Africa Mobility Initiative (AMI), an initiative implemented by the University of Nairobi’s C4DLab with support from Shell Foundation, the Transformative Urban Mobility Initiative (TUMI), the German Organization for International Cooperation GmbH (GIZ), World Resources Institute (WRI), and UN-HABITAT yesterday, October 12, 2020 launched its accelerator program, Africa Transformative Mobility Accelerator (ATMA).
In a virtual launch ceremony presided over by the CEO of the Kenya National Innovation Agency, Dr. Tonny Omwansa, the startups were introduced to their mentors whom they will work with to ensure the objectives of the acceleration program are achieved.
Omwansa flagged off the initiative and challenged the various startups to take advantage of the vast experience of the mentors in both the mobility and the business sectors to realize growth and positive impact.
At the same time, the former don and C4DLab director highlighted that the acceleration program will culminate with a mobility summit. “This program is officially launched and we will have a mobility summit in the first quarter of 2021 in Nairobi, Kenya,” Omwansa said.
The startups that are all hailing from the mobility-tech space were warned about expecting a smooth ride towards success. Giving an example of the digital taxi giant Uber, Cezanne Maherali who is the head of Policy, Middle East and Africa at Uber painted a picture of the hurdles they encountered before the digital taxi business finally thrived in South Africa and Kenya.
“Uber has faced very many challenges since its inception. In Kenya and South Africa for instance, there were clashes between our drivers and the traditional taxi drivers. Many vehicles were torched and some drivers even lost their lives,” She said.
Judith Owigar from UNHabitat lauded the tech-preneurs behind the formation of the startups and reiterated the UNHabitat’s commitment in supporting the accelerator.
“Talent is everywhere and opportunities are hard to come by, and so we’re happy to be partners in this program. Our aim is to see these innovations grow and impact life,” Owigar said.
Africa Mobility Initiative has identified the opportunity to provide transformative urban mobility solutions that can offer more travel options, reduce travel time, cost and risk, while at the same time providing comfort. This has been necessitated by the increase in urban population in the African cities resulting to the upsurge in transport needs, congestion and pollution.
The 2020/2021 cohort will feature 9 startups, four from Kennya and five from Uganda. The startups offer transformative, practical, well researched, and tested solutions addressing urban mobility challenges in African Cities. The admission to the accelerated was through a rigorous and competitive process which saw 112 applications from the two East African countries evaluated.
To see the full list of the startups visit https://africamobilityinitiative.com/startups/selected