Did You Know Innovation in Africa could solve the migration crisis?

Did You Know Innovation in Africa could solve the migration crisis?

 Migration, in its simpler human definition, is the movement of persons from one place to another. As of 2015, the global population of human migrants according to UNFPA was 244 million, which is 3.3 per cent of world population. The push and pull factors identified were: family, natural disaster, education, conflict and economic opportunities. In Sub-Saharan Africa, IMF stated that the number of migrants doubled since 1990 to reach about 20 million in 2013. Two root causes discovered were conflict and pursuit for economic opportunities. However, various migration studies showed that over the years, there were fewer conflict migrants and greater economic migrants from Africa. In statistics, UNHCR 2011 official data of International migrants from Africa put refugee (conflict) migrants at 14 per cent and economic migrants at 86 per cent.

[Editors note] In recent weeks we have heard of horrific stories coming out of Libya regarding the trade in slaves of many of these migrants, who are destined never to make it to their wished destinations, and it seems maybe not even back home. There sad journey need not have happened, if they were confident that prosperity was possible in their own lands.

The root causes of migration in Nigeria mirrored to that of Sub-Saharan Africa – internal conflict, leading to 2,152,000 Internally Displaced Persons, (with 85 per cent caused by Boko Haram) and pursuit of economic opportunities. There is no official data for Nigeria`s economic migrants. However, because of her huge population, youth unemployment rate (25.20 per cent), various EU`s Mediterranean sea crossing statistics, African migration statistics to America, and South Africa`s periodic Immigrant reports, one can deduce that there are more economic migrants from Nigeria than other African countries.

Migrants saved in the Mediterranean 

Like most African countries, Nigeria is a mono economy, heavily dependent on the sale of crude oil and does not strive to add additional value to its abundant natural resources. Young people with an estimate population of 91 million (Bloomberg, 2016), that constitute a large demographic of economic migrants, are under-represented, while general citizen participation in the governance process is low with grassroots development needs heavily ignored.

Thus, migration solution lies in economic diversification and citizen participation in the governance process in Africa and Nigeria. For example, the Nigerian government’s heavy intervention in sectors like agriculture and the creative industry (music, movies, literature and fashion) will reduce greatly the over-dependence on crude oil and open up economic opportunities in these sectors that will be able to trap the emigrating working class.

[Editors note] Nigeria is pushing to make a change, and diversify away from the oil industry. In recent weeks, it has been acknowledged that the new start-up capital of Africa is Lagos, and companies like Facebook are stepping up their investment to make sure that connectivity is more substantial. Innovative start-ups are popping up in many sectors. In the agricultural sector, that needs massive investment throughout the continent, there are creative ways of farming with large yields in urban areas, for example Fresh Direct, and FarmCrowdy who are enabling anyone to invest in a farm, even if they can’t get to the farm to work it themselves. The entertainment sector has also seen great innovation.

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3D Urban farming in Nigeria

Nigeria has long been at the forefront of the African movie and music industry, and they keep finding news ways to bringing profitable entertainment. Battabox for example is producing high quality local content, in a clickbait style to draw in the masses.  If you couple this with the rise of e-commerce in Nigeria, as well as the many other innovations, which are creating jobs, and enabling individuals to receive benefits, the future for Nigeria looks promising.

Without government intervention, Nigeria’s creative industry alone is expected to gross in 16billion Naira ($51million) in 2017. In Agriculture, though the Buhari-led government has begun investment with different social investment programs, more still needs to be done. In citizen participation, many Nigerian and African citizens lack the engagement skills needed to channel their economic, social and political needs to appropriate institutions and demand accountability from their leaders in return, and most governments are not citizen-needs-oriented. This lacuna is where corruption, under-development, resource control agitation and political conflict thrive, ultimately resulting in conflict and economic migration. This lacuna could be best addressed with citizen-needs-centered budgets, open budget process, and daily policy and civic education programmes.


Thank you to Chimezie Anjama for this interesting point of view about how innovation in Africa can stop the migration struggle. It is not only about slowing down the rate that economic migrants are leaving African shores. This is also about curbing the brain drain of young excellent Africans who are being poached by other countries, into their top positions. Nigeria in particular has great potential, with a massive and youthful population, they have the chance to be at the forefront of African innovation.

Chimezie Anajama is a sociologist with strong interest in development and public policy sector. She uses her communication and writing skills to tell development stories when not implementing ideas to better her society. A lover of arts, innovative learning and sustainable society. See more of her development related activities here (https://www.instagram.com/nwuliareads/). Tweet her: @MsChimezie

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Did You Know you can monitor your building project in Africa from anywhere?

Did You Know you can monitor your building project in Africa from anywhere?

Tech hubs have taken seed across the African continent. Every week there seems to be another open for business, helping young entrepreneurs with their ideas, training them, enabling to share their skills with each other, and develop their existing and new ideas. This is not a phenomena that is unique to Africa, but it is having a tremendous effect on the innovation sector across the continent. From my own experience at Ispace in Accra, it was clear to see the impact these incubators have on their members and users. The vibrant atmosphere is infectious with ideas and suggestions and help available from every angle.

Lagos – Africa’s Start-up Capital!

In Nigeria, in particular Lagos, tech hubs are also having a lot of impact. It was recently announced that Lagos will become Africa’s start-up capital, overtaking Nairobi, and this is, in part down to the work of the tech hubs. CcHub is one such that is making a difference in Nigeria. They are an open living lab and pre-incubation space for users to work on their social tech ventures. Users include technologists, social entrepreneurs, government, tech companies, impact investors and hackers. Recently they announced a 15 strong list of start-ups from across Africa that would take part in its Make-IT accelerator programme next year. We have chosen a few of our favourites to feature below.


Across the world there is a huge amount of pressure put on children to pass their exams. It is not different across Africa, with students across the continent often facing many hurdles in order to pass their exams. Many students work for their family, or have a Continue reading “Did You Know you can monitor your building project in Africa from anywhere?”

Did You Know creating power in Africa can clean up the cities?

Did You Know creating power in Africa can clean up the cities?

Energy is on the main menu for discussions all over the world. The need for energy is destroying the planet at unexpected rates, but nevertheless, people still need it in greater quantities. Africa is a prime example. The continent will have greater and greater demand for energy the more it develops it’s infrastructure and with the population continuing to expand and expand. Power is needed on many different levels across the continent. There are still areas that are not connected to grid electricity, and therefore many households that do not have access to power for fridges, televisions or even to charge their mobile phones. But it is not only individuals that have demand. For industry to grow, their demand for power will also increase, which will put further burden on the current traditional grid.

A lot of countries still rely on hydro electricity, which is ironic in a continent which is notorious for its unreliable rainfall. Other options are springing up throughout the continent. Solar power is being utilised on a big scale in countries like Morocco, and there are more effective storage capabilities for renewable energy, although they are not yet the perfect solutions. Off grid solutions, which also involve solar power, but in a Pay As You Go system, for individuals, and mini grids for communities are also an option.

Continue reading “Did You Know creating power in Africa can clean up the cities?”

Did You Know Drones are fighting mosquitoes in Africa?

Did You Know Drones are fighting mosquitoes in Africa?

Malaria is a scourge in Africa, which is killing 500,000 people globally, every year. For those of us who were not born or raised in Africa, we know of it because of the huge charity campaigns to raise money to help prevent people from contracting it from mosquitoes. Dishing out treated mosquito nets to families in effected areas has been the main action aimed at malaria prevention, and it has had some success, but there are other innovations that are joining the “war on mosquitoes”. In some areas, such as in Zanzibar, there has been a drop in malaria prevalence from 40% to 1%, which is remarkable.

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Malaria nets have made a drastic change in some areas in Africa

Over a year ago we also wrote a blog on this malaria war, with a number of technologies that are being used around Africa. From the SolarMal, which is a solar powered fan, which attracts in mosquitoes using human scent and kills them,  Faso, a new type of soap which repels the unwanted creatures, or even incredible research by the IBM lab in Johannesburg helping understand potential resistance to drugs, there are countless projects and innovations to try and stamp out malaria by 2030.

Now, other technologies are joining the fight and taking it directly to the mosquitoes, instead of waiting for them to come. And what amazing technology is being used for this Continue reading “Did You Know Drones are fighting mosquitoes in Africa?”

Did You Know there is another Innovation Award in Africa?

Did You Know there is another Innovation Award in Africa?

Almost a year ago we wrote about the annual Aid & International Development Forum (AIDF), which was held in Nairobi in February 2017. Well, after enjoying a successful event, they will be back again next year February 27th-28th in Nairobi, for the third edition. The event will explore the latest policy and project updates, best practices, and importantly, innovations that improve humanitarian aid operations and infrastructure in Africa. Inventive Africa is very proud to be media partners of the event and this year, with our new logo created for us by Brian Nyagol, a talented Kenyan who is the CEO of VibeCampo, Africa’s own social network, which we featured last month, we can actually appear on the AIDF website with the other supporters!

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Our new logo!

The AIDF have been running for 13 years and have the mission to support the drive towards positive outcomes in the future and promote collaboration between stakeholders. Their events showcase a need for targeted dialogue, strategic alliances on an intimate level, and showcasing Africa to the world. They bring together people from all sectors from governments and aid organisations and NGOs, to private sector companies, creating partnerships between those with understanding of the issues, and those with expertise.

Innovator of the Year!

This forum, AIDF will for the first time hold the Innovator of the Year competition, with the winners to be announced at the event in February. The competition celebrates the Continue reading “Did You Know there is another Innovation Award in Africa?”

Did You Know the Uber model is changing Africa’s emergency services?

Did You Know the Uber model is changing Africa’s emergency services?

Africa is well practiced at taking innovative models from around the word and adapting them for the African setting. Blockchain technology is being used in a number of African solutions, such as the opportunity to invest in solar energy in South Africa. Crowdfunding is also blossoming across Africa, enabling small businesses to receive micro loans and grow. Another model, which has found a home in Africa is the Uber model (or AirBnB model). Uber has become a popular service in many countries throughout the continent, and has encouraged competition in the transport sector, with Little in particular making big moves in Kenya and beyond.

Solutions for unemployment in South Africa are vital

But the Uber model, of creating a way of supplying people with what they need through an app, has found its way into to other industries. In South Africa, where there is massive unemployment, people are able to access tradesmen and women and people to work in their houses through an app. And there is even an app and website to help people find space in shipping containers to ship their items over sees. This model is helping businesses grow, and easing the strain on certain aspects of the life of an individual.


South Africa has really seemed to quickly understand how such a model can be utilised effectively. In a place where unemployment is high, there are also a lot of buildings with Continue reading “Did You Know the Uber model is changing Africa’s emergency services?”

Did You Know Investment is better for Africa then Charity?

Did You Know Investment is better for Africa then Charity?

Africa is synonymous around the world as a continent that is struggling with poverty, security concerns, and health emergencies (whether diseases like malaria and ebola, or droughts). Even before the Live Aid fundraising event for drought ridden Ethiopia in the 1980’s there were many events, and charities asking for people to donate money for causes in Africa. Whether to assist in malaria prevention and cure, to build schools and other important infrastructure, or help more children get an education, charities, and big TV telethon events have been allocating funds across the African continent for a huge variety of projects. Add to this the foreign aid pledged by governments, there is a huge amount of aid reaching the African continent each year. (In 2013 over $55 billion were given to Africa in aid alone)


But is this an effective way of using these funds? Some would say that developmentally, little has changed, at least not proportionally to the funds flying into the continent. Whether that is because of corruption, mismanagement of funds or bad leadership, it is hard to say, but in certain instances it is clear to see that little has changed. I have been going to the same village in Ghana for 15 years, and even though there has been substantial investment in school infrastructure in the village, the fortunes of the village are much the same, with subsistence farming as the major employer. Having said that, the water supply to the village has made a tremendous difference, with water no longer having to be fetched from kilometres away from rivers.

Continue reading “Did You Know Investment is better for Africa then Charity?”