National Bank of Malawi (NBM) plc at the weekend awarded eight youthful ICT innovators in the ICT Association of Malawi (ICTAM) Innovation Jam competition in Mangochi.
The awards which were presented during the ICTAM annual lake conference, saw Richard Mtukula of Angle Dimensions winning in the Fintech and Digital Economy category with his Smart Identity software which allows customers to update their ‘Know Your Customer (KYC) details in the comfort of their home using a phone or computer device.
Mtukula got K1.5 million for the feat.
Innovators were competing in eight categories namely Agri-tech, e-Health, Fintech and Digital Economy, Emerging Technologies, Open Source, She Codes Spotlight, and Overall Open category.
Patrick Hambeyani and Christina Mapwele won the Agri-tech category with their Secure IOT Chicken Monitoring System, while e-health went to Matthews Jere and Tadala Mabulo of Khungu Langa Innovation on top of an overall open category award which saw them got an extra K500,000 from the K1 million prize.
Ronald Chikusa won the Emerging Technologies award with his Dwell Malawi innovation, while in the Open-Source category, Eliot Kalenga emerged winner for his Fees Collection Management System (FECOMAS).
Sarah Makina’s Drip monitor innovation won the She Codes Spotlight category. All the winners got a K1 million prize and will get incubation support from NBM and ICTAM.
Mtukula was elated with the award and said; “There is a need for innovators and ICT personnel to look outside the country where they can be able to showcase what they have developed because the young people in this nation are capable of exporting quality software just like the one that we have the ‘Smart Identity’. We believe that if we can export these skill sets and software products, they will be able to contribute towards the development of the country by bringing in forex.”
NBM plc Head of Information and Technology Operations Management (ITOM), John Mitchell said there is evidence that the world is now revolving around technology innovations hence the support from the Bank.
“Whatever is exciting people in the world is coming from the technology sector, Malawi can’t be any different so we have to drive this sector if we are to compete on the world stage. National Bank believes that the youth and technology best drive the future of Malawi. A sector that doesn’t invest in ICT technologies cannot compete on the world stage.”
“National Bank is interested in the goodwill of the Malawi nation and thinks that it can play its role by supporting ICTAM which is trying to assist the youth in the ICT sector to develop their products to a level which they can compete on the international stage,” said Mitchell.
Last week, the Bank announced a new partnership with ICTAM until 2026 where among other things, is injecting K75 million annually for the innovation incubation support, apart from the K40 million for the Innovation Jam awards.
ICTAM President Clarence Gama said he was excited that the 2023 innovation awards have revealed some of the top-notch technology that will transform the nation.
“We have received three times as much in terms of the innovation that we have been receiving in the past, this just tells you there are a lot of young people that are thinking how best they can transform this nation using technology,” said Gama.
NBM started sponsoring the Innovations Jams in 2019.