Five outstanding projects promising to mitigate COVID-19 effects have won US$150,000 (approximately Rwf 149 million). The funding was provided by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) which organized the contest through Next Innovation with Japan (NINJA).
NINJA is a startup support initiative by JICA launched in January 2020, to promote innovation and creation of new businesses on African continent.
In collaboration with the Ministry of ICT and Innovation (MINICT), JICA has awarded five outstanding projects selected from 113 competing startups. Each project walked away with US$ 30,000.
Akai Yuki, the project coordinator at JICA Rwanda has said that the initiative organizes competitions across 19 African countries aimed at uplifting projects bringing innovations and transforming livelihoods on the continent.
“These projects will not only provide solutions to the current COVID-19 related effects but also are expected to bring economic transformations after the pandemic. In Rwanda, five out of 113 projects that submitted applications have been awarded,” he revealed.
Iradukunda Yves, the State Minister at MINICT lauded JICA for the initiative and congratulated winners.
“We voice our appreciation to JICA for the initiative and congratulate winners. We stand firm to welcome innovative solutions transforming livelihoods in the country and beyond,” he said.
Iradukunda also revealed that MINICT partnered with JICA to assist beneficiaries in project implementation and capacitating them to come up with solutions mitigating COVID-19 effects.
Winning companies include KHENZ Ltd with digital payment solutions for public buses traveling upcountry, IRIBA WATER GROUP Ltd helping people with limited income to access safe drinking water at affordable price using ATMs.
The company targets to deliver safe drinking water and sanitizers to 4000 people on daily basis.
Other projects include MAGOFARM LTD, AD Finance providing software management systems to medium-sized financial institutions in Sub-Saharan Africa and Health Edu which seeks to train health workers through virtual sessions.
So far, 2713 projects have submitted applications in 19 African countries including Rwanda, Angola, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Cameroun, Côte d’Ivoire, Misiri, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Tunisia, Uganda and Zambia.