On Inventive Africa we have been privileged to have a number of guest bloggers. I started this platform to show the world what Africa is capable, and also to inspire people in Africa to follow their own innovative dreams. When guest bloggers write for Inventive Africa, it shows that there is so much passion for African innovation and technology across the continent.
Check out some of the blogs from out previous guest bloggers:
Once again, we have another guest blogger for you. Andui Claude Ebaneck interviewed the CEO and Founder of Maelth Tech Int., Akwo Ashangndowah Jake, a healthcare entrepreneur from Silicon Mountain Buea, Cameroon. In 2015, he founded the healthcare IT Company Maealth Tech Inc. with mission to
improve access to credible health info
and strengthen Cameroons health care system by digitalizing cumbersome hospital processes.
Prior to their latest product, the HelpYourself mobile application, Ashangndowah has been in charge of many mHealth projects like the epills (a voice reminder system for patients with Chronic diseases for adherence checks e.g HIV/AIDS)
Andui Claude Ebaneck – What is the HelpYourself (HY) app?
Ashangndowah –HY is a FREE simple to use, visually appealing bilingual mobile application that helps users share health inquiries/issues LIVE with a certified medical doctor for possible advice and connect to a platter of health care services all through their smart phones. The goal is to put accessible and affordable first aid, home remedies and other health services into the hands of every person in Cameroon. To achieve this, the company has brought together a team of clinicians, computer engineers, Doctors to focus on combining Health with Information Technology (Health IT) to create a comprehensive, immediate and personalised health care app with services that are FREE Continue reading “Did You Know you can Help Yourself be healthy with an app from Cameroon?”→
Agriculture is an area of tremendous opportunity in Africa. It is also a sector that needs substantial investment, so that Africa can feed itself and lessen the reliance on foreign imports. In a time where climate change is threatening to make farming even more challenging in Africa, and urbanisation is taking the labour force away from rural farm land, innovation is needed to increase productivity and give incentivise the labour force into getting back into farming, and developing their businesses.
We have featured many agricultural innovations on Inventive Africa, many of which continue to flourish, like Farm Drive, who have recently been features on the IPA 2017 shortlist, and have won various other awards across the continent. It seems that every year, there are many more inventive ideas around the sector, and today two more will be features.
Over the past few years, Kenya have been a leading force in African innovation. Safaricom have driven innovation with their introduction of mobile money service M-Pesa, which has changed the outlook of the Kenyan financial sector, connecting many with banking services. There are many spinoffs such as M-Kopa and M-Tiba, which both aim to combat the social issues of health care and demand for electricity.
Now they are venturing into the agricultural sector and aim to help agricultural processing businesses in production planning by opening a communication line with farmers. Connected Farmer, and app, enables farmers across Kenya to digitise their entire end to end operations. It includes, farmer profiling, communication, collection of Continue reading “Did You Know 3D urban farming in Africa is a thing?”→
The Innovation Prize for Africa has once again inspired a continent. After various events promoting innovation and creativity, the final ceremony took place on Tuesday 18th July, in Accra. We have been waiting with anticipation to find out who the winners of this years IPA addition would be, but the excitement comes from the huge variety of innovations that made it into the shortlisted 10. The health sector, agriculture, drones, innovative software and the energy sector were all represented in the top ten, showing that the continent is equipped to come up with solutions for Africa as well as the rest of the world.
In this blog we will discuss the winners and give a little analysis. If you want to read more about the other nominees, check out our three other blogs.
This years winner, and receiver of $100,000, was Prof. El-Shafei, who we had not mentioned in our previous blogs. (We had a feeling he may win, so held back for his potential glorious moment!) His innovation is maybe not as ‘sexy’ as some of the others, but it will make an enormous difference to production of energy in Africa and the rest of the world. He has created a smart bearing which changes its characteristics as it operates. According to the IPA website, the bearing “consists of a magnetic bearing Continue reading “Did You Know IPA rewarded its winners with $150,000!”→
Last week, the Innovation Prize for Africa announced their nominees for this years event, which will take place in Accra, Ghana in July. Over the last 5 years, the IPA has become one of the most anticipated innovation events in Africa. Over the years they have handed out around $1 million to incredible innovations and startups throughout the African continent.
The IPA was created 5 years ago by the African Innovation Foundation, who are based in Switzerland and aim to “increase the prosperity of Africans by catalysing the innovation spirit in Africa. We want to see needs-based innovation and change happen.” AIF also support various other projects across Africa, including the African Law Library, which we covered in Inventive Africa.
In our last blog, we featured 3 of the nominees from the IPA. This years nominees are so diverse, exciting and inspirational that it was not possible to cover them all in one blog. This year, 4 of the nominees were in the health sector. Health innovations have features widely on Inventive Africa and have covered anything from mobile phones used in eye care, to CT scanners. Here are our thoughts on a few more of the nominees and their innovations from the health category.
Getting sicknesses diagnosed in Africa can be time consuming and frustrating. I have sat for many an hour in hospital waiting for results to come through. Sometimes they come back as negative and then, the process starts again to diagnose the illness. I have heard horror stories of children being medicine for a headache, rather than malaria after being wrongly diagnosed.
This new technology, developed by Dougbeh-Chris Nyan in Liberia, enables doctors to make a diagnosis on many infections at the same time within 40 minutes. This technology not only cuts down on waiting times, it also ensures that even when the diagnostics systems and expertise are limited, patients can get a reliable diagnosis, and there for be treated correctly. It is simple to use and can be deployed anywhere, so it is perfect for remote rural areas.
In the example above, where the young lad was misdiagnosed purely on his symptoms, this technology can diagnose between infections that have similar symptoms such as malaria, ebola, and yellow fever. In the case of these dangerous highly infectious diseases, the short turn around time in diagnosis will significantly cut the risk of an infection spreading down.
In 2015 there were 2.7 million cases of TB in Africa, 750,000 of whom died from the infectious disease. TB, which effects the lungs, is particularly difficult for those who suffer from HIV. It is estimated that over 3 million incidents of TB are missed due to misdiagnosis and other cases being missed altogether. In order to diagnose TB, patients must often go to a clinic on various occasions, giving a sample of sputum, for high tech diagnosis. That is only the lucky patients, as many rural regions of Africa do not have the facilities to test for TB.
The Sweat TB test makes the process a lot quicker, and without the need for a needle or any invasiveness. The test “leverages a TB specific marker in the sweat of patients, to produce a point- of- care test to detect TB”. Like so many innovations in the health sector in Africa at the moment, this gives the chance for patients, no matter how remote or rural to have a test for TB and get the results, and medicine within the same short visit to the clinic. This could revolutionise TB care in Africa and all across the world.
As we have pointed out again and again, access to decent health care can be difficult in parts of Africa. Wrong diagnosis, lack of equipment, lack of a nearby health facility, or even a shortage in specialists can impact on the quality of health care. In previous blogs we have shown how some innovations are bringing specialists to patients remotely through mobile devices.
Dr CADx, which we also featured on Inventive Africa 7 months ago, is a software solution that helps doctors and health care workers diagnose medical images more accurately. Due to the scarcity of radiologists on the continent, most medical images are read by general doctors or other health care workers who lack expertise and end up misdiagnosing more than 30% of the cases that they review. As a result, millions of patients fail to get the right treatment or the treatment is delayed leading to more complications and even death. Dr CADx uses deep learning to interpret medical images and achieve an accuracy of 82% an improvement over the 70% average for radiologists. Dr CADx is designed to work in low resource settings with poor internet connectivity opening it up for use in many rural settings in Africa.
We still haven’t covered all the cool innovations featured in the IPA shortlist, so expect a part 3 covering the rest! The final will be held in Ghana next month, so keep your eyes open for the winner!
If you know of an innovation that is changing lives, or you want to be a guest blogger get in contact with us on Twitter @InventiveAfrica or via email, and please share the blog with your network on Twitter and Facebook. Also, we have a new Facebook page! Please like it, and carry on the dialogue about African Innovation there!
In Africa, data prices are becoming more competitive, smart and feature phones are more accessible to people across the continent, and more people have access to mobile internet. This increased usage of phones means there is space for more and more mobile phone applications, that solve problems specific to Africa. More and more developers in Africa are turning to build apps for their countries, in the hope that there creation will be the next best thing in the African tech world.
A lot of the innovations we are seeing in the mobile world within Africa are coming out of Easters and Southern Africa, but Earlier this month, the West Africa Mobile Awards unveiled this years 10 winners, seeking to bring the focus back to the tech excellence in West Africa. With over 1040 applicants from 14 countries, the awards were hotly contested. Awards were given in the areas of commerce and retail, Fintech, Mobile education, mobile innovation, mobile marketing campaign and social impact, social news and entertainment.
Last week I wrote a little about the incredible work the iSpace, a technology hub in Accra, Ghana are involved in. I spent a lot of time in the hub, taking in the atmosphere and talking to the inspiring young people learning, creating, innovating and aspiring out of the Labone office. One of those that I was introduced to was Emmanuel Mbalam, who has founded a startup called Lending Square. Emmanuel arrived at iSpace for an interview for a position at iSpace but ended up himself being supported by iSpace to develop his business, with funding, business support and event accommodation!
Emmanuel had an air of confidence about him when he began to tell me about his startup. It may have had something to do with being introduced as iSpace’s cash cow, or simply because he has a great idea, which promises to change the lives of many in Ghana.
Mobile phones have become an integral part of our life. When we have a question, we take out our phone and ask google, when we get lost, Google helps again with its maps. We job search, chat with friends, find a date, complete academic certificates and everything using our phones and the internet. Most of us in Europe walk around with our contract phones and either have either unlimited data or a set amount of per month that we can use almost without thinking about usage. In Africa, that is not the case.
Although payment methods are changing with the increased usage of mobile money, data plans in Africa are relatively unchanged. People top up their phones, and either use the basic price per megabit, or buy a bundle which will give a set amount of data to be used over the month. The bundles are the better and on the whole the cheaper option, but for some reason, that data runs away like water from a leaky pipe. These days phones are so dependent on data that they seem to slowly steal it behind your back when you are not looking! (or your phone is in your pocket minding its own business) This isn’t a problem for those with contracts, but when you have a limited about of data, it can be extremely frustrating.