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?”

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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 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 Fintech innovation is changing African lives?

Did You Know Fintech innovation is changing African lives?

Money makes the world go round! Whether carrying around huge wads of cash, coins jangling in your pocket, plastic or mobile solutions, without money, we wouldn’t get very far. With robots set to take many of the current jobs, the future may see us have a very different relationship to money, that is if money still exists. But, in the now, there is no escaping it, and that is the same in the Fintech sector.

The world’s tech companies are clamouring to come up with the next big financial solution. Banks are trying to keep up, while other companies try to find new and easier payment methods, as well as create synergies with other industries, for example insurance and credit. In Africa this is especially so, with financial inclusion so important and a huge market for Fintech to continue to tap into. In recent years, so many Fintech solutions have popped up around Africa. From blockchain technology, making it easier for individuals to invest in solar energy, to new crowed funding systems, or payment structure like mobile money, Fintech solutions are always represented at innovation awards around the country.

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Africa still a cash culture

This week is no different, with 4 Fintech solutions each took home $70,000 at a the Broad-based Black Economic Empowerment pitching event, aimed at finding talented Fintech entrepreneurs, hosted by AlphaCode. The event is an initiative of Merrill Lynch and we will feature some of the winners here! Continue reading “Did You Know Fintech innovation is changing African lives?”

Did You Know Africa is improving the wind turbine?

Did You Know Africa is improving the wind turbine?

The world energy situation is changing, and renewable innovations are speeding up seemly exponentially. With the big storms and terrible fires across the world this year, there is ever increasing discussion regarding climate change and how we source our energy. The rate of fossil fuel usage has stabilised, but carbon is still being pumped into the atmosphere at an alarming rate. Parts of Africa could be set to take the brunt, with droughts already causing trouble of the East of the continent.

Renewable energy technology, therefore, is incredibly important for the continents energy source. Renewable energy comes in various forms. Hydro energy has long been seen as the solution for Africa, with dams across the continent providing electricity for many. This system has proven unreliable in many cases, and low water levels at certain times of the year mean many must go without electricity, or only have it occasionally throughout the day. Solar and wind energy production, however, could be more reliable, with and abundance of sun, heat and wind across the continent.

There have already been some major innovations on the continent with regards to renewable energy. A massive solar farm in Morocco is already functioning and off grid solar solutions are being offered with creative payment solutions in rural and urban areas across the continent. There have even been advancements in the storage of renewable energy. And now there are further advancements being made with regards to wind energy.

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Continue reading “Did You Know Africa is improving the wind turbine?”

Did You Know you can publish your books or music for free in Nigeria?

Did You Know you can publish your books or music for free in Nigeria?
On Inventive Africa we often talk about the importance of reading within the education sector. There have been many innovations out there to enable kids and students to have access to information digitally. But what about the other side of the equation. Many authors out there find it very difficult to publish there their works and have them read by a significant amount of people. The same goes for musicians in Africa, who want to push their music out to as many as possible to make an name for themselves in an increasingly challenging market.
Below the guys from Publiseer explain what their innovation is aiming to achieve.
The Nigerian startup Publiseer, is aiming to change this and get up and coming authors and musicians international exposure.  Publiseer was launched to publish Nigerian books and songs recorded on over 400 online stores, including the Apple Store, Play Store and Amazon, across 100 countries. According to StartUpBeat, “Publiseer provides authors and artists a chance to have their work seen by the rest of the world.”
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Published by Publiseer
The mission of the publishing company is to promote the creativity of Nigerians to the rest of the world. So far, Publiseer has published 40 titles, 15 books and 25 musical albums.
This is not the first time a company is offering digital publishing services to authors and artists. BookBaby and CDBaby, both sister companies and already-established names, offer digital publishing services to authors and artists respectively, but the competitive edge of Publiseer is that it’s publishing service is free, while BookBaby and CDBaby request hefty publishing fees.

Continue reading “Did You Know you can publish your books or music for free in Nigeria?”

Did You Know you can look after your cows with an App in Africa?

Did You Know you can look after your cows with an App in Africa?

Owning a cow or other livestock is not an easy thing. Of course, if your family has owned cows for generations, skills are passed down. But, for those that have only few cows, or are finding it difficult to maintain the herd, it is important to have information at hand, quickly. There are often many difficult situations, from adverse weather conditions, to disease, that effect a herd, and if the heard is struggling, the family could be struggling also.

Of course with large urbanisation in #Africa, there are fewer opportunities to keep cows, unless for example you partake in #CowFunding, and in that case, someone else does the looking after for you! For those that have cows, maintaining the health of the heard is incredibly important. Optimum nutrition, medicine and health care is often the fine line between the life and the death of a cow. And one cow may mean the world to a family. Providing milk, or calves to sell or meat to eat, losing a cow, or having an unhealthy cow could have a massive impact on the well being of a family.

In this brave new world of technology and with mobile phones and internet access quickly spreading throughout Africa, it is now possible for anyone to get access to information.  If people want specific information, sometimes Google (or other search engines) are just not efficient enough. In recent years we have seen a trend towards tailoring information for specific types of people. There are apps which give students access to books. and e-learning opportunities, and apps that enable people all over the world to advise on best farming practices. And now, there is a service which enables farmers to look after their livestock to the best of their abilities.

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iCow helps cattle farmers, as well as other types of farmers, improve their productivity by sending them relevant text messages packed full with important information and instructions. By having access to relevant information, farmers can reduce risk. And it is not just for cow farming, there is a plethora of information such as on soil fertility, poultry, eggs and crops, which is helping many improve their farms.

Continue reading “Did You Know you can look after your cows with an App in Africa?”