Liquid Telecom to provide free high-speed internet for startup competition in Africa
Liquid Telecom has partnered with i2i DataHack4FI to back startups in the data science and cloud services sector across Africa.
The Econet Global-owned carrier will support insight2impact’s (i2i) DataHack for Financial Inclusion innovation competition by providing free high-speed internet access and cloud-based services to entrants.
DataHack4FI will be held across six African countries – Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Ghana and Zambia – aiming to use data science to develop new evidence-based solutions to improve financial inclusion.
It sees start-ups undergo mentoring and training before presenting solutions to a judging panel, with successful entrants proceeding to the final competition, which is set to be held in Rwanda in May 2018.
Liquid Telecom will support the competition by providing high-speed, reliable connectivity throughout most stages of the competition using its 50,000km pan-African fibre network. It will also offer competitors with access to its range of cloud-based products and services as part of Go Cloud, a recently-launched programme backed by Microsoft that aims to raise adoption of Azure Cloud across the continents.
Ben Roberts, group CTIO of Liquid Telecom, said: “Africa’s future belongs in data science, which will enable a new generation of African entrepreneurs to unlock the potential of exponential volumes of data generated by mobile devices.
“We are delighted to be supporting i2i DataHack4FI by providing start-ups with access to critical infrastructure that will help generate home-grown products and services that can create new business opportunities and skills as well as expose African talent to the world.”
The 2017 i2i DataHack4FI competition saw 120 individual entrants, with three startups receiving backing from investors at the Transform Africa Summit in Rwanda. The final winner was Kenya-based Mobiticket.
“One of the major challenges facing any start-up in Africa today is access to the critical IT infrastructure needed to support, grow and nurture their ideas,” said Nkosi Ncube, head of i2i’s Application Lab.
“With Liquid Telecom’s high speed connectivity and cloud-based services, entrants in the 2018 i2i DataHack4FI innovation competition will more easily be able to take advantage of the opportunities presented by new data, and develop solutions that bridge the gap with the informal economies across Africa.”