AfriLabs annual gathering, Cairo 2017.

Creating Africa’s future

Last week the Human Rights Innovation Initiative was in Cairo, Egypt, representing Civil Rights Defenders at AfriLabs annual gathering. AfriLabs is the umbrella organisation for all tech hubs on the continent. The event gathered 80 technology and innovation hubs from 35 countries. In total about 250 African entrepreneurs and innovators attended. The hubs are a mixed group, including both business initiatives and non-profits. However, the one thing in common is that they want to create Africa’s future.

During three intense days these change-makers interacted and discussed a range of topics and issues. Civil Rights Defenders Mathias Antonsson, who have lived three years in Kenya and worked for Ushahidi, was honoured to sit on a panel together with researcher Jenny Mbaye, Le 18 founder Laila Hida, iHub’s Nekesa Were and Gearbox founder Kamau Gichigi. Mathias got the chance to introduce the Human Rights Innovation Initiative, focusing on our defender-centric approach, as well as how inclusion spurs innovation.

From left to right: Nekesa Were, Mathias Antonsson, Jenny Mbaye, and Laila Hida.

Mathias was impressed by the crowd who attended the AfriLabs gathering:

These are genuine change-makers. They’re not waiting for things to happen, they’re making a difference in their cities today. What other see as problems, they see as opportunities. Combined with passion and drive, these hubs and the entrepreneurs they support, are vital in advancing the change they want.

The Human Rights Innovation Initiative wants to thank AfriLabs for the invitation. We learned much from the innovators and hope that the Innovation Initiative and Civil Rights Defenders partners in Africa, start collaborating with the hubs in the near future.