Leading pan-African telecoms group Liquid Telecom has partnered with AfriLabs, the largest network organisation of 100 innovation centres across 30 African countries, to explore new ways to support local start-ups and promote sustainable innovation across Africa. From digital skills training and workshops to accelerator competitions, Liquid Telecom and AfriLabs will launch a new series of joint programmes designed to accelerate growth within the region’s tech start-up communities, ultimately helping to stimulate economic growth. AfriLabs was founded in 2011 to build a community around rapidly emerging tech hubs – innovation spaces that serve as meeting points and communities for developers, entrepreneurs, and investors. It has since grown to become the largest network of African technology hubs with over 200,000 community members. As part of a new agreement, Liquid Telecom will deliver connectivity to AfriLabs innovation centres located within its fibre footprint, which includes Nairobi Garage in Kenya, Bongohive in Zambia, BUNI in Tanzania and many more. Cloud computing is the foundation for all technology innovation and Liquid Telecom will provide start-ups with access to critical development tools by leveraging the Microsoft Azure platform as well as the software developer platform, GitHub, which was recently acquired by Microsoft. Leveraging Liquid Telecom’s infrastructure, partner network and market presence across Africa, start-ups will be able to develop and scale up their solutions with help from the Liquid team. AfriLabs affiliate hub members will also be able to access Liquid Telecom’s digital skills training platform, which focuses on key 4th Industrial Revolution skills, such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), Machine Learning, Game development and Cloud Computing “Liquid Telecom is passionate about scaling start-ups across Africa. Through our Innovation Partnerships initiative, we’ve already supported many inspirational start-ups over the last year, who are using technology to help solve African problems. This new partnership with AfriLabs will really help push our initiative to the next level – both in terms of raising Liquid Telecom’s profile within Africa’s tech ecosystem and improving our ability to support the region’s start-ups with the resources they need to successfully bring solutions to market,” said Ben Roberts, Group CTIO, Liquid Telecom. Ben is presenting at the third edition of the AfriLabs Annual Gathering, which will be held this year in Tanzania on October 11-13 under the theme ‘Innovation in the Data Age’. Over 100 technology and innovation hubs and over 600 key stakeholders, including entrepreneurs, corporate organisations, government and developmental agencies, will attend the event. The driving force for the AfriLabs community of innovation hubs is a future of abundant jobs for African youth and African made technology solutions developed by start-ups solving both local and global problems. AfriLabs is happy to partner with an organization like Liquid Telecom that shares the same passion to build the African technology and entrepreneurial ecosystem by empowering the youth with valuable tools like internet connectivity, cloud services and access to opportunities to grow their businesses. – Anna Ekeledo, Executive Director, AfriLabs.