Rwanda among 39 African winners of the World Bank Africa Blog4Dev 2021 competition

On the occasion of the World Youth Skills Day, World Bank is pleased to announce the winners of the Blog4Dev 2021 competition.

Launched in 2014 by the World Bank Kenya office, the Blog4Dev competition is an annual writing contest, inviting young people to weigh in on a topic critical to their country’s economic development. In 2019, it became a regional event. This year, they have asked young Africans to share their ideas on how young people could work with their government and civil society leaders to respond to the impact of COVID-19 (coronavirus) and build a stronger post-pandemic economic and social system.

World Bank was eager to gain valuable insights and perspectives from African youth how they can contribute to a resilient recovery, in the context of COVID-19. The pandemic is exerting unprecedented social, economic and health pressures on Sub-Saharan African countries and is deepening social inequalities affecting the most vulnerable.

From the onset of the pandemic, the World Bank has responded with the fastest and largest crisis response in its history to support the countries in their crisis response. Up to $50 billion is gradually being allocated to support African governments in strengthening their health care systems, bolstering vaccine purchase and deployment; ensuring food security for local communities; scaling up social safety net programs for the most vulnerable and supporting the private sector in navigating the financial impact of the crisis.

With young Africans disproportionately at risk of reduced earnings, less disposable income, underemployment, and missed learning and job training opportunities, the stakes are high to ensure that future generations are positioned to succeed. As an institution, our efforts are focused on savings lives in Africa, protecting the poor, protecting, and creating jobs, and building back better.

This year, they received 1,266 entries, and the World Bank Country Offices were able to designate  winners from 39 countries. This number of entries is extremely heartening and demonstrates the energy that young Africans have to discuss the development challenges affecting them and their communities. This 2021 cohort will add their ideas and enthusiasm to the Youth Transforming Africa network that includes the winners of the 2019 and 2020 editions.

Among many proposed solutions, one recurrent idea is the creation of online platforms by governments to gather more quickly and efficiently the different proposals from youth and to frame a structured dialogue . Another suggestion is the request to support youth’s skills for innovation, both in social and technological areas, that can be contribute to the building of a stronger post-COVID-19 economy and society. Young people can play a role in creating health equipment and kits using local raw materials, or in developing mentoring programs or educational software. Blog4Dev 2021 participants also suggested governmental programs promoting volunteerism and solidarity actions driven by young people in order to reach the most disadvantaged.  

The winners will very soon embark on a set of online activities. The awards ceremony in Washington, D.C. will be organized when travel is once again safe and possible.

On behalf of the World Bank’s Africa Regions, World Bank heartily congratulate all of their Blog4Dev winners. They are the torchbearers to Africa’s development journey and serve as important voices in their respective countries. World Bank is looking forward to seeing and hearing about their incredible contributions to the advancement of the continent in the months and years to come.

Please join us in congratulating #Blog4Dev’s 2021 winners:

  • Angola: Evaristo Ucuahamba Manasés 
  • Benin: Zoumenou Olivier Max-Moreno Sedjro. 
  • Botswana: Michell Mositi Mompati 
  • Burkina Faso: Sango D. Edouard  
  • Burundi: Elsa Marina Syvine 
  • Cabo Verde: Bruno Miguel Rocha Fortes Pires  
  • Chad: Louange Madjiyam
  • Cameroon: Emmanuelle Laurence Okalia Mbia 
  • Cote d’Ivoire: Aboubacar Sakra 
  • DRC: Innocent Mwendo Tuyisenge 
  • Eswatini: Buyelani Msweli 
  • Ethiopia: Kidus Fikremariam 
  • Gabon: Ngognaté Samantha Sammuelle 
  • The Gambia: Francis Thomas Aubee  
  • Ghana: Timothy Dziedzom Amaglo-Mensah 
  • Guinea Bissau: Tchuda Na Blaga 
  • Guinea: Oummou Kaïry Balde  
  • Kenya: Kevin Lunzalu 
  • Lesotho: Paballo Sekoto.  
  • Madagascar: Lanja Miharintsoa Randrianarison 
  • Malawi: Mwayiwathu Mkwala  
  • Mali: Zamba Ousmane Doumbia 
  • Mauritania: Aiche Sy  
  • Mozambique: Melio Joao Tinga 
  • Namibia: Loise Ndinelago Shipepe  
  • Niger: Fadjimata Harouna Moussa 
  • Nigeria: Ogunbufunmi Ifeoluwa Bunmi 
  • Republic of Congo: Malongo Bouanga Mireille Oceanne Neschamah 
  • Rwanda: Heshima Olexa 
  • Senegal: Fatou Drame 
  • Somalia: Mohamed Ali Mire 
  • South Africa: Sindisa Mramba 
  • South Sudan: Emma Kwaje Martin 
  • Sudan: Aisha Mohammedlelhassan Hamid Hassan 
  • Tanzania: Raphael January Kambamwene  
  • Togo: Vava Kossivi Nicolas. 
  • Uganda: Muhanuuzi Dorah 
  • Zambia: Jade Nshimbi 
  • Zimbabwe: Julianna Makonise

Africa is ready to fight covid-19 with seven innovative data projects

Agence Française de Développement (AFD)  “Shared Innovation” series highlights innovative programs created or developed in our partner countries to combat covid-19.

AFD, Expertise France and The GovLab have launched call for projects that will use data to combat Covid-19. The goal is to unlock the potential of under-exploited data, as part of the #Data4COVID19 challenge – with a focus on Africa. This call for innovative, data-based proposals aims to address the economic, social and health challenges caused by Covid-19 across the continent. Some 80 project proposals were submitted. Here are the seven winners.

An early warning system to identify disease outbreaks; an analysis of how the crisis has affected students; the identification of missed opportunities for testing vulnerable populations. What do they all have in common? Data.

Data is essential to better understand the different aspects of the crisis and the pandemic. Data can be used to implement policies designed to help communities across the African continent.

And yet, there is too much data that, despite being open and available, lies unused in digital archives. In order to exploit this data to benefit communities, AFD, Expertise France and The GovLab launched the #Data4COVID19 challenge, with a focus on Africa.

More than 80 project proposals were received and reviewed, with the help of a panel of independent data science experts. Project winners obtain funding (the total budget for the seven projects is €567,000), and will gain access to an online platform through which they can interact directly with data science experts to discuss their work, find solutions collectively to the challenges faced, and share results.

This platform will facilitate peer-to-peer learning and help increase the impact and widen the influence of each project. Here’s a glimpse at the seven winning projects. 

1. Improving Testing among vulnerable populations

Research Institute for Development


In Mali, Covid-19 testing among vulnerable populations is generally inadequate due to structural and socio-behavioral barriers. The purpose of this project is to quantify the missed opportunities for Covid-19 testing among vulnerable populations (particularly people living with HIV). The aim is to demonstrate that Covid-19 testing for these groups could be improved with appropriate use of the human and institutional resources available.

  • In short: a project to quantify missed opportunities for Covid-19 testing among vulnerable populations (particularly people living with HIV).

2. Assessing and minimizing the negative effects of the pandemic on students 

Alioune Diop University of Bambey


To combat the pandemic, the Senegalese government imposed protective measures in the higher education sector that are likely to have a negative impact on the quality of education provided. To what extent have higher education students been affected by these measures? Could this have an effect on their academic and professional performance? Can a student’s environment have an impact on their results? This project aims to answer all these questions, with a view to finding appropriate solutions to limit the negative effects of health measures on students’ quality of education.

  • In short: a project to assess how higher education students have been impacted by the crisis and to develop appropriate solutions.

3. Understanding determinants of behavior towards health measures

Nigeria Center for Disease and Control


Nigeria was hit hard by a second wave of Covid-19, partly because people were less willing to adhere to government guidelines. In the first instance, the researchers aim to identify the social, economic and political factors that shape Nigerians’ individual perceptions and beliefs with regard to Covid-19. They will then examine how these perceptions and beliefs affect people’s behavior towards health measures.

  • In short: a project aiming to understand the political, economic and social factors that shape Nigerians’ individual perceptions and beliefs with regard to Covid-19, and how this affects their behavior.

4. Developing an African Covid-19 vulnerability index

Code for Africa

Nigeria and Senegal

The spread of Covid-19 and its new variants is worsening on the African continent due in part to the many health challenges that existed prior to the pandemic. This project aims to help policymakers to analyze the impact of these preexisting challenges more effectively, by providing them with up-to-date data and digital tools so that they can better plan their Covid-19 response. An African Covid-19 vulnerability index will be developed in coordination with Africa CDC.

  • In short: a project to develop an African Covid-19 Vulnerability Index, in coordination with Africa CDC, for use by policymakers to inform their decision-making processes with more accurate and up-to-date data.

5. Identifying the role of people’s perceptions in developing effective prevention programs

The Population Council 


Why are Covid-19 infection rates increasing in Africa? And in Kenya specifically? Do people’s perceptions of their vulnerabilities play a role? How does this affect their compliance with preventive behaviors amid the threat of Covid-19? The researchers aim to develop a better understanding of the causes of the virus’s spread by studying the nature of these perceptions among the social groups identified. The information collected will be used to develop targeted prevention, communication and information programs in key countries to control not only the current pandemic, but also any future outbreaks.

  • In short: a project to assess how perceptions of vulnerability to Covid-19 affect compliance with preventive behaviors, among the population subgroups identified.

6. Developing an early warning system to identify disease outbreaks

National Institute of Public Hygiene 

Côte d’Ivoire

There are many people who, despite being infected with Covid-19, do not have recourse to health care services, making it difficult to detect many cases. This project aims to improve existing epidemic surveillance mechanisms, particularly among population groups with little or no access to health care services. The goal is to develop an early warning system to identify outbreaks and monitor the spread of diseases.

  • In short: a project to improve existing epidemic surveillance mechanisms through the development of an early warning system, with a particular focus on population groups with little or no access to health care services.

7. Using social networks to better understand citizens and promote compliance with prevention measures

Data Science Institute: Institut National Polytechnique Felix Houphouët-Boigny 

Côte d’Ivoire

There are many obstacles to implementing suitable health care measures in response to the pandemic, such as difficulties determining the right measures to adopt and assessing their impact, as well as the public’s mistrust in governments. By using anonymized data from social networks, this project intends to gain a better understanding of people’s expectations and concerns regarding health measures. This research aims to help the authorities regain public trust and implement a more effective policy response. 

  • In short: a project to use anonymized data from social networks for a better understanding of people’s expectations and concerns regarding government measures in response to Covid-19 (curfews, lockdowns, etc.), in order to restore public trust in the authorities.

KTRN partners with Babyl to power digital healthcare during the pandemic

KTRN, Rwanda’s only 4G LTE wholesaler company, has joined Babyl Rwanda in its efforts to expand digital healthcare across the country through the #ConnectRwanda Initiative.

Mark Karomba, Chief Corporate Relations & HR Officer at KTRN and the Medical Director at Babyl, Dr. Patrick Singa at the launch of KTRN& Babyl Partnership & handover of smartphones.

KTRN has donated 500 smartphones to Babyl; 350 Smartphones to Health Centers that partner with Babyl, and 150 smartphones to Babyl Health Center Agents.

“KTRN, being a pioneer in the latest LTE technologies in Rwanda, is always looking for ways of championing technology-based solutions to Rwandan challenges. It is a priority & an opportunity to participate in empowering the Rwandan health sector, especially in telemedicine.

With the Covid-19 pandemic outbreak, we felt responsible for facilitating Rwandans in accessing the health care services using digital technologies, benefiting from the Nation-wide 4G LTE network coverage.” said DAEHEAK Aaron AN, Chief Executive Officer at Korea Telecom Rwanda Networks (KTRN).

Donating 4G-enabled smartphones is also in line with the Government’s #ConnectRwanda initiative aimed at increasing smartphone penetration in Rwanda. In partnership with Babyl Rwanda, KTRN is embarking on promoting digital health care as a way to deliver primary and safe care to Rwandans. Embracing digital health care will enable many of the medical services to continue operating regularly and without interruption in the course of this pandemic while minimizing the spread of COVID-19.

Babyl enables health centers across Rwanda to triage patients and connects them to clinicians via digital consultations.

The donated smartphones will support Babyl’s project allowing health care workers and Babyl agents from various Health centers across the country to better serve the population.

“KTRN donation is contributing to the Government vision of digitization of health centers by providing suitable devices enabling patients to connect with a Babyl doctor or nurse over the phone. This solution is aiming at reducing the demand for health center staff. We remain committed to accelerating Rwanda’s digital health agenda in partnership with the Government of Rwanda and KTRN in playing a key role in helping us achieve our mission.” said Shivon Byamukama, Managing Director at Babyl Rwanda

By accessing doctors over the phones for primary medical care reduces the burden of the physical health facilities and the medical staff will have time freed-up for patients with the most urgent and complex issue.