The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) has opened a global competition platform for innovators and ecosystem builders to present their ideas and projects, empowering them to transform their communities into thriving digital societies.

Tagged ‘Innovation Challenges 2020’, the platform is part of efforts by the global telecom body to mitigate the challenge of the COVID-19 outbreak, which has continued to wreak havoc across the globe, threatening lives, putting increasingly more stress on global value chains and testing countries’ resilience and readiness for digital transformation.

Thus, the ITU Innovation Challenges, which is unique in bringing together all stakeholders needed to nurture an inclusive digital world.

“We call on innovators, entrepreneurs, small and medium-sized enterprises, policy-makers, ecosystem builders and resource partners around the world to put forward their innovation or idea for innovation,” ITU said in a press release.

The challenges are put into three categories, they are:

  • The Digital Change-maker Challenge, which covers a wide range of topics from cybersecurity and regulation, to digital inclusion and climate change, and calls for participants to provide innovative solutions to real-life problems faced by stakeholders in their communities, especially considering value chain competitiveness and global disruption due to COVID-19.
  • The Ecosystem Best Practice Challenge, which looks for ecosystem builders to identify best practices that allow innovators to develop sustainable and resilient solutions to navigate technological change and bridge the digital divide.
  • The Women in Tech Challenge, in cooperation with the EQUALS Global Partnership, invites tech innovators to help and empower women in various sectors, including agriculture, fashion, and health.

Applicants are to submit their ideas and innovations via the Co-Create Portal by 31 July 2020. The winners will be invited to an ITU event to pitch their proposals, connect with mentors and experts to scale-up their project and become a member of a network of past winners.

COVID-19 demonstrates the positive impact of innovation but also reveals the uneven distribution of technology’s benefits. Contact tracing mobile apps can help healthcare systems track and stem the spread of COVID-19.

Autonomous vehicles are being deployed to support vital logistic chains in areas that are locked down. And for the 1.5 billion school children impacted by school closures around the world, digital learning solutions provide a means to continue their education. But what about the thousands of children who do not have regular and affordable access to the Internet?

Now more than ever we need innovators, entrepreneurs, policy-makers, leaders and change-makers to bridge the innovation divide. One of the five goals of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the UN agency for information and communication technology, is for all countries to have policies and strategies for ICT-centric innovation.


ITPulse is a wholly information technology communication (ICT) news website, with a special focus on the African continent. The website provides up-to-date biz-tech news, analysis and comprehensive and thorough insight into the continent's ICT terrain

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