Africa Internet of Things and Artificial Intelligence Challenge (Africa IoT & AI Challenge) was officially launched at the IEEE Global Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Internet of Things (IEEE GCAIoT) in collaboration with several regional and local partners throughout the Middle East and North Africa, including the Egyptian Academy of Scientific Research and Technology, the Egyptian Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, and Benya, with the aim of developing qualified technical cadres and accelerating the process of digital transformation. The challenge is scheduled to launch its physical activities in Egypt, Kenya, Morocco, Tunisia and Uganda on the 25th of May 2021, followed by Nigeria, Rwanda, and South Africa in the last quarter of the year. However, the challenge is addressing the whole Africa continent online and participants can join its activities from other countries virtually.
Africa IoT & AI Challenge is a regional capacity-building and pre-incubation program for senior university students and startups that have innovative ideas in the areas of the Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), and related fields. The challenge is not just a competition, it’s a digital transformation movement. The challenge provides its participants with all the technical and logistical support they need. After the training, participants compete in the local finals, then winners from each country get qualified to the regional finals, which are held annually within the activities of the IEEE GCAIoT.
The challenge primarily aims to build capacity in the fields of artificial intelligence, internet of things, and related fields for university students and young entrepreneurs in various countries in Africa, and to help the best graduation projects and startups to be ready for investment, developing an environment of innovation and entrepreneurship, and create a network to support the digital transformation movement in Africa. This is supported by the "IoT & AI Knowledge Hub", which is a knowledge complex that provides online workshops, lectures, and online learning resources for the IoT & AI community in Africa and the Arab world, as well as discussion panels, interviews, and other types of online content to help them to start their careers in these fields and to learn about expected career paths, resources, and tools that are useful to them in their career, in addition to listening to the success stories of African engineers and developers working in giant technology companies and how to follow their steps.
The challenge represents the partnership and the concerted effort of several partners. Benya is the official sponsor of the challenge, in collaboration with the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), in academic partnership with Nile University, Arab Academy for Science, Technology & Maritime Transport, University of Dubai, and Mohammed V University in Rabat. Global Innovation and Entrepreneurship Company (GIE) with Ideaspace and WAKANDAI Ventures collaborate in organizing and implementing these goals on the ground.
As Andy Chen, the president of IEEE TEMS, says: “In TEMS, we focus on people, and our collective tagline is “Leaders Enabling Products/Services for Good.” Along with technology, we need exceptional talents for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, which is important for creating socially impactful products and services. The IoT & AI Challenge is designed to encourage young talents to take on the challenges that can create an impact for humanity, which is also the tagline of IEEE. We are not just organizing the challenge; we are also providing the youth with all the necessary knowledge and insights into the tech industry that’s happening through our “ IoT & AI Knowledge Hub”.
Eng. Ahmed El Beheiry, founder of WAKANDAI VENTURES, conveyed his gratitude to see this event happening across Africa and confirmed that WAKANDAI commitment to support the AI and IoT adoption in different industries and bring solutions and applications to the African communities that will witness the shaping of a new era of prosperity and enlightenment.
Eng Ahmed Mekky Chairman and CEO of Benya also added Benya Ventures, the investment arm of Benya will be playing a key role in the investment in the high potential digital startups in Africa The Africa Challenge, correspondingly, will enable Benya Ventures to explore talents and scale existing potential startups in the digital arena, coupled with its solid expansion plans to provide a comprehensive ICT value chain and eventually enhancing the lives of the communities they serve Benya is dedicated to building a digitally united and smart MEA region On the sidelines of the Africa Challenge
The challenge comes in line with the global trend of greater interest and exploitation of technology in various spheres of life, as the technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution have transformed societies over the past 30 years, and technologies based on information and communication technology, internet of things and artificial intelligence have played a fundamental role in the development of many areas related to applied sciences, engineering, health, transportation, and all life aspects. There is a new wave of technological progress that creates new opportunities, testing the ability of governments to take advantage of the benefits of such progress, and many innovations are also providing various opportunities for less developed countries to take advantage of new and changing markets.