UNDP and the Future of Data Centers Summit launch the first “Techathon” to encourage innovators to address developmental challenges

Posted May 23, 2022

Youth at the Techathon. UNDP Photo/Hady ElZenary

In a strategic step in line with the Government of Egypt's vision to enhance the role of innovators, entrepreneurs and startup owners to constructively participate in shaping the future, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Egypt announced, at the Future of Data Centers Summit (FDC) the launch of a strategic partnership with the summit organizer, MCS Holding.

The partnership will build the capabilities of startups and youth in digital skills and launch the "Techathon" activities to encourage young people to contribute to addressing development challenges.

The UNDP-FDC Techathon was held during the activities of the FDC Stars conference devoted to supporting entrepreneurship in the ICT sector through various programmes and discussions with entrepreneurs and startups. It is one of the main events held on the sidelines of the FDC annual Summit in its 4th session, held under the patronage and presence of H.E. Dr. Amr Talat, Minister of Communications and Information Technology, on May 21-23.

The Techathon was one of the most prominent technological innovation competitions and is based on promoting various ICT tools to contribute to innovative ideas in three main areas:

  • Decent work and economic growth
  • Innovation in industry and infrastructure
  • Sustainable cities and communities

The proposed idea or solution must be commercially profitable, sustainable and implementable, provided that the abilities and skills to implement the solutions and the necessary technology is available.

Commenting on this statement, the Chair of the Board of Directors of MCS Holding and the summit organizer, Eng. Tarek Shabaka said: "We believe that investing in human resources with innovative ideas is only a step on the way to investing in the future of development, which we work closely together to reach, by supporting the engine of digital transformation and consolidating the uses of digital tools in addressing future challenges.

He also noted that "the partnership with UNDP Egypt is a strong competitive advantage to support our plans aiming at supporting Egyptian cadres, given that the activities of the Techathon are devoted to addressing development challenges during the FDC Stars conference held on the sidelines of the Future of Data Centers Summit-a first step towards an ambitious vision in this partnership."

On his part, UNDP Egypt Resident Representative Mr. Alessandro Fracassetti highlighted that "Digital transformation will help countries achieve significant progress in key sectors, such as health care, agriculture, industry and financial services; generating new types of jobs, new training needs, and capabilities to drive sustainable economic growth."  

He added: "We are now further embedding digital technologies across all our development programmes, empowering digital ecosystems and equipping ourselves with state-of-the-art knowledge and tools to support our partners at this rapid change.

UNDP Egypt Assistant Resident Representative and Inclusive Growth and Innovation Team Leader added, "The partnership with MCS Holding comes to support startups and entrepreneurs in Egypt, to adopt digital and technological tools in their business model and integrate them into their products and services. This will contribute to achieving the SDGs and the sustainability and growth of those companies. It will also guide them to work on the main needs and challenges of the community."

She also stressed that "Supporting startups and building youth capabilities in technology is one of the SDGs and Egypt's Vision 2030 and will contribute to Egypt's keeping up with global digital development and the growth of the local economy."

Fourteen startups and teams have been selected to participate in the Techathon to compete for the win. The teams presented their solutions and final ideas to a jury to choose the best solutions. The jury includes the Project Manager of "Rowad 2030", Dr. Ghada Khalil, "Digital Transformation Expert Dr. Mohamed Khalif, Information Security Officer at Banque Misr, Eng. Rania El Roby, Sales Director at MCS Holding, Eng. Ali Azzam and UNDP Egypt Innovation and Inclusive Growth Programme Analyst Dr. Nizar Sami.

At the end of the summit, Mr. Fracassetti, Eng. Shabaka, Dr. Ghada Khalil and the Vice Chairman of Banque Misr, Mr. Hossam El-Din A. Wahab, announced the winners and distributed the prizes.

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For more information: Contact:

Fatma Elzahraa Yassin 

Communication Analyst - UNDP

E-mail: fatma.yassin@undp.org