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AfriLabs 10th anniversary innovating across Africa to coincide with annual conference

AfriLabs, a leading Pan-African network organisation dedicated to growing technological capabilities across the continent is commemorating 10 years of operations, which would coincide with this year’s ‘Annual Gathering’ conference.

The organisation, which was founded in 2011 with five hubs across four African countries, has grown over 10 years, to have over 300 member hubs across 119 cities in 50 African countries. AfriLabs, according to a statement following a virtual press briefing on Wednesday, has been at the forefront of enabling innovation in Africa for the past decade. It has been serving as a nexus point for innovation hubs across the continent, providing support to the community of rapidly evolving technology hubs through financing, mentoring, networking opportunities, and other capacity-building initiatives, to produce high-potential entrepreneurs that will positively impact the continent’s socio-economic status.

“The African tech ecosystem has witnessed increased levels of growth in the past few years and this growth did not happen in a vacuum,” said Anna Ekeledo, executive director, AfriLabs. “It is largely attributed to the innovation ecosystem, particularly support systems via tech/innovation communities like AfriLabs who have played a crucial role in nurturing startups and entrepreneurs.”

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The organisation is also set to host its 2021 Annual Gathering conference, which it says is “the largest convention of brilliant African innovation hub leaders and ecosystem builders on the continent”. The theme for this year’s gathering is “AfriLabs at 10: A Decade of Empowering and Inspiring Innovation across Africa” and is scheduled to hold in Abuja, Nigeria from 25th – 27th October 2021. The event will provide a unique opportunity for players in the innovation community – ranging from hubs, start-ups, academia, investors, corporate organizations, and development agencies –to convene, network, and share knowledge on driving innovation across the continent.

“The 2021 AfriLabs Annual Gathering is special to us as it coincides with AfriLabs 10th anniversary. Looking back at all we have accomplished in this past decade, we are so proud of our contributions to the development of the Innovation Ecosystem in Africa, and this edition provides an opportunity to spotlight the remarkable growth the African Ecosystem has witnessed over the years,” added Ekeledo.

For this year’s Annual Gathering, AfriLabs says it has partnered with organizations such as GIZ Make-IT, Mozilla, Honoris United University, and Liquid Intelligent Technologies. Due to Covid-19 restrictions across the globe, the AfriLabs Annual Gathering will be a hybrid event and interested participants can register online.

In its 2020 impact report some of the key milestones recorded by the organisation include:

· 1 million+ large community of hubs and start-ups in the African Tech Ecosystem reached and engaged in AfriLabs programmes and activities

· Influencing policy in 5 African countries

· 2,000+ members of the innovation enablers community in 56 countries and the 5 regions of Africa have been trained on how they can better support start-ups

· 1200+ stakeholders have been engaged through the Virtual Meetup Grants and 58 percent of these stakeholders are females

· 279,000 Euros in grants given to community members in 2020

· 212 start-ups have been supported through business development support, mentoring, funding &78 percent of these start-ups are female-led

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