PAU Innovation Challenge | Keynote speech of H.E. Prof Sarah Anyang Agbor
Your Excellency the German Ambassador
The Director Human Capital Youth and Skills Department at AfDB,
The Acting Rector of the Pan African University
The Directors of the PAU Institutes,
The Rectors of the Host Universities of the PAU Institutes,
Your Excellencies, Members of Government of the Host Countries,
Invited guests, Media
Ladies and gentlemen,
All protocols observed
On behalf of the African Union and the African Union Commission Chairperson, H.E. Dr. Mo ussa Faki Mahamat, let me begin by expressing my sincere gratitude to all the people who worked tirelessly in the organization of this event, and to congratulate every participant, especially our 08 finalist teams–among which the winners will be announced at the end of this event, and to all PAU students, Alumni and staff who share the belief of a better Africa and are committed to the AU Agenda 2063 The Africa we Want.
I also want to warmly thanks our partners: AfDB and GIZ not only for sponsoring this competition but also for their continuous support to the development of the Pan African University
I am very happy to be here today for the 1st PAU Innovation Challenge - Grand Final. An event co-organised by PAU Rectorate, PAUWES with support from GIZ, my gratitude goes also to the German Ministry BMZ and the Algerian Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research.
The PAU Innovation Challenge is a project that I hold dear because this challenge is representativ e of what PAU is trying to achieve.
The driving idea of this competition is to raise the awareness of PAU students and alumni on innovation and to promote an entrepreneurship mindset across not only PAU but also Africa. The strategic focus of the PAU is geared towards the pursuit of excellence in order to attain world-class standards, placing PAU in a powerful position to directly contribute to the transformation of the continent, as it is envisaged by the Agenda 2063 and articulated within strategies such as CESA 2016-25, STISA 2024 and the Continental TVET Strategy.
PAU established the Pan African Entrepreneurship Hubs, a platform for advancing skills development and entrepreneurship across the continent through a panel of events in collaboration with different partners. PAU graduates representing all Member States of the African Union and equipped with sound knowledge of frica’s current and future challenges – as well as solutions to overcome them – shall act as prime advocates of African integration and development.
This competition embodies one of the most important mission of PAU: identifying the most pressing needs and issues of the African continent, strengthening the dialogue and cooperation with policymakers, private sector and civil society to provide innovative viable solutions. This is essential for us, because it deals with real-life issues of African communities.
I am extremely pleased to see that among the 69 projects submitted by competing teams from the four PAU Institutes, many team leaders were female alumni or students. These projects covered many applicative fields like Agriculture, Manufacturing, Renewable Energy, Trade & Retail, Platform & Apps and other Services. The whole process of this challenge respected the pillars of the AU in terms of transparency, absence of conflicts of interest, regional and gender distribution, to ensure a fair competition among the participants.
We celebrate our 08 finalist teams, young modern innovators, competing in this prestigious challenge as Africans and PAU champions.
I would also remind our participants and audience that the AfCFTA is now a reality that foster inter-African trade enlarging the arena in which today’s frican innovators and start-ups are competing to provide a better future for Africa.
The quality and diversity of the innovative projects of PAU community in this 1s t PAU Innovation Challenge, anchors P U’s position as a hub for innovators and young African entrepreneurs alike to develop and scale their start-ups to global markets.
This Innovation challenge has been carried out under travel and lockdown restrictions due to the exceptional and serious world health crisis caused by COVID-19. Africa and the World need innovative and relevant ideas, especially, in a world that exposed its vulnerability and increasing need for resilience.
The COVID- 19 pandemic constrained us to turn the 1s t PAU Innovation challenge grand final into a full online event. This constraint turned into a huge opportunity for our finalists to have a continental exposure of their ideas, to attract more venture capitalists and to strengthen their networks and potential partnerships to nurture the growth of their start-ups.
So, allow me to congratulate, once again, all the participants and to express my gratitude to the organizers.
I thank you all very much for your attention.