A few years ago, Segway inventor Dean Kamen observed that, “Every once in a while, a new technology, an old problem and a big idea turn into an innovation,” which encompasses the premise that Africa’s challenges will spur innovations that aspire to solve our local problems and perhaps go on to change the world.
Over the years, we have seen local solutions like Safaricom’s M-Pesa, grow into a global mobile money product that today is not only threatening traditional financial systems all over the world but is bridging the financial inclusion gap at an unprecedented rate.
Technology is not only a driver of development but is likely to be the linchpin that will have our continent leapfrogging to middle income status. To achieve this, we are going to need a critical mass of highly qualified professionals in STEM fields.
Girls In ICT Rwanda are lending their expertise to make sure that women will make up a significant number of future Scientists, Engineers and Mathematicians through their flagship event, Ms.Geek Africa.
In partnership with the Ministry of ICT and Innovation, Ministry of Youth, Smart Africa Secretariat and Imbuto Foundation, the third edition of Ms. Geek Africa is underway.
Ms. Geek Africa 2018 winner.
This year’s contestants are a diverse group of high school and university girls from across Africa. They have travelled from as far afield as Nouakchott (Mauritania) on the North Western corner, to the Democratic Republic of Congo in the East, to representatives from right here in Rwanda to mention but a few.
On 16 May, on the sidelines of the Transform Africa 2019 summit, each finalist will pitch their idea to a panel of distinguished judges.
This year, the bar has been raised to new heights, contestants are trying to solve problems around fake medication, blood management and storage, mobility and navigation for the visually impaired and much more.
For the last week, the contestants have been working with Girls-in-ICT and their partner GIZ’s Digital Transformation Centre that aims to develop impact driven digital solutions and developing the eco-system capacities to polish their projects ahead of the Ms.Geek Africa grand finale.
Girls-in-ICT believe that in addition to the technical-based mentoring, it is important to spend some time on essential life skills like confidence building and public speaking during the boot camp guaranteeing that the contestants will be a group of well-rounded young ladies.
The last six years has seen Ms. Geek grow from strength to strength making it a safe bet that it will be quite a treat listening to how today’s young ladies are trying to boost Africa’s digital economy.
Ms.Geek Africa finale will be held at the Kigali Convention Centre on 16 May 2019 at 8.30am.
The writer is a tech enthusiast based in Kigali.
The views expressed in this article are of the author.