edouard Ngirente has said the challenge facing Africa is building robust ecosystems of innovation.

Africa Innovation Summit 2018

“I am happy that the Africa Innovation Summit (AIS) is helping our countries build a culture of innovation as a way of life. It is a critical element of development and economic growth. In Rwanda, we will be launching a research and innovation fund to address the key needs of our country. Resolutions and recommendations from AIS will play a key role,” said Prime Minister Edouard Ngirente.

Africa Innovation Summit (AIS) is an Africa-wide and home grown initiative aimed at harnessing the innovation potential of the continent. It aims to mobilize the people and, especially those with the ‘power to act’, including investors, the people with the ideas, the policy makers, the researchers and academics, the business community, the youth, as well as innovators and thinkers into a coalition for collective action to promote and build an enabling environment for innovation in Africa. The goal is to engage as many people as possible in order to build a broad constituency in support of innovation in Africa. The basic fact is that Africa cannot outsource its development.

The AIS platform includes regular Summits to promote dialogue, facilitate exchange of best practices among stakeholders and African countries, showcase what is happening on the continent, and share lessons of experience. The platform also includes engaging with African researchers and scholars to undertake case studies to tease out lessons of experience in order to facilitate learning by stakeholders. The African Innovation Exhibit which is also part of the AIS provides a stage to showcase homegrown innovations and innovators on the continent, while the Hackathons will challenge the people to come up with solutions to specific problems. The exhibitions and hackathons will allow stakeholders to seek ways to scale up potential solutions.

Each AIS will build on the previous ones by deepening the dialogue, engaging a wider number of stakeholders, as well as by focusing Africa’s innovation potential to address the challenges facing the continent. The aims are to identify path breaking ideas and disruptive solutions to be developed and/scaled up in Africa as well as build a constituency to help address the fundamental challenges facing the continent.

The Prime Minister of Rwanda Edouard Ngirente was the morning official opening the Africa Innovation Summit (AIS) 2018 open in Kigali, Rwanda.

AIS II will focus on innovative and disruptive solutions to the major challenges facing African countries, which include energy access, water, food insecurity, health systems, and governance.  As a platform for multi-stakeholder dialogue and actions, Africa Innovation Summit (AIS) II is Africa’s only summit on innovation that seeks to foster action-driven dialogue between African innovators and stakeholders in Government, private sector, civil society and academia to ensure African solutions are concretely given the opportunity to scale in a measurable way. The summit has been going on since 6th June and continues till today 8 June 2018.

Simba Mhuriro, an innovator and speaker from Zimbabwe, challenged African governments to support innovators who are tackling Africa’s major challenges.

“To our leaders, 20 years from now, how will you explain it to us if most of us innovators are employees instead of entrepreneurs driving Africa’s development forward?” He said. “Local innovations can only be local if the benefits are realized in Africa. Governments have to create regulations that allow financial institutions to fund African innovators at a large scale.”

The summit is meant to create a community of innovators that will not only meet to dialogue on solutions but also create ecosystems that will enable them to share ideologies beyond the summit.

Dr. Olugbenga Adesida, Co-Director of AIS, said “The AIS puts African innovators front and centre. They are the people working daily to identify Africa’s challenges and develop appropriate solutions to create the continent we all want to see in the future. They do this with very little local support. The basic fact is that Africa cannot outsource its development. We aim to change this by not only creating dialogue around the challenges and opportunities our innovators face, but also to foster concrete, multi-stakeholder action to support and scale their businesses. We will all be better off if African innovators are provided with conducive ecosystems to thrive.”

From 600 applications from 44 countries, a selected group of 50 innovators will have a unique opportunity to engage stakeholders in discussing potential solutions to some of the blockages that are preventing solutions from going to scale.

 

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Afro Success Stories

African Entrepreneurs creating Jobs and Employment in Their Communities – Olasupo Abideen

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Olasupo Abideen ” My greatest achievement is being a 25yr old employer who employs 35 people and has trained 475 Others” as one of african entrepreneurs.

Meet Olasupo

I am a 25year old one of Nigerian african entrepreneurs, founder/CEO of OPAB Gas with over 6 years of transnational experience leading and working with diverse teams to facilitate youth empowerment, development projects and youth involvement in policy. I am a UNESCO ESD Young Leader, a WEF Global Shaper and a Fellow, Young Africa Leadership Initiative.

Since receiving the $5000 Seed Capital in December 2018, my Company has created employment for thirty-five (35) University undergraduates (through our Work Student and Student Ambassadorship Program), opened ‘four (4) new Gas stores’, and trained ‘four hundred and seventy-five (475) unemployed youth and corps members‘ (through our #Gasprenuer Initiative). As a means of giving back to the community, we have also helped ‘five (5) kids’ return to school through our #StreetToSchool programme for our Community.

My Humble Beginnings

I watched my mother walk long distances to gather firewood and buy coal to cook for my family in my growing up years in my village in south-west Nigeria, where I was raised. It wasn’t peculiar to my mother; this was commonplace for all families. We all knew it wasn’t safe. We knew that if it made them this uncomfortable, there was no way it was safe, but we didn’t know there were alternatives. After all, this is how our grandparents and their parents before them lived.

It bothered me to see my mother’s red eyes, and the wet eyes of other women in our rural community bothered me a lot. Even though I did not know until recently that cooking with firewood is equivalent to smoking 400 cigarettes per hour, and is one of the three causes of mortality among women and children, I knew there had to be something I could do, but I couldn’t figure it out; or better put, I did not have enough education nor access to information to figure it out.

 

My Business Idea

The Idea to start my business came from a need that I identified and solving that problem meant a business opportunity. As a student of chemistry at the University of Ilorin, I was exposed – through volunteering – to MDGs (and subsequently SDGs), and I took a keen interest in clean, renewable energy, that could be used instead of orthodox fuelling options, and one of them was Liquefied Petroleum Gas.

After a long time of advocacy for SDGs, as an undergraduate, my SDGs advocacy and youth development organization, Brain Builders International, signed an agreement with the Kwara State University’s Community Development and Entrepreneurship Centre to train young Nigerians african entrepreneurs on the Sustainable Development Goals, their benefits, and ways toward actualisation.

I noticed that every time I took the 55min trip to Kwara State University to facilitate these training sessions, I would encounter students carrying gas cylinders: either going to fill Gas in Ilorin or coming back from Ilorin after filling Gas. I later learnt that the only cooking gas supplier in the community at that time was exploiting the students by using a manual scale that could be manipulated and also selling at a rip-off price.

 

Solving the Problem

In 2017, I took a soft loan from a friend, added some of my own moneyand after conducting intense market research, filing necessary papers, and satisfying ethical and professional standards, we opened our first OPAB Gas station. The services we offered hinged on three things; convenience, safety, and trust. Students could now focus on academics, as we did not only sell gas at the standard rate, but we also offered pick-up and delivery services. We used safe measures alongside a digital scale to address the issue of trust. Within three months we had broken even.

The TEF Intervention

In 2018, I applied for the Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme but was only selected for the GIZ list to be one of the 210 beneficiaries of the training and $5000 funding. The training provided by the foundation on business planning, financial intelligence, scalability, among others could only be likened to a mini MBA.

Immediately after the training myself and my team we started discussing how to dominate the market in which we operate and capture new markets.

With the seed capital, we were able to expand our business.

 

Our Growth and Milestones as one of african entrepreneurs

  • Expansion: We have expanded the business to 6 stations in two townships to target the student populations and made over $25,000 since receiving the seed capital from the foundation.
  • Employment: Staff strength – 2 (in 2017), 35 people (2019).
  • Gas on Wheels: We now own delivery vans and offers delivery services
  • Digitization: We now take orders on the business’ website in both cities where we operate.
  • Introduced Customer Loyalty service
    • Health safety card – to educate users about safety measures.
    • Customer reward: Points reward system.
    • Holiday Promos
  • we also have a few impact initiatives that we run.
  • OPAB Gas has trained 450 Youth Corps members, unemployed youth in Kwara State on the economic merits of the Gas economy and the many opportunities that abound in the sector.
  • In line with the UN SDGs, OPAB student work experience – an internship programme where we train students. During this internship, they work on Sundays for a stipend. They then receive N10,000 for every 1000kg of gas sold.
  • OPAB gas student ambassador scheme – delivery service.

 

The Future

The vision for OPAB Gas has always been to solve energy availability and ease of use for everyone across Nigeria so we are constantly working on ways to reach out to more Nigerians.

Our OPAB telemetry solution will allow people to monitor and manage their gas usage, notify them when it is almost finished, connect them to the nearest gas stations and pay for gas with existing mobile money applications.

 

 

Contact Details

Website: https://opabgas.com

Instagram: @opabgas_

Phone call/WhatsApp: 07068775529.

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