Africa: Ericsson hopes to tackle food scarcity with tech


Swedish telecoms equipment supplier, Ericsson, wants to explore information and communication technology (ICT) solutions to address food scarcity across sub-Saharan Africa.

The tech company says it intend to achieve this through its Ericsson Innovation Awards (EIA) competition that gives  ICT innovators and start-ups  opportunity to develop and showcase innovative ideas that would impact an industry with great potential in the region.

“Food scarcity is a rising global concern particularly important to sub-Saharan Africa. While it is estimated that there will be 2 billion people on the continent by 2050, Africa’s agricultural production has decreased since the 1960s – despite most of the continent’s population being involved in the agricultural sector.

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Today, innovative ICT solutions are increasingly being used in farm management, food development, storage and distribution. With a growing population and untapped arable lands in sub-Saharan Africa, agriculture and food industries are ripe for disruptive innovation,” according to Ericsson.

The company says it has opened up registration for the competition, with theme: “The Future of Food”. The competition is open to students and small businesses from within the region with a limit of four people per participating team, contesting to win $10,000.

Jean-Claude Geha, Head of Ericsson sub-Saharan Africa, says: “Ericsson has always been a leading advocate for the positive role ICT can play in each one of the Sustainable Development Goals. Our theme for this year could directly impact the second goal of “No Hunger” by using ICT to create solutions that might enhance production, distribution, access to market information or even the final consumer experience in securing fresh or processed foods.”

The EIA sub-Saharan Africa registrations close on October 31, after which 10 semi-finalists will be selected by the Ericsson jury from the online entries. One winner will then be chosen by Ericsson and external jury members and announced at a cocktail event on November 15. This winning team will also showcase their innovative solution to a crowd of industry experts at this event, the company says.

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