Entrepreneurs at work in The Disruptive Lab, Gambia’s first and only dedicated innovation hub.
Africell and The Disruptive Lab will lend expertise and resources to projects in the Gambia designed to widen participation and improve levels of tech and business literacy. The venture capitalises on a natural synergy between the two organisations, both of which aim to promote economic development and advance technology skills in The Gambia.
Africell and The Disruptive Lab will provide training to over twenty schools and almost two thousand students in cutting-edge fields such as Virtual Reality, 3D Printing, Drone Technology and Robotics. Africell’s “Geek Express”, a pioneering mobile innovation hub, will expand the programme’s geographical footprint by visiting schools and communities across The Gambia. Training will initially be targeted in Banjul and the surrounding metropolitan area, with plans to serve more rural areas in the second half of 2022. As part of the partnership, Africell will provide a significant package of direct telecommunication support to The Disruptive Lab, including high-speed internet connectivity for its offices and co-working spaces.
“Africell and The Disruptive Lab have aligned objectives,” says Hussein Diab Ghanem, CEO of Africell The Gambia. “Africell’s mission is to spur individual creativity and encourage economic progress by equipping people, businesses and communities with telecommunications technology. Meanwhile, The Disruptive Lab offers an unrivalled platform for tech-focused collaboration. By combining our technology expertise with The Disruptive Lab’s unique learning environment, we hope to enable the rise of a new generation of savvy, smart and successful Gambian entrepreneurs – a process out of which everyone will win”.
The Disruptive Lab is the first dedicated innovation hub in The Gambia. The lab provides space, facilities, technology, and networking opportunities to The Gambia’s growing community of entrepreneurs and start-ups. Despite opening in 2019, just before the pandemic, it has earned a reputation as a destination for local entrepreneurs to make connections and swap ideas. The Disruptive Lab is well positioned as a springboard for Gambians aspiring to make an impact at a regional and international level.
Malik Khan, founder and CEO of The Disruptive Lab, believes that technology is key to Gambia’s long-term success. “Technology is shaping the way we live, work and play. As more of us become connected to digital products and services, this trend will accelerate,” he says. “It is therefore essential for companies, governments and other organisations to “future-proof” themselves by taking steps to nurture a new generation of creative thinkers with robust technology skills. Our game-changing partnership with Africell means that, in The Gambia, those with the desire to learn, innovate, and push for change have an opportunity to do so”.
Africell’s work with The Disruptive Lab fits into a broader Group strategy of fortifying technology capabilities within its operating markets. Other initiatives designed to upskill communities and strengthen local technology supply chains include a pilot project to assemble mobile phone handsets in DRC; support for a charity which communicates news via mini-podcasts in Sierra Leone; and giving students access to international-standard educational resources through the mobile phones in multiple operating markets.