Zambia Commits to Youth-Led Development with ICT Innovation Awards and Startup Initiatives

Minister Mutati emphasizes government commitment to youth-led development through ICT innovation awards, Startup Bill, and policy initiatives.

Ministry of Technology and Science Minister Felix Mutati says Government is committed to provide an inclusive and Youth – Led Development Process appreciating the “Youth Think Outside the Box” ongoing interventions that are destined to leap frog many impediments and challenges that any Nation experiences towards economic progress as stipulated in the National ICT policy, recently established Innovation Fund and the current ongoing development Startup Bill soon to be concluded for consent.

Speaking on behalf of the Minister during the 2023 finalists cohort participants in the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Innovation awards, the Ministry Permanent Secretary Dr. Brilliant Habeenzu said Government reaffirm its commitment to support the youth as key ingredient towards the Country’s aspirations for economic growth and development so as to create more jobs and wealth for the prosperity of Zambia.

The Minister was grateful to confer the finalists Top – Five 2023 ICT Innovation awardees and launch of the 2023 ZICTA ICT Innovation programme that is responding to Government’s aspiration of creating jobs and wealth for the people as espoused in the eighth National Development Plan (8th NDP).

The Minister commended the Zambia Information and Communication Technology (ZICTA) for establishing the ICT Innovation programme that took off in 2016 as an initiative aimed at nurturing and supporting promising Technological Innovations that present viable solutions to some of the County’s prevailing challenges.

He disclosed that since its inception and over the years the programme has successfully supported over Five Hundred Youth Innovations drawn from various parts of the Country with a growing number of female participants.

The Minister was grateful to indicate that over Thirty percent of the innovations have been tapped into the market – commercialization activities nurtured through the Ministry’s agency National Technology and Business Center (NTBC). He commended various partners inclusive Airtel Networks and Stanbic Bank Zambia for ensuring that the programme continue to grow and respond to the needs of innovators.

The Minister said as mandated and in charge of Technology and Science in Zambia, the Ministry is diligently working hard with assurance to facilitate an enabling environment that supports the development and scaling up the upcoming innovations into tangible solutions as ICT Innovation was now a game changer of economic interventions.

And representing ZICTA Director General Benard Banda said over the last four years the communication authority has injected over Three Million Kwacha into the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Innovator’s programme.

Mr. Banda said the Authority recognized and honored Top – Five Innovators who attended various trainings and workshops in order to prepare them not only for technical but equally nurtured to attain Youth – Case Commercial aspects and provide for Social Impact of innovations in the ecosystem.

He commended Programme partners for establishing technology and industry lineages to drive and spur innovation and entrepreneurship economic enablers.

And Stanbic Bank Representative Yaza Kara who is Head of Digital Transformation, said the bank joined efforts to partner and support the ICT innovators in view of the financial entity’s business strategy that significantly back and spell out the need to continue stimulating economic growth by enhancing entrepreneurship for progressive change and financial inclusion. She said the bank recognized the importance of innovation and believed growth was achievable hence the need to embark on the innovation journey to promote, incubate, and accelerate entrepreneurial activities.

Meanwhile, the main ICT Innovation sponsor, Airtel Networks Limited Managing Director Hussam Baday said the network provider entity has on a long time been supporting innovations that are critical to the economic development.

Mr. Baday said Airtel has aligned its organization work efforts to the Eighth National Development Plan that seeks to facilitate investments in building digitally skills among the youths and providing some foundation in the science and technology. He said the network provider firm is yet again aligned to the government’s three I’s digital transformation of incentives, investment, and inventions.

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