Rethinking Development - Ethiopia Accelerator Lab

December 11, 2019

UNDP Ethiopia's new accelerator lab team

Ethiopia launched the UNDP Accelerator Lab on Tuesday 10th December in the presence of young entrepreneurs and innovators, State Minister for Innovation and Technology Mr. Sisay Tola and development partners. Also present were representatives from the embassies of Germany and Qatar who have partnered with UNDP to set up accelerator labs in 60 countries, most of them in Africa.

In his welcome address, UNDP Resident Representative Mr. Turhan Saleh clarified why the lab matters by explaining that the lab, " is a response to a world changing at a dizzying pace with challenges that cannot be solved in the same old ways. We have to think, act, work and collaborate differently.

Because of this, the Lab is about innovation rooted in local solutions that can be scaled up quickly to deliver tangible benefits; it is about openness, about taking smart risks and thinking ‘big’ about the possibility of transformational change. The Lab also shows that a UN organization founded more than 50 years ago can adapt and evolve. Charles Darwin would be pleased! And all this to help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals."

In addition to Germany and Qatar, UNDP is also globally partnering with Italy’s Ministry of Environment, Land and Sea Protection, Nesta, MIT and the Honeybee Network. .

So far, the Accelerator Labs have globally attracted over $70 million — US$33 million from Germany, US$20 million from Qatar, US$5.5 million from Italy as well as  US$20 million from UNDP core partners.

On the sidelines of the accelerator lab launch, UNDP and the Ministry of Innovation and Technology signed a letter of intent with KOICA and Israel to support the innovation ecosystem in Ethiopia.