Zambezi Competition: MIT and Mastercard Foundation announce 10 African start-ups for final

Boubacar Diallo

The Legatum Center for Development and Entrepreneurship at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), in collaboration with the Mastercard Foundation, announced the list of 10 African start-ups for the 2018 MIT Zambezi Award innovation in financial inclusion.

The prestigious MIT Contest, with a total award of $ 200,000, was established to identify the most promising and innovative young start-ups dedicated to promoting and advancing financial inclusion on the continent.

The selected start-ups are Apollo Agriculture (Kenya), Bidhaa Sasa (Kenya), FarmDrive (Kenya) Farmerline (Ghana), LanteOTC (South Africa), MaTontine (Senegal), OZE (Ghana), RecyclePoints (Nigeria), Tulaa (Kenya), and Wala (South Africa).

“It is with great pleasure that we welcome the finalists of the 2018 edition to the Zambezi family. The selected start-ups are among the most innovative companies on the international scene, “said Ms. Georgina Campbell Flatter, Executive Director of the MIT Legatum Center.

According to Mr. Ali Diallo, the Global Programs Manager of the Legatum Center at MIT, the finalists demonstrated a very high level of leadership and innovation in their approach to advancing financial inclusion in Africa. “We would like to thank all the judges and the hundreds of start-ups who participated in the Zambezi competition and shared their vision and financial inclusion solution. We intend to provide them with many more opportunities to support them through the MIT initiatives for Africa, “he said.

The 10 finalists will be invited to join the leaders of MIT and the African Entrepreneurship Ecosystem at the Open Mic Africa Summit in Nairobi on August 28th and 29th. They will also be invited to an MIT Leadership Seminar in Boston at the Inclusive Innovation Challenge (IIC) International Gala and will participate in the $ 1 million Global Grand Prize. The IIC event is part of the MIT initiative for the digital economy and, with the Legatum Center projects, examples of MIT’s global commitment to the future of work.

The grand prize winner will receive $ 100,000 and the second and third will receive $ 30,000 each. The 7 finalists in the top 10 will each receive $ 5,000. They will be able to participate in group activities, benefit from international media exposure and make a personalized recommendation to investors and sponsors of the MIT Legatum network.
This year’s contest was sponsored by the annual MIT Legatum Open Mic Africa Tour, an intercontinental tour that aimed to identify the most innovative entrepreneurs in Africa. The tour was conducted in Dakar, in collaboration with ESTEL and Impact Dakar; in Paris, in collaboration with True Africa at the Viva Technology conference and in Nairobi, in collaboration with Nairobi Garage.

The Zambezi Award and the Open Mic Africa Summit are pillars of the Legatum Center’s African strategy, a global vision for harnessing the MIT ecosystem and improving living conditions through principled entrepreneurial leadership. The Legatum Center’s strategy is also an essential component of MIT-Africa, the initiative that includes MIT’s priority to collaborate with the continent at the global level.

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