FIWARE4 Africa Call for Interest V0
News Article — June 20, 2024 — Desiree Winges

Make-IT in Africa and the FIWARE Foundation present FIWARE4Africa

Since August 2023, Make-IT in Africa and the FIWARE Foundation have formed a strategic alliance to catalyze digital innovation in Africa. This collaboration, focusing on interconnected and open-source technologies, perfectly aligns with Make-IT in Africa’s mission to strengthen digital innovation ecosystems on the African continent. This joint effort promises to radically transform the African technology landscape, stimulating growth and connectivity in unprecedented ways.

The technology sector in Africa is growing but needs to overcome fragmentation and informality. The African Union promotes a policy framework to harmonize data governance, fostering interoperability and stakeholder collaboration to address global challenges better. Effective data management is crucial to overcoming interoperability challenges across sectors. Integrating multiple heterogeneous systems, including IoT devices and other contextual information sources, requires an innovative “system of systems” approach. This approach is based on creating a common knowledge repository where each system updates its contextual information and can access information provided by other connected systems. This dynamic interconnection transforms data management into a powerful tool for improving operational efficiency and proactively responding to global challenges. It creates an integrated and resilient digital ecosystem that enables start-ups, entrepreneurs, and governments to overcome common obstacles in implementing digital ecosystems.

To achieve this, strengthening three fundamental pillars—interoperability, data, and ecosystems—is crucial. Through the FIWARE4Africa program, this vital collaboration between Make-IT in Africa and the FIWARE Foundation aims to address two main challenges along these lines:

  • Technical challenges: Ensuring interoperability, data sharing, and portability so that information can flow unhindered across different platforms and systems.
  • Ecosystem challenges: Promoting efficient and synergetic collaboration between various stakeholders, ensuring everyone benefits equally from an integrated technology environment.

This ambitious program aims to encourage the emergence of ‘interconnected’ open-source digital innovations through empowering African Digital Innovation Hubs. The FIWARE Foundation is committed to this goal through the ongoing implementation of the FIWARE4Africa program, which provides the expertise needed to integrate open technologies and standards into designing new intelligent solutions and services. It also provides direct access to a growing international innovation ecosystem that can strengthen African innovation hubs’ networks and business models through FIWARE services.

The strategic alliance between Make-IT in Africa and the FIWARE Foundation further transforms this scenario by fostering more effective cooperation between founders, technology clusters, universities, and the state, creating new opportunities, overcoming skills shortages, and attracting and retaining talent.

In this perspective, Digital Innovation Hubs are crucial in facilitating effective collaboration between these parties through various services and resources. These hubs enable entrepreneurs to harness the potential of digital innovation, contributing to improving public services, optimizing operations and making a real impact on society.

Currently, the FIWARE4Africa program benefits 30 committed innovators, 6 countries , and 9 DIHs and other Innovation Hubs in the program:

  • Jatropa Hub, Conakry – Guinea
  • JHub Africa, Nairobi – Kenya
  • Green and Digital Innovation Hub, Nairobi – Kenya
  • Smart City Lab, Kigali, Rwanda
  • Tshimologong Digital Innovation Hub, Johannesburg, South Africa
  • Mountain Hub, Bouea and Yaounde, Cameroon
  • Zixtech Hub, Limbe, Cameroon
  • Geospatial Innovation Hub, Dakar, Senegal
  • Jokkolabs, Dakar, Senegal

Building business and technology expertise on FIWARE technologies

The carefully curated capacity development program offers over seven months training and coaching to the business and technology experts from the DIHs.

  • The first phase concentrated on evaluating the maturity of Digital Innovation Hubs (DIHs) and their readiness to adopt FIWARE technologies, analyzing opportunities to expand the DIHs’ service portfolios, and understanding the regional impact. Key activities included participating in face-to-face Business Development Workshops in Dakar and Nairobi, which centered on mapping each local ecosystem and finding opportunities for cross-border collaboration and win-win scenarios.
  • The second phase aimed to develop skills in FIWARE open-source technologies. It provided the necessary expertise to create intelligent FIWARE-based solutions, supplemented with use case examples, online guidelines, and full support from FIWARE technical experts through in-person Training Sessions in Dakar and Nairobi.
  • Spanning around three months, the final phase of the programme is dedicated to properly onboarding the African DIHs to benefit from the broader FIWARE community, positioning themselves as pioneers in their regions. A fully dedicated team of FIWARE experts will support this phase with mentoring, evaluation, use case development, and best practices for establishing a FIWARE iHub.

The FIWARE Foundation and its members provide indispensable resources to achieve these goals by fostering collaboration, trust, innovation, and community-driven development.

The collaboration between Make-IT in Africa and the FIWARE Foundation exemplifies how technology and open source can drive positive change. It will lead to the creation of high-quality, flexible, and sustainable open-source solutions.

“Digital Transformation is at the core of any Innovation initiative. It brings tremendous benefits and the ability to continuously improve. It also comes with costs and risks. FIWARE helps the public sector drive innovation and minimize the impact of resistance to change, comfort zones, and technical debt. Fairness and equity are its cardinal principles, and this ambitious project is a beacon of inspiration for the entire world”

Andrea Battaglia, CEO at FIWARE Foundation

About the FIWARE Foundation

FIWARE Foundation, committed to building an open, sustainable ecosystem with public, royalty-free, and implementation-driven software platform standards, seeks to facilitate the development of new Smart Applications across various sectors.

The FIWARE Foundation, alongside its members, provides the necessary resources to achieve these goals. Openness is not just a principle but a foundational asset of the FIWARE identity, promoting collaboration, trust, innovation, and community-driven development, ultimately leading to the creation of high-quality, adaptable, and sustainable open-source solutions.

Now opening its ecosystem to Africa, the FIWARE Foundation is looking for pioneer Digital Innovation Hubs that help to cultivate a dynamic and inclusive community of practice that contribute to global FIWARE adoption and competitiveness of their communities.

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