Wednesday, 15 April 2020 19:47

UNDP, MiNT and the Tech Community in Ethiopia Collaborate to Curb COVID-19

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April 14,UNDP has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Ministry of Innovation
and Technology to enlist the support of Ethiopian innovators and tech sector in coming
up with innovative and home-grown solutions to fight COVID-19.
A challenge grant will be jointly launched to identify local innovators capable to co-
design, experiment and implement technology-driven solutions to monitor the outbreak,
and  advance  preventive measures   including awareness-raising,  disease surveillance
and citizen action, among others. UNDP plans to make an initial contribution of half a
million US dollars and, depending on the success of the challenge grant, will potentially
double the contribution.
The partnership is part of a broader programmatic offer by UNDP to tackle COVID19,
which also includes analysis on socio-economic impacts; support to the Government of
Ethiopia in ensuring business continuity focusing on critical government functions in the
wake of the pandemic; and addressing the negative impact of the pandemic on micro,
small and medium-sized enterprises and employment (in both the formal and informal
sectors). UNDP will work with the rest of the UN family and other development partners
on these issues.
The MoU was signed virtually by H.E Sisay Tola, State Minister of Ministry of Innovation
and Technology and Turhan Saleh, UNDP Resident Representative for Ethiopia. State
Minister Sisay Tola said, “The support will focus on coordination and harmonization of
individual, government and stakeholders efforts in research, technology and innovation
to prevent COVID-19 and reduce its impact in the country. ” Resident Representative
Turhan Saleh noted on this occasion that ‘….this is a great opportunity for the tech and

    innovator community in Ethiopia – mostly young women and men – to show what smart
    ideas and applications, delivered quickly, can make a big difference in the fight against
    COVID-19. Others e.g. in South Korea have done it. So can we.’
    As part of the agreement and working closely with UNDP Ethiopia’s Accelerator Lab
    team, MiNT will launch the Grand Challenge soon to select the best innovators from
    amongst the local tech community able to design and implement local solutions and to
    scale up the response against COVID-19.
    Ministry   of   Innovation   and   Technology   plays   a   vital   role   in   the   coordination   and
    implementation of innovative technologies in the country in collaboration with financial
    institutions, higher education, research institutions and industries. So far the Ministry
    has supported information exchange platforms on COVID-19 and provided equipment to
    facilitate connectivity for staff working from home.
    UNDP’s   COVID-19  response  focuses  on  helping  countries  to   do   three  thingsin   an
    integrated way:toprepare, respond and recoverin the face of this pandemic, with three
    immediateprioritieson   the   table:   strengtheninghealth   systems,
    enhancinginclusivecrisis   management,  and   assessing   and   responding   to   the  socio-
    economic impacts of COVID-19. In all this, UNDP’s focus remains, as always, on the
    most vulnerable people and those who may get left behind.
    The   Ministry   and   UNDP   hereby   call   upon   innovators   and   individuals   interested   to
    participate in the Grand Challenge competition to get prepared in advance. Details of
    the competition will be announced in the next few days.

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