Rwanda will be among the countries vying in the inaugural Digital Prosperity Awards, which were recently announced by Digital Cooperation Organization (DCO). The highly anticipated Digital Prosperity Awards will take place in December, on a date yet to be confirmed.
The prestigious awards will honor and celebrate the remarkable digital contributions that enable prosperity for all in DCO member states, particularly in advancing the digital economy, which has a critical role in boosting nations’ development and growth.
According Deemah AlYahya, Secretary-General of the DCO, the awards will recognise the most innovative minds and ideas that contribute to the socioeconomic wellbeing of citizens in the organisation’s member states.
Founded in November 2020, the DCO is a global multilateral organization that aims to enable digital prosperity for all by accelerating the inclusive growth of the digital economy. Rwanda has been a member since 2020.
“The launch of the Digital Prosperity Awards is a significant milestone in recognizing outstanding digital contributions of the organizations that enable prosperity for all. We are looking forward to identifying the best digital innovators from the DCO’s Member States and worldwide that benefit humankind,” AlYahya said at the launch which took place on August 14.
“The awards aim to acknowledge exceptional initiatives in adopting best practices, policies, and strategies to accelerate digital transformation in their respective countries. The objective is to accelerate digital economic advancement and lay the groundwork for constructive cooperation, cultivating shared vision and aspirations among all stakeholders,” she added.
The DCO Secretary General added that the awards reinforce the role of the DCO as an information provider, advocator, facilitator, and advisor, speeding up the sustainable growth of the digital economy and digital transformation of Member States, further strengthening the welfare, social stability, and cooperation to achieve digital prosperity for all.
What will Rwanda benefit?
According to Gordon Kalema, Director General, Digital Transformation at the Ministry of ICT and Innovation, the awards are an opportunity for Rwandan companies and techpreneurs to showcase what they have and be recognised for it.
“This year all the member states are going to compete against each other in these awards and part of the benefits will include financial capital for the local technology companies from respective countries but also we’ll include other benefits like capacity building, being exposed to the global markets and more,” Kalema said on the awards.
Kalema said that the awards will go a long way in recognising and encouraging tech companies and entrepreneur, adding that the DCO vision and spirit behind the awards aligns with that of the Government of Rwanda, which seeks
“This is, I would say this is aligned to the vision of the country, which is building a pool of local tech companies that serve both the local market as well as the global markets, through policies that encourage innovations to thrive.
“This vision has not started today. For the last couple of years, we’ve had a number of tech companies from Rwanda exported to other African markets, Asia or in the US and would love to see these continuing to grow because it gives us an opportunity to scale what we are doing as a country,” Kalema said.
Among other things, he said Rwanda has championed key homegrown innovations which have not only contributed to job creation, but also eased service delivery and introduced important solutions in all sectors, prominent among them, Irembo.
“From 2015 to date, Irembo has helped to create a network of over 70,000 agents across the board. Irembo has also helped to collect over Rwf30bn in revenues for the country and also in terms of self-delivery, we know that the platform itself has seen through over 25 million transactions at all times,”
“This has a very huge impact,” Kalema said, citing other innovations such as Zipline, now considered a unicorn company, which started its global operations in Rwanda, as an example of the ecosystem Rwanda has put in place.
Kalema said that as a DCO member, Rwandan businesses and innovations will stand a chance not just to win but also share experiences and knowledge with counterparts from other parts of the world and create synergies to boost the ICT sector and to mobilise for financing.
Who will be recognised?
The Digital Prosperity Awards are structured around three core pillars and each pillar is bestowed in individual award categories, each representing a crucial aspect of digital advancement. Among them is the Digital Innovation Award, which will recognize outstanding initiatives that leveraged disruptive technology solutions to drive significant positive change and advancement.
The Digital Transformation Award will acknowledge exemplary efforts in utilizing digital technologies to enhance decision-making processes, fostering progress and prosperity.
There will be awards to celebrate exceptional cooperation endeavors leveraging digital solutions to drive progress and prosperity and an award on Empowering Society, which will go to exemplary initiatives that demonstrate ethical practices and principles in utilizing digital technologies for societal advancement and prosperity.
There will be an award to recognize outstanding contributions in leveraging digital innovations to address environmental challenges and promote sustainability for a prosperous future.
A large and varied technical committee and judging panel of impartial global leaders, innovators, and technical specialists will thoroughly assess the strongest entrants and nominees based on their initiatives tackling local, regional, or global challenges in all economic sectors, fostering a more inclusive and digitally advanced world through cooperation and innovation.
In each category, there will be a winner from the public sector and another from the private sector or civil society, both exclusively representing DCO Member States.
Those victorious from the private sector or civil society will be eligible for the DCO Member Prize for Digital Prosperity for All. Additionally, there will be one finalist from global civil society for each category which is open to nominations from the public, and the ultimate recipient will be handed the DCO International Prize for Digital Prosperity for All.
The DCO brings together the Ministries of Communications and IT of 13 nations – Bahrain, Cyprus, Djibouti, The Gambia, Ghana, Jordan, Kuwait, Pakistan, Oman, Nigeria, Rwanda, Morocco, and Saudi Arabia. – that collectively represents nearly $2 trillion in GDP and a market of nearly 600 million people, more than 70% of whom are under the age of 35.
The Digital Prosperity Awards will celebrate global contributions which empower governments, businesses, and communities to collaborate and accelerate digital economic advancement.