Intel AI Programme for African DeepTech Startups & Ecosystem Stakeholders Concludes Successfully in Kenya

AfriLabs, in collaboration with Intel successfully concluded a three-day event dedicated to the advancement of DeepTech and AI ecosystems in Africa. Held from May 28 to May 30, 2024, at Sankara Hotel in Nairobi, the event brought together government officials, ecosystem stakeholders, AI startups, developers, and representatives from research institutions.


The event commenced on May 28 with the formal recognition of the diverse group of attendees, setting a collaborative tone for the discussions to follow. Opening remarks were delivered by prominent figures including Mr. David Ogiga, Board Member of AfriLabs; Mr. John OMO, Secretary General of the African Telecommunications Union; Mrs. Lisa Walker, Managing Director for Africa Operations at Prosper Africa; and Dr. Bienvenu Agbokponto Soglo from Intel. Their speeches underscored the critical role of AI and DeepTech in driving socio-economic development in Africa.


A panel discussion titled “Challenges and Opportunities of DeepTech in Africa/Kenya – Socio Economic and Policy Implications” featured insights from industry leaders such as Mr. Olutomi Olutola, Senior Connectivity and Digital Advisor at USAID Africa; Dr Isabelle Kandagor, representing the Director General of the Communications Authority of Kenya; Mr. Michael Mutiga, Chief Business Development & Strategy Officer at Safaricom; and Dr. Bienvenu Agbokponto Soglo from Intel. Moderated by Susan Mbogo of Intel, the discussion explored the multifaceted landscape of DeepTech in Africa.


Following a brief photo session and coffee break, the event was preceded with an AI Policy Roundtable. This session featured Dr Isabelle Kandagor, representing the Director General of the Communications Authority of Kenya; Mr. Savio Wambugu, Chairman of the Association of Countrywide Innovation Hubs; Dr. Samuel Ruhiu, Lecturer at the University of Nairobi; and Mr. Mario Romao, AI Policy Director at Intel. Moderated by Dr. Bienvenu Agbokponto Soglo, the roundtable addressed the regulatory and ethical considerations essential for fostering AI innovation in Africa. The first day concluded with a Q&A session, providing a platform for attendees to engage with the experts and get clarity. 


The second day, focused on AI startups, developers, and community hubs. Prof. Emmanuel Mutisya, PhD, Chairperson of the Global e-Schools and Communities Initiative and Board Chair of the Kenya Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (Kenya-AIST), delivered opening remarks emphasizing the importance of academic and industry collaboration in advancing AI.


Ralph de Wargny from Intel introduced the Intel® Liftoff for AI Startups Program, followed by Nathan Reddy’s presentation on the Intel Developer Cloud, highlighting the resources available for AI development. Stephana from Intel presented the Intel OneAPI initiative and introduced various AI tools at Intel, providing a comprehensive overview of the technological advancements and support systems available for developers.


After a coffee break, Kate Hach from Intel shared lessons learned from assembling a DeepTech/deal flow program, engaging participants in a Q&A session. This was followed by an open exchange led by Dr. Eugenie from Intel, discussing the impact of startup community programs on local ecosystems. The day concluded with a wrap-up session by Dr. Bienvenu Agbokponto Soglo, summarizing the key takeaways and setting the stage for future initiatives.


On the final day, the event provided presentations from various hubs, showcasing their contributions and innovations in the AI and DeepTech space as well as networking opportunities, further solidifying the connections made and the knowledge shared over the previous two days. The focus remained on actionable insights and the way forward for AI and DeepTech in Africa.


Anna Ekeledo, Executive Director at AfriLabs, remarked, “The collaboration and insights shared over these three days underscore the tremendous opportunities ahead. AfriLabs is proud to partner with Intel in driving innovation and sustainable development across Africa.”


Dr. Bienvenu Agbokponto Soglo, Director of Government Affairs Africa and IGA CTO Liaison, emphasized that “Cultivating innovation in Africa demands strategic partnerships and community engagement. The Intel AI programme for African DeepTech Startups & Ecosystem Stakeholders in Kenya exemplifies our commitment to empowering local talent and driving sustainable technological advancement across the continent, especially in AI.”


AfriLabs and Intel are committed to continuing their support for the African DeepTech and AI ecosystems, fostering innovation, and driving sustainable development across the continent.


About AfriLabs:


AfriLabs is the largest network of technology and innovation hubs across Africa, driving the growth of Africa’s innovation ecosystem. With a mission to support the development of the African technology and innovation ecosystem, AfriLabs connects hubs and other stakeholders to facilitate collaboration, resource sharing, and knowledge transfer.


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