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Innovator Rachel Akim wins regional presidential award

Author: Staff Writter | Published: Saturday, November 19, 2022

Rachel Hakim pictured receiving her Presidential Innovation Award dummy cheque from the Vice President of Uganda Jessica Alupo during the East African Youth Innovation Forum held in Kampala for company, Gogo Play. (Photo: EAC Youth Innovation Forum).

Rachel Hakim, owner of digital entertainment platform GoGo Play – has become the winner of the Presidential Award for South Sudan in the East African Youth Innovation Forum.

Her innovation, GoGo Play aims at growing the entertainment industry in South Sudan through the promotion, exposure, and marketing of high quality content.

The 25-year-old is the CEO of the Juba-based company and the only female winner of a Presidential Award in the East African Community.

She is among six winners — one each from Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi and South Sudan — were formally unveiled during the Forum.

GoGo Play is the first monetized platform for content creators in South Sudan.

The platform seeks to influence a market of more than 5,000 content creators in South Sudan.

It started as a free platform for a period of four months, to be monetized thereafter.

For this purpose, the firm has partnered with m-GURUSH, South Sudan’s pioneer mobile money platform, to provide a payment gateway using South Sudanese pounds and US dollars.

The presidential awards seek to recognize outstanding applications developed by East African youth as well as outstanding youth innovators who are enabling the local innovation eco-system.

The youth innovation programme was advertised in the media in each partner state and on the EAC and EASTECO websites.

Applications were accepted online from eligible young innovators below 35 years of age in eight priority categories — namely, agriculture, health, education, climate change and environment, ICT mobile applications, energy and infrastructure, industrialization and trade, and aeronautics and space technology.

“The East African youth innovators were selected competitively from the six EAC countries,” the judges said.

“The selection was based on the following criteria:  Originality, marketability, scalability, social impact, and technical aspects.”

The entries were evaluated by a national panel of experts comprising the ministries responsible for Science, Technology and Innovation, the National Council of Science and Technology, and ministries responsible for EAC Affairs in each partner state, together with other stakeholders.

The Forum itself was held in Kampala, Uganda, from 8-9 November.

It brought together young researchers, developers and innovators, entrepreneurs, finance actors, academia and public policy makers to discuss the regional situation and latest trends in research and development as well as innovation and product development.

Among other things, the Forum addressed itself to the challenges that the youth in the region face in advancing their talent in technological development, in addition to the opportunities available for innovation in the regional marketplace and globally.

This way, it is hoped that the Forum will have offered a platform to catalyse the effective engagement of young people in steering the course of future developments within the East African Community (EAC) through innovations.

The conference was organized by the East African Science and Technology Commission (EASTECO), under the auspices of the EAC.

The Forum aims to create a regional platform that will stimulate and support young innovators in generating scientific and technological innovative solutions to social needs and to meet market demand.

The Youth Innovation Forum further hopes to enable the youth to create social enterprises that aim to cure social problems through innovative practices.

It is aimed at empowering youngsters to steer their own initiatives and contribute to the building of a prosperous and independent society.

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