Did You Know this Fintech company is an example for innovators in Africa?

Did You Know this Fintech company is an example for innovators in Africa?

Within the theme of African innovation, Fintech is one of the areas which receives the most attention and the most funding. Of course, great change is occurring in other sectors, such as agriculture, which has recently gained success in prizes, such as that of the Seedstars competition, but Fintech is attracting investors, and creating a new future for many by bringing them into the financial system. In recent news, lots of funding became available for Fintech, with Partech Ventures Africa Fund seeking to invest over $100 Million in financial start-ups across the continent.

Cash has been king for so long across the continent, but that is swiftly changing, with many using their mobile phones to purchase anything from food and drinks, white goods and even taxi rides. It is also now easier than ever to pay people who are not near by, or It is not just payment methods that have changed, people are able to now receive a credit rating and access funds to develop their business, previously impossible. They are able to organise their finances, save and plan their funds better. Fintech innovations can impact society across the continent, by giving new financial solutions to the enormous variety of needs. From rural subsistence farmers, to the growing middle class, new financial technology can be utilised across society.

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One Fintech company that has received major funding is Cellulant, who received $47.5 million dollars to help them expand the company even faster. Cellulant have risen to great heights in a field dominated by Safaricom’s M-Pesa. They work across 33 different Continue reading “Did You Know this Fintech company is an example for innovators in Africa?”

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Did You Know drones can make the African construction industry safer?

Did You Know drones can make the African construction industry safer?

What would Wilber and Orville Wright think about the current aviation situation, 115 years after they first flew in their aeroplane. It is likely they would look to the sky in shock to see the amount of people being transported throughout the world in metal birds, and the super sonic military jets flying into action. Another marvel is drone technology, which is getting ever more smaller, more powerful and affordable. Even amateur photographers are able to pick up easy to fly drones fairly easily and take wonderful pictures of scenery around the world. It is this drone technology that is showing great promise in other sectors across Africa, such as security and construction.

A major problem always arises when it comes to the implementation of construction projects in many countries. South Africa is no exception when dealing with such issues, but innovative steps have been taken when addressing such issues, which are worth looking into and supporting. The implementation of  a fleet of drones as an  innovative efficiency tool by the Gauteng province’s Department of Infrastructure Development gives hope for change for South Africa. The implementation signifies that in both the public and private sectors, there is a vital need for efficient and effective changes within the department as a whole. Massive rise and opportunities provided by drones has given platform for companies and organisations to enhance their operations systems across all spheres of development.

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Many of the lined up projects by the Department of infrastructure will be monitored by floating drones to ensure that assigned work is done as scheduled. Construction work involves very dangerous tasks and conditions that require proper and safe construction sites if occupational fatalities are to be avoided. The implementation of drones is hoped to assess and intervene in order to promote efficiency through out the value chain of project management value chain. Many people have lost their lives while on duty on construction sites without any clear accountability and investigations of what really happened in South Africa. The implementation of drones is expected to bring new light and solutions to such issues as well as tracking and speeding up of projects that are ready for implementation.

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Working on the daily routines and working on projects requires different approaches. Due to the growing importance of projects in South Africa, it is important to develop policies to ensure that they are well prepared for project challenges. We can only anticipate better results, less marches by unhappy construction workers and sustainable improvements with the implementation of drones within the Department of infrastructure in South Africa. The history of drones and their success stories can be drawn from many African countries despite fear of their security by policy makers in Africa. This blog has covered a number of them. From fighting  Malaria mosquitoesMalaria mosquitoes, improvements in agriculture to construction. Their value and impact in changing lives in Africa is phenomenal.

If you know of any innovations in Africa, an innovation that is changing lives, or you also want to be a guest blogger, get in contact with us on Twitter @inventiveAfrica or via email. Please she the blog with your network on Twitter and Facebook.

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Did You Know patients in Africa don’t need to queue for medical attention?

Did You Know patients in Africa don’t need to queue for medical attention?

Health care across the world relies upon trust between health care professionals and their patients. Patients must trust that their doctors and nurses in working to the highest possible standard, and that if they are not, their worries, concerns and complaints will be listened to. If they are not taken into consideration, then it could lead to a hospital, or even the health sector as a whole, stagnating or falling behind required standards of treatment. This is the case across the world, but in Africa, often there are situations in which health care is sub standard. This can be down to a lack of resources, but there are times when it is incompetence, and lack of care and attention.

Nevertheless, complaint receiving from a patient can be extremely worrying and stressful. Complaints can come in different forms. Either directly from the patients themselves, via a co-worker or from your work place staff members in other departments, but the effect is the same. Many reasons can be argued as to why there are complaints from patients, but the reality is that if people are not happy, something needs to be done. A complaint can be made as a result of either your personal, professional, or even colleague’s behaviour. The manner in which you deal with a patient’s complaint is very crucial as a result because it determines many factors that can affect your job negatively. From deciding whether the matter goes  to senior management, or to patient’s lawyers, the uneasiness it causes is disturbing and unhealthy.

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Health care across Africa is a complex theme, with each region, country and even local area dealing with their own contextual issues. Nigeria is no exception, when it comes to the issue of patients and their complaints in the health sector. Over the years, medical practice in Nigeria has taken baby steps and evolved in capacity building and practice of doctors, in terms of patients’ needs and relationships of the various factors determining the frequency and distribution of diseases in a human community.  The transition towards finding solutions to arising problems continues to grow. Nigeria plays a significant role as a user of mHealth solutions for instance, which is an innovative mobile program that distribute calls on weekly basis to pregnant women concerning fetal health care. This program does not only improve service delivery in the health sector but it also saves money for most pregnant women to travel to clinics. A March 2015 article by Darren M. west further states that mHealth gives mobile efficiency to physicians access as they are able to respond more punctually to patient needs as well as less mistakes in medication preparations and hospital discharging sheets.

 

It is undeniable that there are still many problems yet to be addressed in the health sector in Nigeria but the fact that solutions are coming up shows the extent to which the country is willing to take responsibility for its own people. This does not, however, mean that patients voice must be ignored because it would be nonsensical for the Department of Health to claim to be delivering quality health care service to the patients while patients remain unhappy with the service delivery they are given. As mobile intelligence and smartphone growth continues to massively blaze and technologically transform in Africa, its inheritors are fast developing beyond imagination and the fruits more fulfilling. The number of health solutions who have become part of these growth or venturing into it are also on the rise.

 

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A group of Nigerian doctors have joined and become part of these growth with their launching of an app that is aimed at reducing the amount to time patients  have to wait in order to get medical attendance. The app which is known as KompleteCare has played a significant goal in revolutionising African health as it allows its users to magnify timely access to medical care and health facilities. Consultations are freely done on a mobile phone, tablets or any other electronic device, cutting out the excessive amount of time one would have spent on long queues.

Due to the high population in Nigeria, it still a challenge to get access to clinics by most rural villagers. KompleteCare, which is available on the Play store, has bridged that gap by allowing even the remotest people to have access via video and audio online consultation giving doctors access in responding effectively to the needs at hand. Access to the web and communicating via mobile phones has also promoted the functionality of home based care services since people can easily ask questions freely and immediately which eliminates taboos and myths about certain diseases while empowering people with knowledge at the same time.

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If you know of any innovations in Africa, an innovation that is changing lives, or you also want to be a guest blogger, get in contact with us on Twitter @inventiveAfrica or via email. Please share the blog with your network on Twitter and Facebook.

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Did You Know data could create a booming agricultural sector in Africa?

Did You Know data could create a booming agricultural sector in Africa?

Money makes the world go round..right? Well, maybe the tides are turning, and there is another influencer that is pulling the strings of the world. Data! Data and its analysis is influencing our daily lives constantly, whether at home sitting on the sofa watching Netflix, or in the work place, trying to work out how to deliver your product to the right audience on social media. It is even helping you to get to work quicker by letting you know the quickest routes.

But some traditional sectors in Africa are finding it difficult to keep up with the data revolution. In many areas agriculture remains almost unchanged for decades, or even centuries. Traditional methods are used throughout the process, from ploughing the land to selling produce at markets. This means, a large amount of farmers are not utilising data to improve their farming practices, increasing yields and selling at fairer prices. As you will have seen on Inventive Africa over the past couple of years, technology is beginning to be developed for the African agricultural sector. Many of these apps use mobile technology to put information in the hands of farmers, and they don’t even need to have smart phones.

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Technology is letting farmers to ask advice from other around the world, with innovations like those of WeFarm. It is helping them sell their produce online, without having to transport it to market themselves, and also enabling them to know the prices of produces in the market on a particular day without having to rely on the price of a middleman. Technology is even enabling farmers to gain access to farm equipment such Continue reading “Did You Know data could create a booming agricultural sector in Africa?”

Did You Know Women are Taking The Lead In African Innovation?

Did You Know Women are Taking The Lead In African Innovation?

African women history embraces a huge variety of strong women in society despite a common trend of matrilineal descent. From heroins like Yaa Asantewa of Ghana and Winnie Mandela of South Africa to Funmilayo Ransome Kuti of Nigeria, there is no doubt that women can conquer the world. The road to a woman’s success in Africa is not a smooth ride. Especially in business and entrepreneurship. The struggle to raise business funds is a common issue that many startup owners are faced with, especially women entrepreneurs. With lack of support and mentorship programmes,  patriarchal nature of societies, many women are challenged in running sustainable businesses despite their potential but they keep on rising against all odds.

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Yaa Asantewaa an Asante heroine

In a male dominated sphere of startups and entrepreneurship, She leads Africa is one solution taking steps in breaking barriers in entrepreneurship and leadership for women. It is a free social network community for startups in business and already existing businesses to over 400,000 communities aimed at helping women achieve their diverse goals. It engages online content across Africa to events that promote effective networking as a way of educating women about businesses and to also boost their confidence and self esteem their accelerator. As a result a platform for real nurturing of innovative ideas can be identified, giving rise to overwhelming positive results which have the potential to accelerate personal development.

It is founded by two young passionate women, Yasmin Belo-Osagie and Afua Osie who want to overcome barriers of accounting education, fundamentals of finance access and mentorship to most women across Africa as far as businesses and entrepreneurship are concerned. Their initiative is in partnership with a number of alliances such as Work in Progress Alliance, which focuses on promoting sustainable living incomes, Lagos innovates, which  focuses on promoting technology and start ups in Africa, VC4Africa and many others. Such initiatives have not provided a platform for creativity and confidence development only. The massive growth in She leads Africa through its communities throughout many countries in Africa does signify that more innovative ideas are yet to grow and change in the African entrepreneurship world for women for generations to come, providing solutions and promoting women empowerment in the long run.

 

Women are already playing a significant role in African innovation. This two add to our list of powerful innovative women once featured in our blog. The likes of Lucy Quist is one. She was the first female CEO a telecommunication company in Ghana with Airtel Ghana, a mentor to the youth and women in Ghana. Oluwayimika Angel Adelaja is another, she is a Co-founder and executive Director of We farm Africa. We cannot forget Hawawu Mustapha Yaajalal and her innovation My doc Ghana, one of the most viewed posts on Inventive Africa. You can check out this blog to read more about them.

One article from Imagination defines innovation as a visionary strategic lever for change, business transformation, management, profitability and overall sustainability. It is also a systemic lever that engages, empowers and enables people to affect business breakthroughs and deliver profound culture, system, process, product and people changes. The result is increased organisational engagement, reach, competitiveness, faster business growth and increased business value to enable businesses to flow and flourish in this age of disruption. She leads Africa seems to be walking in the same footsteps with its powerful communities such as she hive, which through its classes in many African countries covers and mixes relaxation, connecting, coaching, brand building, partnering, and speed networking all at once for many women across the globe.

From women having access to different callings than men to having multitasky societal roles, it is evident that women entrepreneurs have far more value and sharpened perspective which can provide sustainable economies for the African continent.

If you know of any innovations in Africa, an innovation that is changing lives, or you also want to be a guest blogger, get in contact with us on Twitter @inventiveAfrica or via email. Please share the blog with your network on Twitter and Facebook.

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Did You Know maths in Africa is not so boring?

Did You Know maths in Africa is not so boring?

Senegal like most African history has its our story to tell about historic education systems and their revolutions. Left with little choice Senegal was bound to use software made in France called “Geogebra”. Its practicality in assisting with daily needs and problem solving solutions seems to a large extent  to be questionable in addressing mathematical problems hence Michel Seck`s new innovation ,“Simula”  an uprising mathematics alternative never before done by anyone in Senegal or Africa.

Solving problems is one challenge in life we all face, but through massive growth in technology and innovation, human beings have managed to come with up with real life changing solutions. In this modern world where our capabilities are massively controlled by machines together with the amount of problems and their varying degrees of complexity, Programming has become a tool for problem solving. Thousands of Universities, Colleges and students learning in this faculty are living testimony to its importance and significance.

A Senegal academician legend who teaches mathematics at a University in Dakar also realised this when he created a software program called Simula Math that simplifies Mathematics for his students. Mathematics is a cut across concerning issue in most developing countries. It  is perceived as a tricky and boring subject by many from the beginning of their school life. The reasons for these difficulties and the lack of interest stem from the specific type of subject and the ways of teaching. According to the commission for Developing countries International Mathematical Union Report (2014) , low numbers of secondary school teachers in maths at masters and Phd levels together with few professors to train the next generation of leaders, countries cannot meet the growing demand for mathematicians with advanced, up-to-date training. Further more deficient and outdated infrastructures, instrumentation, and teaching materials coupled with geographical isolation, are still major contributing factors.

None of these limiting factors stopped this young Senegal legend Michel Seck in becoming part of the change he wanted to see in the field of Mathematics. He bridges a massive missing gap in Mathematics with his creativity and all the features it has. One of them is the function of coding. A massively growing literacy of the 21st century which empowers our digital world. Every website, smartphone app, computer programme, calculator and even microwave relies on code in order to operate. This makes coders the architects and builders of the digital age. Organisations like Coderdojo are practical examples of what Michel is also advocating for. According to the author, Simula has nearly 120,000 lines of code. “It allows to do directly exercises of statistics, calculation of the limits and computations of great powers”.

Cryptology , also Michel’s specialisation is a classical subject which traditionally is supposed to guarantee confidentiality and integrity of messages also offered by this software. Algebra applications inclusive as well. Such features  enable graduate students to gain experience on important real-world problems, and understand the applicability of mathematical concepts in solving problems based in different scenarios. Based on his own personal experience, Michel wishes this feature within the soft ware will widen the scope of teaching mathematics in many schools and promote accessibility in ICT to both teachers and students, a problem the country could not solve for centuries.

Linear algebra — the branch of mathematics concerning vector spaces and linear mappings between such spaces which includes  study of lines, planes, and subspaces is yet another feature of the software. It is a very broad field which can allow learners to choose their specific personal specialisations such as machine operations for example. One of the important application of Matrices is to solve system linear equations which are required by physicists, engineers & scientists to solve physical systems in the areas of electronics networks, space craft and many others. What this therefore signifies is that not only does the software equip students with skills needed for majority of  essential job opportunities in the real world but it also improves the quality  of mathematics teaching in Senegal. Maximising student chances of obtaining /creating better jobs as a result. The fact that it is free and will probably be used from high school to University, Michel would have overcome various challenges faced by the Mathematics department in Senegal. Any child equipped with all this skills from Michael’s software can be declared as ready to conquer the world and all the pre-requisites needed to enter into faculties of engineering sciences which require quality maths methodologies.

Creativity in education deals with  new connections, and imaginative ways of thinking. Creativity not only  enables the learner to make connections between unfamiliar elements but also identification of important problems and their connectedness. Curiosity building and openness to new ideas  give rise to new innovators never seen nor expected. Solutions to problems arising are thus continuously found. Michel is a living proof. If many can follow in his footsteps, a new revolutionised Africa may soon be a living reality to many.

If you know of any innovations in Africa, an innovation that is changing lives, or you also want to be a guest blogger, get in contact with us on Twitter @inventiveAfrica or via email. Please share the blog with your network on Twitter and Facebook.

Also, don’t forget to check out and like our Facebook pageFor more interesting blogs about African Innovation, check out our homepage.

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Did You Know SMS can improve your child academic results in Africa?

Did You Know SMS can improve your child academic results in Africa?

The Seedstars summit was packed full of innovations from emerging markets. Notably, innovative African startups were their in great numbers, standing loud and proudly. Not only did African innovations seem to be represented far more than the other markets, they won the lions share of the awards in the showcase of the summit. In fact, it was the Ghanaian start-up Agrocenta, that took away the grand prize of $500,000! For a round up of the days news from the inspirational Seedstars Summit, you can see our previous blog.

In the course of the day, we were able to speak to many inspirational people who had come to showcase their African innovations. One such person I managed to meet was Claire Mongeau, of M-Shule in Kenya, who kindly accepted to be interviewed for Inventive Africa. Hear the full interview below.

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Claire from M-Shule

Kenya, like many African countries, has many schools in villages with little access to technological tools needed by students to meet the demand of the 21st century learning. In order for children to receive the optimum education, they need the time and focus of a teacher. In many instances across the continent, it is very difficult for teachers to offer this kind of attention to their students. With rigid curriculums, teachers often find themselves trying to get through the curriculum as quickly as possible, and maybe not spending the time on the topics that the students find most difficult. Another issue is that, whilst many teachers are fantastic, there are instances in which teachers just simply do not meet a very high standard.

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M-Shule aim to “bridge the gap between artificial intelligence and adaptive learning, and make the possible for kids, even with a feature phone”. They do this using SMS learning innovation, leading improvement in academic performance, technology skills. Parents engagement in their children academic life is anticipated to improve, and the whole community support and involvement in education attained. This side effect is very welcomed, as it is especially important to have the parents in touch and engaged in their children’s education. Continue reading “Did You Know SMS can improve your child academic results in Africa?”