Yesterday, AfriLabs and Liquid Telecom announced a new partnership to boost innovation across Africa.
"Leading pan-African telecoms group Liquid Telecom has partnered with AfriLabs, the largest network organisation of 100 innovation centres across 30 African countries," wrote AfriLabs and Liquid Telecom in a joint press release.
Both will "explore new ways to support local start-ups and promote sustainable innovation across Africa."
Digital skills training, workshops and accelerator competitions are among the key things to result from the partnership. But, internet connectivity still remains one of the offers from Liquid Telecom.
Also read: Liquid Telecom releases report on “the generation that will define Africa’s digital future”
"Liquid Telecom will deliver connectivity to AfriLabs innovation centers located within its fibre footprint." This includes "Nairobi Garage in Kenya, Bongohive in Zambia, BUNI in Tanzania and many more."
Additionally, hubs in the AfriLabs network will get to leverage Liquid Telecom to access products from Microsoft. One of its leading partners. This includes Azure, GitHub, and others.
"Liquid Telecom will provide start-ups with access to critical development tools by leveraging the Microsoft Azure platform as well as the software developer platform, GitHub, which was recently acquired by Microsoft."
Ben Roberts, the Liquid Telecom Group CTIO, commented on the partnership. Saying that "this new partnership with AfriLabs will really help push our initiative to the next level."
"Both in terms of raising Liquid Telecom’s profile within Africa’s tech ecosystem and improving our ability to support the region’s start-ups with the resources they need to successfully bring solutions to market"
Yet, this comes at a time when Liquid telecom was slowly making its presence felt in Africa's innovation hub space on its own. A space that was for long dominated by MTN and Orange.
In an April this year, I spoke to Oswald Jumira, Liquid Telecom's Head of Innovation Partnerships. He told me that they were "currently partnering with 10 tech hubs across 7 African countries".
That included The Innovation Village (Uganda), Venture Labs (Uganda), Nairobi Garage (Kenya), Twig (Kenya), MSU Hub (Zimbabwe), Muzinda Hub (Zimbabwe), kLabs (Rwanda), Impact Hubs (Rwanda), NameYourHub (Tanzania) and BongoHive (Zambia).
All the above accessed almost all the benefits that Liquid Telecom is now looking to extend to the larger AfriLabs network. Which is now comprised of over 100 innovation hubs and centers across 30 African countries.
In the end, both AfriLabs and Liquid Telecom hope that their activities will lead to