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UK-Africa project to address cities’ growing pains

Six cities in Kenya and South Africa will test joint UK and African innovations as part of a government-funded initiative to explore the potential of the African market.

A call-out for ideas is under way by Connected Places Catapult, for anyone interested to enter the Urban Links Africa project. This project will see joint innovations deployed to solve pressing challenges in Africa’s rapidly growing cities.

The project’s goal is to facilitate a sustainable collaboration between the UK, South Africa and Kenya by bringing together cities and tech ecosystems through equitable partnerships and industry investment, to address African cities’ key challenges and improve life for citizens.

Funded by Innovate UK, Urban Links Africa, which began in September 2019 and will run until April 2021, will pilot market-led solutions to key urban challenges in Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu in Kenya; and Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban in South Africa.

Africa is a rapidly growing market with huge potential and opportunities for SMEs. Africa has the world’s largest free trade area and a 1.2 billion-person market. The population is predicted to reach around 1.7 billion by 2030.

The ULA programme will recruit innovative technology companies in Kenya, South Africa and the UK to deploy joint tech solutions to these urban challenges. Capacity-building workshops will be run in tandem to support African cities to become innovation-ready.

Nicola Yates, CEO of Connected Places Catapult, said: “Each city will choose an urban challenge, and we will invite Kenyan, South African and UK SMEs to propose solutions to these challenges. We are very excited to embark on this project.”

CPC will partner UK and African innovators via partnerships with tech hubs and will continually monitor the impact of these projects and assist the process over six months.

Cllr Sharon Cottle, Cape Town Mayoral Committee Member for Corporate Service said: “This is an excellent opportunity for cities to build a bridge with their tech hubs, exchange best practice with the UK and become innovation-ready.”

Source: PlaceTech

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