Innovation Village empowering local solutions at the MWC GSMA 2023 Kigali  

The recent Global System for Mobile Communications Association conference (GSMA) 2023 in Kigali was remarkable. Held on October 19, 2023, at the Kigali Convention Center, the global event intended to unify the mobile ecosystem to discover, develop and deliver innovation foundational to positive business environments and societal change with a vision is to unlock the full power of connectivity so that people, industry, and society thrive.  

MWC GSMA is one of the largest and most influential connectivity events on the African continent. Within the event, “The Better Future stage” took center stage, focusing on advancing digital evolution, fostering the growth of innovations and solutions driving progress in FinTech, Health technology, education, and agriculture. This stage served as a meeting point for thought leaders, policymakers, solution providers, and industry leaders to explore the potential of emerging technologies. 

Innovation Village aimed to showcase innovative solutions from the DigiX Product accelerator under the Digital Economy Program, designed to empower technology entrepreneurs (Xtechs) to meet the requirements for the community pass sandbox, enabling them improve their products, commercials, operations, and leadership skills, while also fostering knowledge exchange, networking, and collaboration opportunities to connect Xtechs with fellow solution providers, experts, and potential partners, all with the goal of enhancing their ability to scale their platforms and solutions to better serve last-mile communities. 

The panel discussion which was held under the theme “Leveraging Collaboration and Shared Infrastructure to Scale Digital Opportunities for the Last-Mile User.” It featured a panel session with experts and solution providers who are driving inclusive financial services in Uganda who included Attra Atukunda from Agro-consortium, Dickson Mushabe from Cinamon Clubs, Seth Mutano from Chap Chap, and Kakooza Steven from Kawu. Arthur Mukembo, #FutureLab Africa Lead at Innovation Village, moderated the event. 

The core message of the event was centered on the importance of collaboration and shared infrastructure in advancing digital opportunities for last-mile users. The panel discussions revealed a wealth of innovative solutions and success stories that are addressing social challenges and contributing to economic growth in Uganda. These solutions also have the potential to scale to other parts of Africa.  

The panelists, who are technology partners and part of the Innovation Village community, shared their journeys and valuable insights into the strategies they use to provide seamless digital experiences for last-mile users. 

The event was in alignment with the evolving technology landscape, providing a platform for entrepreneurs within the Innovation Village network to form strategic partnerships and establish business engagements all part of the Digital Economy Program partners, with a strong emphasis on empowering and including local entrepreneurship. 

The Xtechs share their experiences below: 

Seth Mutano – Founder of Chap Chap Africa   

“Participating in MWC GSMA’s Better Future Stage allowed us to share our story and innovative solutions, further propelling our mission to offer a seamless and integrated experience for our last-mile users. We were able to shine a light on the essential role of our agent network in promoting digital literacy and inclusion.”   

Dickson Mushabe – CEO and founder Cinamon Clubs   

“This conference provided us with the perfect platform to showcase our innovation journey. Its impact on our efforts to provide inclusive financial services has been profound. We recognize the vision of the Innovation Village’s Digital Economy Program, which emphasizes collaboration to serve larger, marginalized communities.”   

Steven Kakooza – Co Founder Kawu   

Said, “At the MWC GSMA’s Better Future Stage conference, we exhibited our pioneering work in digital payment platforms tailored for schools. This allowed us to not only share our strategies but also collaborate with educational institutions, gaining valuable insights on how to expedite the transition to a cashless system, significantly influencing our journey.”  

Attra Atukunda – Business Development Lead at AgroConsortium   

“Being a part of MWC GSMA’s Better Future Stage highlighted our contributions to last mile farming communities, while also demonstrating how we can extend our services to digitally empowered communities. This event has propelled us to new heights, facilitating connections and engagements with a diverse array of stakeholders. It has opened doors to potential partnerships, investors, and policymakers, presenting unparalleled opportunities for collaborative growth and development.”  

Innovation Village’s participation at MWC GSMA 2023 in Kigali was hinged on the importance of adopting collaboration and shared infrastructure in advancing digital opportunities for last-mile users in Uganda. It also showcased innovative solutions and success stories that can contribute to social development and economic growth. Events such as MWC GSMA 2023 are a significant step toward enabling a digitally empowered Africa, emphasizing connectivity, innovation, and strategic partnerships for the benefit of innovators and last-mile communities.