GIIG and UNICEF Ethiopia Join Forces to Support African Startups

The Global Innovation Initiative Group [GIIG] is excited to announce a significant milestone in its mission to champion and cultivate innovation throughout the African continent. UNICEF Ethiopia has joined as a sponsor and strategic partner for the upcoming 2022/23 Global Startup Awards [GSA] Africa Summit. This collaboration marks a pivotal moment in Africa’s burgeoning startup ecosystem and underscores our collective dedication to harnessing innovation for sustainable development.

Scheduled from October 26 to 28, the 2022/23 GSA Africa Summit will be hosted at the Ethiopia Arts and Science Museum in the lively city of Addis Ababa. This event, in collaboration with the Ethiopian Ministry of Labour and Skills [MOLS] and the Ethiopian Ministry of Innovation and Technology [MinT], has garnered support from the Ethiopia Entrepreneurship Development Institute [EDI]. The inaugural edition of the summit in 2021 propelled GSA Africa onto the global stage as the foremost platform for recognizing and celebrating innovation across all 55 African countries. It remains the sole continent-wide competition aligned with sustainable development goals, underscoring its commitment to tackling critical global issues through entrepreneurship and innovation.

Today, 20 March 2023, Dr. Aboubacar Kampo, UNICEF Representative in Ethiopia, Alemitu Umut, State Minister of Women and Social Affairs, and H.E. Mr. Stephen Auer, German Ambassador to Ethiopia, attended the inauguration of the UNICEF-supported One-Stop Centre for Gender-Based Survivors in Gode, Somali Region, Ethiopia. © UNICEF Ethiopia | 2023 | Ayene

The theme for the upcoming summit is “Building Innovative Nations and Innovation-Based Economies,” with a particular emphasis on harnessing Africa’s youth potential and fostering cross-border partnerships. The highlight of the event, the gala dinner and awards ceremony on October 27, will celebrate 15 winners whose groundbreaking solutions address pressing global challenges. These exceptional innovators will gain exclusive access to the GIIG Africa Fund, further empowering them to make a significant impact on the continent and beyond.

UNICEF operates in 52 countries across Africa, steadfastly committed to protecting the rights of every child in the region. In Ethiopia, UNICEF collaborates closely with the government in vital areas such as health, nutrition, water, sanitation, hygiene [WASH], child protection, education, and social policy. This partnership with GSA Africa underscores UNICEF Ethiopia’s dedication to digital transformation and its potential to elevate living standards and promote equal rights.

Dr. Aboubacar Kampo, UNICEF Country Representative in Ethiopia, emphasizes, “Our participation in the GSA Africa Summit is an excellent opportunity to promote local innovative solutions in Ethiopia and the rest of Africa that will improve the lives of women and children. By investing in young innovators and startups, we are investing in the future generation. An estimated 41 percent of Ethiopia’s population is under the age of 15. Encouraging young people to think outside the box on how to improve the wellbeing of families through innovation is also an opportunity for UNICEF to embed these new solutions into our programming which can only benefit the nation.”

This partnership signifies a convergence of vision between UNICEF Ethiopia and GIIG. Both entities share a common goal of nurturing and amplifying innovative solutions that can drive positive change in Africa.

Jo Griffiths, co-founder of GIIG, emphasizes, “In collaboration with UNICEF Ethiopia, the Summit’s discussions will offer a targeted perspective on leveraging innovation to address urgent challenges, improve quality of life, and set a course for sustainable progress for both present and future generations. As we advocate innovation, it’s important to remember that its core purpose is not only technological advancement but the transformation of lives. Having UNICEF’s support is not just an endorsement, but a beacon for all innovators in Africa. Their commitment and vision align with ours, and together, we’re confident of setting another benchmark this year.”

The GSA Africa Summit serves as an invaluable platform for investors, sponsors, and donors to directly engage with Africa’s burgeoning innovation landscape. This year, an impressive 8,272 entries were received from 54 African countries, resulting in the recognition of 71 regional winners spanning Northern, Southern, Eastern, Western, and Central Africa. The gala dinner, a highlight of the summit, will welcome a diverse network of stakeholders, including startups, government delegations, like-minded investors, and foundations, who will witness the crowning of 15 final winners.

Ethiopia’s role as the host country underscores the summit’s ability to accelerate and amplify African innovation on the global stage, an essential step in attracting investment and expanding into new markets. This commitment to nurturing African talent is exemplified by the success of Kubik, an Ethiopian startup that not only claimed the titles of Startup of the Year and the ESG category in the previous season of GSA Africa but also secured the coveted title of Global Startup Awards’ Startup of the Year.

In conclusion, the partnership between GIIG, UNICEF Ethiopia, and other key stakeholders is set to make the 2022/23 GSA Africa Summit a milestone event in the African innovation landscape. By harnessing the potential of youth, fostering cross-border collaboration, and recognizing groundbreaking solutions, the summit aspires to drive positive change, nurture innovation-based economies, and contribute to the sustainable development of the African continent. The convergence of UNICEF Ethiopia’s commitment to child rights and digital transformation with GIIG’s vision for innovation creates a powerful alliance that holds the promise of a brighter, more innovative future for Africa and its people.

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