Did You Know inventive Africa wants to meet you in Kenya!

Did You Know inventive Africa wants to meet you in Kenya!

Kenya has been at the forefront of African innovation for the last few years. With Safaricom driving innovation, and taking mobile money to the next level with M-Pesa and it’s spinoffs, the Kenyan population, whether urban or rural, are becoming used to new technology, and craving technology in order to develop their small businesses and personal lives.

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iHub, probably the most famous of Africa’s technology hubs, as well as other tech centres, are also driving innovation in Kenya. It is no coincidence they have the support of the likes of IBM, Microsoft and Google, as well as receiving a visit from Mark Zuckerberg, who has also been excited by Kenya’s innovative expansion. Hubs like these are helping the youth develop their skills and cultivate their creativity, preparing them to create the next wave of African solutions, and hopefully solutions worldwide.

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In Nairobi, the Nairobi innovation week, which takes place at the University of Nairobi, aims at showcasing the latest technology, and inspiring others to follow through with their ideas. The private and public sector, investors, research centres, development partners and even the President attend the event, which is part of the Kenyan innovation social calendar, and a must visit if you happen to be in the area.

The innovative nature of Kenya, and the excitement surrounding the country, is why Inventive Africa has decided to go and visit to document Kenyan innovation with our own eyes. I will first attend the Co-Willing conference in Ukunda, which will discuss how Africa can achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, and then head to Nairobi to visit iHub and meet with the Nairobi Innovation Week team to discuss how technology is changing Africa.

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Inventive Africa wants to meet you!

While I am there, I would like to take the opportunity to talk to other innovative Kenyans about their ideas and aspirations. It would be wonderful to make some video blogs about Kenyan start ups, and also see what difficulties entrepreneurs are facing in getting their ideas off the ground.

If you are interested in featuring on Inventive Africa, and are available from the 25th of January in Nairobi, get in contact on InventiveAfrica1@gmail.com or contact us on Twitter. I am very much looking forward to meeting you!

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Did You Know Fintech in Africa will be more secure?

Did You Know Fintech in Africa will be more secure?

The festive period is over and reality is sinking in. Back to work, and worrying about the money we spent on gifts, food and going out over the break. For many, money worries are a constant and not just seasonal and some take drastic methods to fix them. In desperation, people can find themselves reaching out to loansharks and money lending services with ridiculous interest rates, which just drag them further into the abyss of debt. This of course is not a problem in Africa alone, with many all over the world feeling pressure to take out a pay day loan, but the lack of regulation in parts of Africa can put people into dangerous situations.

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There is currently a race to corner the loan market in Africa. With more and more people having access to the internet and mobile phones, it is now possible for them to gain access to credit. The informal work force finds it challenging to gain access to credit. Many of them do not have bank accounts, and therefore it is difficult to get a credit rating. But this is changing, with firms like LendingSquare offering innovative methods of creating credit scores, using criteria and data taken from their internet usage as well as their mobile money expenditure. This is a starting point for providing small safe (ish) loans for small businesses.

This movement in the credit sector has pushed TransUnion, who have been based in the USA for over 50 years, to take the plunge and head down to use their expertise in the Continue reading “Did You Know Fintech in Africa will be more secure?”

Did You Know Africa in 2018 will be even more innovative?

Did You Know Africa in 2018 will be even more innovative?

And just like that, another year is here! 2017 will quickly become a distant memory as 2018 takes hold. Yes, for another week or so we may still write the wrong date on our documents, but regardless, 2018 will charge on bringing us exciting new innovations. We may still not have the flying car, but in Africa, the momentum of change is creating opportunities for many across the continent. Anyone that reads just a little about Africa, and not necessarily about  innovation in Africa, will know that the rapid increase in mobile phone and internet usage across the continent has made a dramatic change. This is old news now, but has created a foundation for solutions across all sectors, from farming, to banking and the transport system.

2018 will solidify and build on these solutions. Tech hubs, maker spaces and incubators will continue to drive African youth and entrepreneurs to follow their dreams and push their innovations. Some may not succeed with their ideas, but each set back gives them new skills and better experience to take on into their next ventures. But it isn’t just these spaces that are driving change.

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Inventive Africa will be visiting iHub later this month!

In recent years, many awards have popped up across the continent, celebrating innovators and their ideas. 2018 won’t be any different with the prizes becoming more Continue reading “Did You Know Africa in 2018 will be even more innovative?”

Did You Know 2017 was an exciting year for African innovation?

Did You Know 2017 was an exciting year for African innovation?

Another year is already over, and it has been an exciting one! As Christmas approaches, and 2018 peaks its head over the horizon, it is time to look back on 2017 and enjoy the innovative gifts that it has brought us from Africa!

The innovative African year has followed the expected trends with Fintech, Agriculture, health, education and renewable energy all receiving a lot of attention from Africa’s creative minds. It has also been a year in which innovation awards, and summits focussing on the topic of innovation in Africa have been very popular, and have also made a difference to many Start-ups in Africa; offering them funding, technical and business support to help develop their innovations to become world beaters.

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The Innovation Prize for Africa has once pitted together an exciting group of nominees, the winner of which was Prof. El-Shafei who invented the smart bearing, which significantly increases the efficiency of turbines. (IPA are once again looking for nominees, so it is time to sign up now!). Seedstars have also given a platform to many innovators and unearthed some incredible talent. Their winner this year was an app Continue reading “Did You Know 2017 was an exciting year for African innovation?”

Did You Know the African Youtube could inspire other innovators?

Did You Know the African Youtube could inspire other innovators?

How many ideas do you have? I have a lot, all the time, solving different problems, offering services for people, different tools and products. It is always a little disheartening when I find that someone already had the idea, or that is has been created already and is quite advanced. But, last week I was sent a news clip by the inspirational Edem Adzaho, who I was honoured to feature on Inventive Africa in May, about a Ghanaian that simply didn’t care that his innovation existed already. His aim was to not just replicate it, but to make it better.

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Gabriel Opare

The challenge he set for himself was not a small task of over coming a new product, he decided that the might of Youtube needed to be improved on. So, he set to it. Maybe it was the exuberance of youth that gives him the edge over me and my disheartened moments, but 19 year old Gabriel Opare took on this challenge and is well on his way to succeeding. Gabriel doesn’t even study computer programming, he is a Sociology student at my old university, the University of Ghana. He taught himself to code by taking online courses in his free time. Continue reading “Did You Know the African Youtube could inspire other innovators?”

Did you know the upcoming film Mobile Africa showcases the tech revolution?

Did you know the upcoming film Mobile Africa showcases the tech revolution?

In 2002 I first travelled to Ghana. When I landed, I was given a Spacefon “chip” (Sim card) at the airport, and thus started my journey with mobile phones and innovation in Africa. It was only 2 years after I had started using my first mobile phone. The network wasn’t always good, and there were often 20 “hello?” said at the beginning of the call, before a conversation could be had, but it was brilliant. Being their as a young lad for the first time, it made life a lot easier. Through the years, Spacefon became Areeba, and now one of the giants MTN, and like the changing networks, so has the quality of the service provided. There are now a plethora networks to use, and during my last trip I was able to live stream the Easter celebrations from a small village in the east of the country. Quite a big step in the last 15 years!

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Mobile Africa – Now on Kick Starter!

Innovation in Africa is now big news. What is encouraging is that individuals and groups are joining hand and collectively driving forward technology and innovation in the continent. There has been a joint realisation that innovation is able to speed up the development of the continent, which has been playing catch up for decades. With the biggest youthful population, the continent can use innovative trends to gain an equal standpoint globally. Inventive Africa is one of the parts of this giant machine promoting innovation, and it is always exciting to see others that are passionate about the same things.

One such project is Mobile Africa, a movie outlining the technology revolution that is underway throughout Africa. Fortunately for Inventive Africa, Mobile Africa filmmakers Scott Gorman and Chris Larson. Support their film Mobile Africa: The Story of a Tech Revolution on Kickstarter today. Check out their teaser video below and see what they have to say!

Continue reading “Did you know the upcoming film Mobile Africa showcases the tech revolution?”

Did You Know AIDF Summit Puts Spotlight on Safe Water and Sanitation in Kenya

Did You Know AIDF Summit Puts Spotlight on Safe Water and Sanitation in Kenya

The AIDF have a wonderful event coming up in February 2017, which looks into latest policy and project updates, best practice and innovations to improve humanitarian aid operations and infrastructure resilience in sub-Saharan East Africa. Through their event, and communications throughout the year, they shed light on innovations that are assisting Africa. Today they are discussing the importance of safe water and sanitation in Kenya to socio economic transformation in Kenya.

In much of the continent, safe drinking water is very rare, with people relying on bottled and sachet water, that is not always that safe. Sanitation also causes problems, with gutters full of rubbish and dirty water, a safe haven for mosquitos and other diseases. Read on to see more about what AIDF have to say about the issue and how it will feature at their “must go to” event!

3.5 million people in Kenya were identified by the Ministry of Water and Irrigation in June 2017 as urgently requiring safe drinking water. Universal access to clean and safe drinking water and basic sanitation systems are key to achieving socio-economic transformation in countries, such as Kenya.

Access to clean water and sanitation can significantly reduce maternal and infant deaths. Safe drinking water and well-developed sewage services reduce the growing spread of communicable diseases, as well as increasing school enrolments and the productivity of working adults.

Continue reading “Did You Know AIDF Summit Puts Spotlight on Safe Water and Sanitation in Kenya”