French Challenge to support young entreprise during the “Innovation Wall” – Ai expo

Artificial intelligence is a technology area that can be used to address unique and major societal challenges. It is also an area where the sharing of international expertise is necessary.

The AI Expo 2020 (3 & 4 September) is the largest event dedicated to artificial intelligence in Africa. This event will also see an interactive “Wall of Innovation”, dedicated to start-ups and small innovative companies, that will be set up next to the French stand.

By sponsoring the “Wall of Innovation” at the AI Expo summit, the French Embassy wishes to reiterate its commitment to supporting the visibility and development of the creativity of South African students and innovation in the country.
In this context, the embassy is working closely with partners in South Africa, whose commitment to young people is a priority and who offer challenges to support this creativity – competition from July, the 20th to August, 21st 2020.

These partners include the following incubators:

-  The Ocean Hub Africa: Did you know that $23billion is robbed from the global economy every year by illegal fishing! Within a context of global Blue Economy development actions must be undertaken against illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing through global enforcement. Fishing is carefully monitored and controlled in most modern societies in order to use natural resources most efficiently. It requires a permit, quotas are allocated, seasonality and size must be respected and specific gear used for specific fishing. A breach of any of these regulations constitutes illegal fishing. Then, how could we best leverage Artificial Intelligence in order to address this major challenge?

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-  The French South African Tech Labs: The internet era has made the world becoming more and more competitive and customer experience has become a fantastic opportunity for organisations and government institutions to distinguish themselves and get an advantage over their competitors. With the field of customer experience artificial intelligence (AI) can play a key role in reducing time to service customers all while improving customer satisfaction levels at a fraction of the costs. We are looking for AI solutions that improve customer experience in any form or function.

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-  The 4th Industrial Revolution Incubators: The Covid 19 pandemic has amplified the economic imbalance in South Africa, a lack of basic necessities such as basic healthcare, food, water, energy and sanitization has subjected communities to poverty and left vulnerable.We therefore challenge South African innovators to create solutions using artificial intelligence to establish a tool that can enable government to evaluate descriptive data that will assist them to reach impoverished areas and deliver services and basic necessities with speed.

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As well as French industrial groups working in the field of energy or engineering:

-  EDF / Dassault Systèmes: Artificial Intelligence is set to revolutionize the energy efficiency sector. The optimization of the data collection and the improvement of data analysis will help to better identify good practices and investments that can be easily profitable. We are therefore looking for innovative solutions that could improve processes and product and thus contribute to the growth of the sector. The theme is « Using Artificial Intelligence to improve Energy Efficiency ».

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-  Engie: The major trends driving energy consumption in sub-Saharan Africa are urbanisation and population growth. These trends are resulting in the outstanding growth of cities in sub-Saharan Africa. Even though Africa is the least urban continent, its future is undoubtedly urban.
Indeed more than 600 million people or 60% of the population living in sub-Saharan Africa have no access to electricity an Africa’s population is projected to double over the next 30 years to over 2 billion and 50% of Africans will potentially be living in cities by 2030. The UN’s Sustainable Development Goal #11 “Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable” is at the core of all SDGs.
The informal economy in Africa plays a big role in the development of these cities. Indeed, in sub-Saharan Africa, informal economy (economic activities that are not regulated and therefore not taxed) represents up to 41% of GDP and provides 85.5% of total employment. This directly impacts the infrastructure of these cities, as authorities are not collecting enough taxes to finance critical infrastructure such as roads, hospitals, and power.
The challenge will consist of using AI and data to identify, study and map the population living in urban unconnected areas and informal settlements in order to understand and forecast the coverage of essential service needs.

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It is also an opportunity for the Embassy of France and the Embassy of Switzerland in South Africa to launch an open challenge aimed at supporting young start-ups, which will allow them to come and discover the eco-systems of innovation in these two countries and explore the possibility of setting up cooperative ventures.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is a technology area that can address major challenges and where international collaboration is valuable in driving ethical and human-centric AI to enable broad societal and economic benefits. By sponsoring a joint challenge at AI Expo Africa 2020 ONLINE, the Embassy of France, the Embassy of Switzerland and the South African Department of Science & Innovation reiterate their commitment to supporting and development of innovative students, researchers, start-ups, entrepreneurs and small companies.

The Africa 4IR Open Challenge aims to promote African University R&D and support start-ups to discover the innovation ecosystems in France and Switzerland, with the possibility of setting up cooperative ventures. We are looking for African project holders, start-ups or research students living in Africa that have an early-stage big data, AI/ 4IR use case or innovation project with an interest in collaborative international partnerships and or application to industry.

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publie le 14/08/2020

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