New European-African innovation hub to focus on smart logistics

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The European Commission has granted EU1.9 million (US$2.3 million) to DIGILOGIC, a new project that sees European and African innovation hubs collaborate to enable innovators, startups and SMEs to jointly develop smart logistics solutions in close cooperation with industries and investors.

The three-year DIDGILOGIC project aims to boost cooperation and long-term, sustainable partnerships between European and African digital innovation hubs to encourage innovation in the logistics space.

It is deployed by a consortium comprising three hubs in Europe – Digital Hub Logistics Dortmund (Germany), VTT (Finland) and Friuli Innovazione (Italy) – and two in Africa – MEST (Ghana) and BongoHive (Zambia).  It also includes system change facilitator Endeva (Germany) and SME Prototipi (Nigeria). 

These partners will foster the adoption of emerging technologies such as Cloud Computing, Big Data, Augmented and Virtual Reality, Machine Learning, Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Smart Devices, Internet of Things (IoT) and Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) for smart logistics solutions, through the deployment of a dynamic and impactful knowledge transfer process and a targeted implementation programme across Europe and Africa. 

DIGILOGIC partners see the horizontally connecting logistics industry at the converging point of interest and priorities for digital innovation for social and business development; a crucial node for Europe’s and Africa’s sustainable prosperity. Applying ICT and other digital technologies to logistics will have a knock-on effect, also benefiting other industries.

Digital innovation hubs are the organisations that DIGILOGIC will use to foster the adoption of emerging technologies for innovative solutions, products and services. DIGILOGIC will act as an ecosystem of ecosystems, mapping the existing players, leveraging on hubs’ competencies and networks to analyse the levers of change which should be addressed to exploit innovation, facilitate collaboration and ultimately create market and uptake opportunities for innovators, SMEs and startups in smart logistics from both continents. 

“With a goal of equipping the continent’s most promising tech entrepreneurs with the skills required to launch and scale globally successful software companies in the past decade, MEST is extremely proud to associate in the DIGILOGIC project along with our partners,” said Prasanth Kumar, director of consultancy at MEST. 

“MEST is also proud to lead the ecosystem engagement activities and to execute inclusive digital and entrepreneurship capacity building programs for unemployed youth and vulnerable groups.” 

DIGILOGIC is working on a smart logistics technology radar, including the latest technical developments and industry needs, with a deep dive into specific European and African challenges and available solutions, to guide a mentoring and go-to-market learning programme.  

In June 2021, the project will also launch an interactive e-learning platform with on-demand and live business, design thinking and smart logistics ICT modules. The platform will be free of charge and accessible at any time with on-demand and live webinars, documentation, dedicated thematic courses, exercises and assignments to enable learners to follow their learning path as per their needs, motivation and time availability.

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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