Strengthening Africa’s Innovation Ecosystem

Strengthening Africa’s Innovation Ecosystem 2016-11-24T14:51:52+00:00

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Moderator: Dr Charles Kimpolo, African Institute for Mathematical Sciences,  Republic of Congo
Panellist: Prof Bruce Basset, African Institute for Mathematical Sciences South Africa, South Africa
Panellist: Dr Bonolo Mathibela, IBM Research Africa, South Africa
Panellist: Mr Nkululeko Mthembu, Durban Innovation Hub, South Africa
Panellist: Ms Rachel Sibande, mHub Malawi, Malawi
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According to the recently published World Economic Forum Competitiveness Index, Africa still lags behind in higher education and training, innovation and technological readiness. The index also enumerated several challenges, chief among them are an inadequately educated workforce and an insufficient capacity to innovate. Beyond economic competitiveness, this has a direct on people’s lives. The Next Einstein Forum hopes to investigate a concrete way forward through an interactive discussion on global perspectives and local realities.

Panellists will discuss the following:
1. How to improve local tech ecosystems – from lab to start up to revenue
2. Look at trends across Africa in digital and deep tech
3. How to recalibrate public perception about innovation
4. Moving from the digital to deeptech – global perspectives, local realities
5. Funding tech ecosystems, collaborations required

The session will be followed by an interactive question and answer period.
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kimpoloDr Charles Kimpolo
African Institute for Mathematical Sciences, Republic of Congo
Moderator

Dr Charles Lebon Mberi Kimpolo is a Senior Program Manager for the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS) Industry Initiative. He has over 8 years of industry experience in Software Development, Iteration Management, Project Management, Business Intelligence and Data Analysis. Charles’s industry experience also includes skills in teaching and scientific research in the field of Computational and Applied Mathematics. He also has hands-on experience in Agile software development, delivery, consulting and client engagement working in Africa, USA and Asia. He completed his doctoral studies at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), Johannesburg. After completing his doctoral studies, he worked as a short-term postdoctoral fellow doing research with the support of the MRC/Wits Rural Public Health and Health Transitions Research Unit (Agincourt) before working with ThoughtWorks. Charles is the Founder of the Knowledge Sharing Campaign (KSC), a community platform that brings together IT professionals and students in the African Diaspora, who want to share knowledge and experience with each other.
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bassetProf Bruce Basset
African Institute for Mathematical Sciences South Africa, South Africa
Panellist

Bruce Bassett is Head of Cosmology at the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences, Professor of Applied Mathematics at the University of Cape Town and astronomer with the South African Astronomical Observatory. After positions at Oxford and Portsmouth University and a sabbatical at Kyoto University, Bruce returned to South Africa over a decade ago excited by the opportunities in South African astronomy in the era of SALT and the SKA. Bruce is vice-President of the International Astrostatistics Association and his research primarily focuses on applications of machine learning and artificial intelligence to big data. He is also the author of the popular science book “Introducing Relativity” which uses cartoons to explain Einstein’s theories of space and time.
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mathibelaDr Bonolo Mathibela
IBM Research Africa, South Africa
Panellist

Dr Bonolo Mathibela is a Research Scientist at the IBM Research Africa lab in Johannesburg, South Africa. She completed a DPhil in Robotics, at the University of Oxford, in 2014 and joined IBM Research in 2015. Her DPhil research focused on developing algorithms for autonomous driving. At IBM Research, Dr Mathibela works towards developing crisis management systems that positively impact society. She leads the lab’s efforts in Intelligent Transport Systems, and is developing an autonomous platform for reducing traffic congestion in resource constrained environments. Dr Mathibela is also a member of the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society, IEEE Intelligent Transportation Systems Society, a reviewer for the IET Intelligent Transport Systems Journal, and has spoken at several intelligent transport research related events, including the GCRO Smarter Cities Regional Symposium in 2015.
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mthembuMr Nkululeko Mthembu
Durban Innovation Hub, South Africa
Panellist

Nkululeko Mthembu is Founder of The Durban Innovation Hub a vehicle posited to regenerating the startup ecosystem by creating an enabling environment and providing entrepreneurs with functional tools to make their ideas work. Through The Durban Innovation Hub, Mthembu is also responsible for Startup Nations KZN, a strategic macro-engagement programme of the Global Entrepreneurship Network. Mthembu has a penchant for the sharing economy and sustainable smart cities through open data and practical use of civic technology. He is committed to bettering the social landscape of Kwazulu Natal being a World Economic Forum Global Shaper.
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sibandeMs Rachel Sibande
mHub Malawi, Malawi
Panellist

Rachel Sibande is the CEO and Founder of Malawi’s first technology hub; mHub. The hub nurtures young technology enthusiasts with technical and entrepreneurship skills and champions the development of technology solutions. Rachel was named by Forbes as one of Africa’s most promising young entrepreneurs in 2016. Rachel has piloted a technology platform in Malawi, called Mzinda, where citizens engage with locally elected leaders and service providers on service delivery. Rachel has led the deployment of citizen engagement initiatives using technology during elections in Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania and Zambia. In 2015, she received the Anita Borg Scholarship from Google given to outstanding female computer science students from around the world. She is Malawi’s Ambassador of the Next Einstein Forum Initiative which promotes science, technology engineering and mathematics. Rachel is also an alumna of President Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative. Rachel is the first Malawian to hold a local TEDx License. She is a PhD candidate in Computer Science at Rhodes University in South Africa.
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