CcHub, Africa’s leading incubator for innovation, will provide financing and technological support for technical initiatives aimed at curbing COVID-19 and its social and economic effects.
The Lagos and Nairobi-based organization placed an open application on its website this week, Bosun Tijani, CEO of CcHub, told TechCrunch on a call.
CcHub will offer $5000 to $100,000 in funding blocks to organizations with COVID-19 related programs covering the last mile of contact, support for contaminated and most vulnerable people, procurement of critical medical supplies and support for disrupted food supply chains.
The organisation, and its iHub affiliate, will also open up technical support and services from its CcHub Design Lab to supported businesses, according to Tijani.
Tijani noted that existing start-ups who want to set up COVID-19 related projects on the side of their core business can apply.
The initiative stems from fears who Africa could be less prepared than other regions to cope with an outbreak.
Tijani hopes that CcHub will be able to leverage its network and expertise to minimize the spread and harm of COVID-19 in Africa.
The Lagos-based innovation-space acquired iHub in Kenya in 2019, putting together two of Africa’s most influential technology hubs through membership networks, VC, program scale, incubated start-ups and global exposure.
“Quite a number of African countries, if they get to the level of Italy or the UK, I don’t think the system is resilient enough to provide support to something like that,” Tijani said.
Cases reported in major population countries, such as Kenya and Nigeria, were in single digits as late as last week, but these numbers are increasing. Last Wednesday, the World Health Organization reported 463 cases of COVID-19 in Africa and 10 confirmed deaths related to the virus.
Governments are taking steps on this. South Africa, the second-largest recorded outbreak of coronavirus on the continent, declared a national disaster this week, banned public meetings and imposed travel restrictions on the United States and the United Kingdom. Kenya has also imposed its own travel limits and limitations on crowds.
with 8 cases recorded so far in Nigeria, CcHub’s Tijani fears the actual scenario for the West African country and Kenya could be much worse.
CcHub CEO Bosun Tijani said,
“I think Lagos and Nigeria are in denial. Some governments in Africa are taking action, but the focus in Africa has been relying on port of entry [measures], which isn’t reliable because…I suspect it’s already here…people may not have symptoms yet,” said Tijani.
If there is widespread outbreak, he fears it will overwhelm several sectors in countries such as Nigeria and Kenya.
“We don’t have the health systems to contain it. We don’t have the the welfare system that can work for the most vulnerable, such as elderly…we don’t manufacture most of these medical supplies and our food [supply-chain] is not reliable,” Tijani added.
Addressing these pending challenges related to COVID-19 in Africa is what CcHub hopes to support in its latest open call to fund projects.
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