Startups Win Business Priority Contest with Technology to Help Arid Regions of Africa

A pitch session of the best tech startups was held as part of the Business Priority’s Innovation Space project at the Roscongress Foundation’s Building Trust Area. Two of the startups, the companies Avtomatika and Health Source, were granted Business Priority status, which means that they have broad opportunities to promote their products and technologies on the Russian and global markets, including African countries.

The projects were evaluated by an expert panel represented by Yury Cherches, a member of the Roscongress Foundation’s Executive Board, Yevgeny Vasilyev, Chairman of the Investment Committee of the NTI Venture Fund, Yury Saprykin, Vice President for Regional and International Development at the Skolkovo Foundation, and Alexander Shatirov, Director of the RK Investment Fund.

“All the companies that we saw today are excellent, fit perfectly into the Forum’s business agenda, and have potential on African markets. Technologies to provide drinking water, insecticides, growth bio-stimulants for plants, and cheap high-speed Internet – all these products are not only in demand, but could truly improve people’s quality of life on the African continent. As a leading socially-oriented development institution, the Roscongress Foundation will provide comprehensive support to innovative projects that have been granted Business Priority status,” Cherches said.

“Business Priority status is a national quality standard for the innovation sector and is granted to advanced projects that have outstanding prospects for development on global markets. At the last pitch session, we see many strong teams. After a difficult discussion, we decided that two companies are worthy of Business Priority status since they offered solutions for key problems facing numerous African countries that suffer from an arid climate – giving them access to clean water and making desert areas habitable,” Marianna Skragan, the director of the Business Priority project, said in comments on the panel’s decision.

The company Health Source has created a decentralized drinking water supply system using its uniquely designed automated equipment. The innovative technology makes it possible to provide high-quality drinking water to the population in places where there is no centralized drinking water supply. In addition, there is no need to use disposable plastic bottles that harm the environment.

The other winner was the company Avtonomika and its Oasis project, which allows for the geoengineering of habitable plots in desert and arid areas.

The other presentations made at the pitch session included projects by RDP.RU, a leading Russian manufacturer of high-performance network equipment for telecom operators and service providers; projects related to biotechnologies in agriculture by AGRATEC BIO and Bionovatik; a project by Intelligent Scanning Systems, a developer of VR-technologies; and the World Wi-Fi project, a global decentralized free Wi-Fi network on private routers.

The Building Trust Area is a unique platform that unites two of the Roscongress Foundation’s projects – the Innovation Space and the Innosocium LAB, which aim to map out the social agenda and build a dialogue between participants in the innovation and social ecosystem. The programme operator is the Innosocium Foundation – the social platform of the Roscongress Foundation.

Gazprom is the general partner and Aksioma is the partner of the Innovation Space at the Russia–Africa Economic Forum.

To participants in the Russia–Africa Economic Forum

Ladies and gentlemen,

It gives me great pleasure to welcome you at the opening of the Russia–Africa Economic Forum.

The rich history of relations between Africa and Russia has never seen an event of a similar scale. Members of government agencies and business community, and experts are meeting at this Forum to substantively discuss the current status and prospects of cooperation and a wide range of topical issues of the world economy.

Today, the countries of Africa are well on their way towards social, economic, scientific and technological development, and are playing a significant role in international affairs. They are strengthening mutually beneficial integration processes within the African Union and other regional and sub regional organizations across the continent.

In recent years, the traditionally friendly ties of partnership between Russia and Africa have gained new momentum, both at a bilateral level and in various multilateral formats. In addition to preserving our past experience of successful cooperation, we have also managed to make significant new steps forward. Trade and investment are growing dynamically, and new joint projects are under way in extractive industries, agriculture, healthcare, and education. Russian companies are ready to offer their scientific and technological developments to their African partners, and share their experience of upgrading energy, transport and communications infrastructures.

I hope that the Forum will help identify new areas and forms of cooperation, put forward promising joint initiatives that will bring the collaboration between Russia and Africa to a qualitatively new level and contribute to the development of our economies and the prosperity of our peoples.

I wish the Forum’s participants fruitful work and all the best.

Vladimir Putin

The Russia–Africa Summit, which is taking place in Sochi on 23–24 October 2019, encapsulates the historically friendly relations between the African continent and the Russian Federation. This Summit carries great significance as it is the first of its kind to emerge during a period of major global and international transformations. In response to the aspirations of the people it is representing, the Summit intends to build a comprehensive framework for expanding Russian–African relations into broader horizons of joint cooperation across different fields.

The African nations and Russia share a common understanding of international relations, based on the principles of respect for the rule of international law, equality, non-interference in the internal affairs of states, and the peaceful resolution of disputes. Both sides affirm their commitment to support multilateral actions to oppose new international threats, be they terrorism and extremism in all their forms, or declining growth rates. The two sides share a firm conviction regarding the importance of developing trade flows and supporting mutual investment in such a way as to ensure security, peace and development for the African and Russian people.

African countries have huge potential and opportunities that will allow them, once efforts to streamline their economies have been achieved, to emerge as real global players. In recent years, the nations of this continent have achieved major successes spanning the political, economic, social and administrative spheres. Africa has flourished in terms of growth over the past decade, reaching a continent-wide growth rate of 3.55% in 2018.

The African Union Summit, which was held in Niger in July 2019, continued the efforts of the African countries and saw the African Continental Free Trade Agreement come into force, along with its operational instruments. The agreement is one of the key objectives of Agenda 2063, an African development strategy that has been created to address the African people’s desire for prosperity and decent living standards.

These successes are opening up wide-ranging prospects for cooperation between African countries and the Russian Federation, and confirm the determination of African governments and their people to cooperate with multiple partners in order to establish mutually beneficial relations.

With this in mind, we express our hopes that the Russia–Africa Summit will help in the establishment of constructive strategic relations, based on partnership between two sides across various fields, and in the service of fulfilling the hopes and aspirations of the African people and their friends in Russia.

President of the Arab Republic of Egypt
Abdelfattah ALSISI