Africa is no longer shunned by innovators worldwide. When tech and innovation competitions take place there is often at least one African entry.The same goes for Seedstars World, which is a Switzerland based startup competition, that takes place in emerging markets. They run local competitions worldwide and the winners get an opportunity to compete in the Seedstars Summit. The Africa regional summit takes place in Rwanda this year from 7th-9th December, and 18 African countries will be represented. One of those chosen, Jamii, a micro health insurance in Tanzania, we have written about previously. We have chosen our pick of the rest to feature today.
Access to money for essentials is often an issue across the world. Loaning money to friends in need is risky. Often it is not repaid, trust is lost and friendships fall apart. Akiba has an innovative solution that enables people to have access to funds and be assured that if you loan money, you will get it back. This platform enables friends to join collectives, or Akibas, enabling for each friend to bid for money at each stage. The one who bids the most, gets the lump sum from that round. Those that wait until the end, are rewarded for their patience. Many of us that have spent long periods of time in Africa, have been disappointedly let down by friends who failed to repay a loan. This method really enables us to keep our friendships and be more financially sensible!
Customer service can be a serious issue in Africa. We have all probably experienced the customer service assistant that is not interested in us at all. Sitting, playing with their phone and acts as if they are doing us a favour when we have a question. Bua.Space offers a platform that enables people to rate the customer service of firms in Botswana. A registered user can offer their thoughts, good or bad on any supplier, apart from the government as they do not want to become a political platform, and the supplier has the right to reply, if they are registered also. People often just put up with bad service in many parts of Africa, because they are used to it, and they don’t expect it to change. This platform offer a starting point to force companies into training their staff in customer service.
It is hard to imagine the plight of visually impaired people, but it must be very frustrating, especially when in a new place. Even with a guide dog or cane and hundreds of hours of practice there can still be dangers and frustrations that can not be planned for, such a silent electric cars or cyclists or a new construction. Dalli is a very cool innovation that takes some of this pressure away. With their special camera glasses, linked to a smart phone, they are able to describe the surroundings to the user in the form of vocal instructions. It does this with really innovative visual recognition software. For example, it will tell you that there is a tree 6 metres ahead, or tell you what is on the table in front of you. This could revolutionise the way the blind communicate with their surroundings worldwide.
Algorithms are slowly and sometimes undetectably working their way into our day to day lives. This is also case in the world of health diagnostics. In many places through Africa, diagnostics are unreliable and very costly. Dr CADx, from Zimbabwe, has a solution that provides both more cost efficiency and better accuracy. Their computer aided diagnostics system uses deep neural networks to develop algorithms that are able to read and analyse medical images with the accuracy of the human radiologists, or better and a lower cost, saving the lives of many, who would previously not had access to it.
Seedstars World is doing a wonderful job promoting worldwide innovations, and is showing the world that Africa has the potential to create special innovations that the world can utilise. There are many other great innovations features at this years event. You can see the list here. If you have an African innovation you want to be featured contact us! If you have any comments Tweet us at @InventiveAfrica and please also share the blog on Twitter and Facebook.