Did You Know that Kenya is producing tablets for Kenya?

Did You Know that Kenya is producing tablets for Kenya?

Last year we wrote about Positivo, who are locally manufacturing laptops in RwandaIt was big news because manufacturing has long been dwindling in Africa, due to the the power of Asia. Slowly, but surely, manufacturing is making a comeback to the African continent and tech companies are at the forefront.

This month, Positivo has once again made the news, this time alongside Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology. The Kenyan government is insistent that its students of all levels are ICT literate, and for this they need to have access to computers and tablets. Positivo and JKUAT have assembled the 2000 tablets at a plant located on the university campus. This tablets will be distributed to schools across 21 different counties.

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BRCK – Kio Kit

There are many other projects that empower students in primary and secondary schools with technology. The BRCK and other mobile technologies are trying to bring schools online, and assist teachers. This project is exciting because they have the capacity to produce 600 new tablets every day. It will not only speed up the process of empowering Kenyan students but also the model could be used across the continent to increase the level of schooling using tech.

The One-Laptop per Child program finally began in 2016, with the aim, as the name suggests, to give all students access to a solar powered laptop or tablet. So far, 700,000 tablets and laptops that have been distributed have come from from China. The new production line at JKUAT assembles tablets from components that have been sent from China. The main thing though, they are Kenyan made for Kenya! Continue reading “Did You Know that Kenya is producing tablets for Kenya?”

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Did You Know Adua Chronicles is changing the perception of African women?

Did You Know Adua Chronicles is changing the perception of African women?

 

Innovation. When we talk of it we often speak of new technology or hi tech ideas. It is exciting, fast moving and surprising. Businesses all over the world are fighting to bring out the newest innovation and surprise the world. What we often forget is that innovation comes in many forms. From a new farming technique, or a insurance concept, to creating a comic strip. Today, we have a short interview with Felly Oyuga, who has created the comic strip Adua Chronicles.

Adua Chronicles takes the reader into the real life situations of a Kenyan mother. It is a funny, charming selection of mini stories about the relationship between a Kenyan woman and her children, work and social life. Adua’s sarcastic manner, enables her to talk about any part of her life in a relatable way.

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With women’s rights often at the forefront of international rhetoric, and many organisations fighting for equality for women across the African continent, Adua Chronicles is giving a voice to women everywhere. It is a frank depiction of how a women in Africa (and the world) thinks. Adua is a strong, responsible women, that likes a glass of wine, works hard and loves her children.

You may ask, is this innovation? Well, yes, we believe it is. This comic is an innovative way to promote the strength and importance of women to African society. Across the continent, women are propping up households and enabling them to survive, despite not being given equal rights. We have not found anything else which gives a true representation of an African woman and also about real life problems in Kenya.

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So, who is behind Adua?

FO – My name is Felly Oyuga. I am Kenyan, mother to 4 kids (they have all been featured on Adua Chronicles) I work in marketing and so you can Imagine, I always have a lot to say!

IA – How did you come to create digital comics?

FO – I have tried Webisodes, online radio and online magazines…as I said, I feel I have a lot to say, getting the medium to express myself has been a journey. I wanted a medium where I didn’t necessarily need someone to work with, something that I had total control over. So the comic strip was born!

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IA – What inspired you to produce Adua as a comic?

FO – We rarely get authentic content on women, single women, mothers..in my neck of the woods..most content is so ‘westernized’ Adua is my alter ego:)..she says things sometimes I wish I could say and some which I do say..

IA – Is Adua a typical African woman?

FO – Typical African woman in her time. I mean you can not compare her to my mother or grandma. She is more outspoken, thanks to some of the sacrifices of women like my mother and grandma.

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IA – Is there a moral behind Adua’s adventures?

FO – Adua’s adventure are based on my real day to day life, parenting, work life and social life. I have always like seeing the humour in every situation and I strive to bring it out in the comic strip.

We can’t wait to see more of Adua’s adventures and her humorous take on daily life as a single mother in Kenya! For more of her work check out her Facebook page and Twitter. Thank you to Felly for speaking with us! If anyone knows of any other creative African innovation please let us know. If you liked this blog, or any other blog on Inventive Africa, please also share the blog with your network on Twitter and Facebook.

Did You Know Malawi is getting smart about trash?

Did You Know Malawi is getting smart about trash?

Many people who have had the opportunity to travel to Malawi, may be familiar with its beautiful lake and yellow sandy beaches. On the other hand, others may know it for its less flattering side, which includes it being amongst the poorest nations on the planet. Technologically, one may presume this is what explains the many strides Malawi is yet to take in catching up with the rest of the world. However, if you have a chance to meet Malawi’s growing generation of innovators, you will be surprised that they are trying to fix some of the problems that existed even before they were born.

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Waste is a problem in Malawi and across the continent

One such innovator, Samson Fiado, an award winning ICT practitioner who just graduated from the University of Malawi. He just created the prototype of a system that aims to solve the problem of waste in Malawi’s streets. The system he designed is called “EasyBin Smart Waste Bin System” (or just EasyBin). Samson stated that he created this innovation because solid waste management is a problem that could be handled better in some of Malawi’s cities. He added that in addition to disturbing the balance of the environment, waste also has adverse effects on the health and of society and the economy. The current waste management system requires manual checking of whether the bins are full or not. Therefore Samson thought about how to make the existing system better and more efficient.

So, how does it work? In essence, the system alerts relevant personnel on the levels of waste in the waste bins via a mobile phone and/or a monitoring centre. The integration of technology into waste management would not only make for efficiency but also interactivity, collection and analysis of city waste disposal data. Such data could help identify which areas require more bins or higher frequency of pick ups due to constant overflowing of waste. Samson adds that the system can be also of crucial importance especially in hospitals, residential areas and even offices.

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Samson and his invention

Developing this solution was not without its challenges. Coming from an information communication technology background and not mechatronics, this created the need for Samson to circumnavigate the complexities himself. Electronics, mechanics as well as sensor and micro controller technology and integration, all make up different components of the system. Couple that with the difficulty of finding relevant study data from city assembly offices and you realise that the task is complex. Sadly, as exciting as all this sounds, this is currently only a prototype. Here in lies the challenge, not uncommon in these here parts (read “Malawi”). Innovators are rife with amazing ideas that they are enthusiastic about implementing but the challenge is often funding.

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Part of Samson’s waste management system

The great thing about innovators and inventors like Samson is, they first turn a blind eye to what they do not have, and just do the very best they can with what they do have. On reflection on this innovation, this system in theory, would not only detect, monitor and manage waste and make for more efficiency but also save the city millions of funds because of such efficiency. One can only hope that one day he gets enough resources and support to get this system working on Malawi’s streets… or even across the continent. However, for what it’s worth, having started is always better than not.

On Inventive Africa, we like to feature all kinds of innovations. That this particular waste management system has yet to receive funding, means it is even more important for it to be featured! There are important innovations across the continent that are going unnoticed. More platforms need to talk about the little guy with the big idea and promote African Innovation to the fullest! If you have an Innovation that you would like featured on Inventive Africa, contact us via email, or on twitter @InventiveAfrica.

Thank you to Invest Malawi (@InvestMalawi1) for providing this blog about another great innovation. It goes to show that no matter the African country, great innovations are being created! If you liked this blog, or any other blog on Inventive Africa, please also share the blog with your network on Twitter and Facebook.

Did You Know African tech is competing on the world stage?

Did You Know African tech is competing on the world stage?

Earlier this month 11 African startups were named in the top 100 of 2016 by Nominet trust. African innovation is on the up, and it is becoming hard for the world to not taking notice of the excellence that is seeping out of Africa’s pours. We can’t feature all 11 startups in one post but we thought we would feature a couple today to keep you excited about African innovation over the weekend!

OneUni

Education is always a big topic when it comes to African development. Countless summits and conferences focus on the topic, dragging in audiences, that have often paid a lot of money to attend to sit and talk over and over again about the same topics. Volunteers travel over to Africa, with their limited skills to work in schools and pretend to teach children. But, as we saw in 2016 technology is bringing real change to the continent. Mobile phones and the internet are bringing access to information like never before. This is where OneUni come in.

OneUni offers entire degree programs over a mobile phone. Students can access programs from regional universities through their smartphones and within the monthly fees the data is included. This means that as long as there is a connections students can work on their studies from anywhere. There are the usual lectures and readings, as in normal university, but the use of a smart phone makes the entire experience more interactive.

There is more and more demand for higher education in Africa. This style of teaching is becoming more and more accepted worldwide. To include the data charges within the fee is a clever motivation for students to pick up their mobile phones and get a degree.

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OneUni – Changing lives

DIGITAL MATATUS

Getting around Africa is an exciting experience, although after a few weeks taking public transport it can become a chore. Mini Buses trawl their routes for passengers, that cram into their seats until their stop comes along. These buses and taxis often take the same routes around the cities. In what seems like chaos, is actually order!

Digital Matatus want are using this order to be able to map the transport routes in Kenya. Using a specially developed app, users are able to map their routes, pinpointing the stops along the way. Even though there is order in the system, many of the bus stops are informal. Digital Matatus will formalise these and enable people to get to their locations more efficiently, using the data. It will also enable the government to be able to better plan transport infrastructure. They will be able to work out which roads are most frequently used, and therefore prioritise where should be maintained.

 Follow the Money – Nigeria

How many of you have given money to Charity. Billions of dollars reach Africa through foreign aid or charity donations every year. But, how is this money being used, and is it being used effectively. There is of course always the worry that money falls into the wrong hands, or is wasted on ridiculous expenses! Well, Follow the Money, is working directly against that.

With a team of analysts, journalist, lawyers and development consultants, Follow The Money track government spending and report on its effectiveness. This is an enormous step in the right direction for an industry that is based on trust. Many people give money, or send money into Africa, without thinking what will it be used for, and will it go where it is expected. With more information, people will be able to track their donations, as well as government spending. It should hold those delivering the development more accountable with the funds, which will hopefully lead to better delivery of development.

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Every week, there are more innovations being launched in Africa. Many of them are very exciting and are created specifically for Africa, but have potential to spread to the rest of the world. If you would like to be a guest blogger, or have a comment please get in contact with us on Twitter @InventiveAfrica or email, and please also share the blog with your network on Twitter and Facebook.

Did You Know Small holder farmers in Africa can earn a bigger income?

Did You Know Small holder farmers in Africa can earn a bigger income?

One of our predictions for this year is that there would be a lot of new technology around the agricultural sector. Agriculture is the backbone of African society. Currently, Africa is a net importer of food, leaving it vulnerable to international market prices and also making it difficult for farmers to compete against products that have often been subsidised. Crops like rice in many parts of the continent can not compete against American rice, even though it is far more nutritious.

Governments have a role to play in giving power back to the African farmer, but the likelihood is that this will be a slow process. So, building up the agric sector is a job for tech and innovation. Already, last year there were a number of technologies that are being aimed at small holder farmers to increase their capacity and capability. We wrote of the Tryctor, farm crowdfunding, #Cowfunding, Livestock insurance, mobile tech for agriculture and many many more over last year. And the trend is not about to stop now!

In a press release today (18/01/17) Mastercard announced that they have launched 2KUZE, a mobile market place specifically for farmers. 2KUZE, which is a Swahili word meaning “Let’s grow together”, was developed in the [snappily named] Mastercard Lab for Financial Inclusion in Nairobi, which was set up to develop financial tools and was given a Continue reading “Did You Know Small holder farmers in Africa can earn a bigger income?”

Did you know the potential for African exports?

Did you know the potential for African exports?

Many do not think that Africa is a continent worth exporting from. Apart from the mineral wealth of the continent and a few food crops, very little is exported from the continent. Despite this, there is a wealth of products, and services that have value that can be exported. Africa is a net importer, and that leaves it at a disadvantage to much of the world. If it wants to compete with the power of China, America and Europe, it must tap into the market outside of the continent.

Africa  contains 30% of the worlds known reserves of minerals and has the largest cobalt, diamond, platinum and uranium reserves in the world. But it is not only these resources that have value to the rest of the world. The diverse crafts and cultures of the continent are gaining popularity oversees but how do they access this market?

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Skilled Nigerian Artisan

Cokodeal is an online market place with the vision to elevate the standard of living for Africans through trade and a mission to connect intra Africa trade to global market and improve the wellbeing of Africans. The founders were motivated by a wish to see a continent that is not at the mercy of foreign aid and is the convergent point of global trade. Continue reading “Did you know the potential for African exports?”

Did You Know the world is ignorant about African Innovation?

Did You Know the world is ignorant about African Innovation?

Put a search on twitter for Africa and Innovation and you will find a wealth of information on events, new technologies and innovations, and tech hubs in Africa. There will also be a lot of content on inspirational stories of how an innovation changed the life of an individual or how an area was dragged out of poverty because of renewable energy or a new farming innovation. There is so much good news coming out of the continent, but still much of the world is oblivious to Africa’s potential.

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#Africa OR Africa AND (#innovation or Innovation or Tech or #Tech) – Our search for African Innovation

We often discuss our passion for African innovation with people we meet and unless they already have a relationship with the continent, or they are involved in an industry that is gaining traction in Africa, such as renewable energy. That Africa is leading the way in mobile money, and providing services and technology that is still in its infancy in other parts of the world seems to utterly surprise a lot of people in Europe and America. It is not just the layman that are clueless about the continent’s potential. Decision makers and potential investors are often still weary to trust that Africa is the real deal.

Continue reading “Did You Know the world is ignorant about African Innovation?”