Digital Divide: Nigeria’s Veritas university, others, top Africa-wide competition

Communication Authority of Kenya Director General, Mr. David MUGONYI hands a dummy cheque to Zetech University's Samuel Kinuthia

By GRACE AUDU, Abuja –

Nigeria’s Veritas University, Kenya’s Zetech University and Sierra Leone’s BlueCrest College, have topped the third edition of the African Telecommunications Union (ATU)-led, ATU Africa Innovation Challenge.

Sponsored by Intel, Huawei, the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and the GSMA, the competition which sort to recognize ground-breaking solutions that address the digital divide and promote equitable access to telecommunications/ICTs services across Africa, received entries from twenty-six institutions of higher learning in Africa.

Veritas University, one of Nigeria’s promising private universities, is  based in Bwari, Abuja, and owned by the Catholic Church.

Veritas University’s ‘Engineering Lab,” won the competition with its innovative initiative focusing on providing hands-on learning experiences for young innovators. The practice is structured to inspire young tech enthusiasts to develop software-driven solutions that tackle community challenges and promote sustainability.

Utilizing a blend of emerging technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT), the Veritas Engineering Lab has catalyzed numerous innovations. One notable outcome is the development of Smart Irrigation Systems (SIS), aimed at enhancing agricultural productivity and mitigating food shortages. Veritas won the USD 20,000 top prize.

Speaking during the competition’s awards ceremony in Nairobi, Kenya, on the sidelines of Africa’s Preparatory Meeting for the World World Telecommunication Standardization Assembly (WTSA), the ATU Secretary General, Mr. John Omo, acknowledge the significant impact these innovations will continue to have on shaping Africa’s development.

“With each success story celebrated today, we are igniting the spark for future breakthroughs in technologies that can change the fortunes of the continent,” he said.

Entries from Zetech University and BlueCrest College, which secured grants of USD 10,000 and USD 5,000 respectively, both serve as significant innovation research and development platforms within their institutions.

Director, Government Affairs Africa at Intel, Dr. Bienvenu Agbokponto Soglo congratulated the winners and encouraged the expansion of Digital Readiness by engaging with Governments across the African continent whom he said, must “work together to upskill the youth and current workforce for current jobs and jobs for the future.”

ATU Secretary General, John Omo and partners of the Challenge hand dummy cheque to Dr. Victory JAJA from the Nigeria High Commission who received the award on behalf of Veritas University.

The ATU Africa Innovation Challenge is an annual competition with the purpose of identifying and supporting young African innovators and institutions that devise solutions and create an enabling environment to tackle crucial challenges within the continent.

The Challenge further seeks to inspire pioneering innovations that contribute to advancing inclusive development in Africa in the ICT/telecommunications sector.

Headquartered in Nairobi Kenya, ATU was founded in 1977 as a specialised agency of the Organisation of African Unity, now African Union, in the field of telecommunications.

 

It provides a forum for stakeholders involved in ICT to formulate effective policies and strategies aimed at improving access to information infrastructure and services.

In addition, the Union represents the interests of its 52 Member States (African Countries) and 56 Associate Members (ICT operators), at global decision-making conferences and promotes initiatives aimed at integrating regional markets, attracting investment into ICT infrastructure, and building institutional and human capacity.

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