Did You Know fuel fraud app can make you a safer driver in Africa?

Did You Know fuel fraud app can make you a safer driver in Africa?

Fuel fraud can cause havoc to freight companies. With fuel one of the biggest expenses when transporting goods around, any fuel deviations can be a big hit to profitability. Care and attention is needed along the way, from checking that the correct fuel has been pumped in, and the transaction is correct at the petrol pumps, to monitoring whether fuel has been siphoned off, whilst a lorry is at a standstill. And it is not only the big companies that have to fight this. Families and individuals can also feel the impact of fuel fraud.

South Africa, and 6 other countries are bidding fare well to fraudulent payments  at filling stations with its Payment24. Improvements in advanced fuel management and payment solution to reserve funds for fuel, speeding up of the payment process, control and track fuel expenditure by family members and employees is all an easy click away with the Payment24 app.  Using this app allows motorist to geographically locate filling stations and pump number for authorisation to fill up. It has reduced traffic, transaction costs and petrol errors, which used to occur at filling stations. It is a master tool for both employees and employers.

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This internationally recognised app has been developed in South Africa and will  now be extending into new markets.  Fuel companies will first be using their mobile phones to have access to payments with this app in over 600 stations country wide. Operating in 7 countries currently, with over 1110 worldly recognised gas stations, it looks as though Payment24 has the potential to continue to spread beyond the borders of Africa. Its super friendliness even allows non-banked or security conscious customers to have full access to it. Linking of credit cards for ease of access to funding and payments being just a click away on mobile phones.

The app offers “fuel in tank” features,  which promotes multiple integration through its fuel sensors, allowing high levels of accuracy in fuel gauging. Not only does this improve budgeting systems for customers and allow them to compare dispensed fuel from pumps with delivered fuel in tank for fleet vehicles, it also monitors whether fuel is being illegally syphoned from the tank. This simple function means that consumers can now be comfortable that they can stop and illegal syphoning, and save money!

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With the thematic feature in place, fleet vehicles location and speed can be easily monitored through in built in sensors, which offer immediate feedback to drivers. Safety measures can finally be ensured as driver behaviour will be monitored. Figures in fatal accidents on roads could fall as a result of monitoring driver behaviour and speed. A side effect from what is already an extremely useful app, this function could be rolled out to all cars on the road, especially private buses, to ensure safer driving.

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 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?”

Did You Know Africa had the most successful innovations at Seedstars?

Did You Know Africa had the most successful innovations at Seedstars?

Yesterday, 12th April 2018, I sat in the audience of the Seedstars Summit filled with pride. After a few days of activities, the grande finale showcased Seedstars’ best innovations of the year. Over the course of the year, the Seedstars team, who are positioned in emerging markets around the world, search for the best innovations and start-ups. With over a 1000 applicants, they take the time to whittle them down to 65 finalists, of whom 12 would compete on the final day in a live pitching competition on the main stage.

Of the 12 live pitchers, 4 were from Africa, the highest proportion from any region. The African innovators to take to the stage were the Nigerian medication marketplace Medsaf, GiftedMom, a health information platform from Cameroon (Who we have featured on the blog previously), EMGuidance a South African medical content aggregator, and Ghanaian agricultural platform, Agrocenta. With a huge number of African innovators, and participants at the Seedstars Summit, each African speaker got a huge cheer welcoming them onto stage.

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The eventual winner of the overall prize, was AgroCenta, who were represented by co-founders Francis Obirikorang and Michael K. Ocansey. Francis was one of the last up on stage to explain their platform, which had already gained $250K in funding previously. Continue reading “Did You Know Africa had the most successful innovations at Seedstars?”

Did You Know you can now easily get scholarships in Africa?

Did You Know you can now easily get scholarships in Africa?

Teaching is an amazing field that I loved working in. The chubby smiles and faces with sparkling eyes full of hope staring at you everyday. It takes a heart that cares to transform lives no matter what the circumstances are. I recall some of the personal experiences that touched my heart every year with some of my students. Every day after extra lessons we would unintentionally find ourselves talking about issues  that troubled them internally. Listening to their struggles and assisting in any way we knew giving the students hope to hold on.

I found myself being a counsellor, a listener and mentor without qualifications. One outstanding matric class of 2012 still amazes me. Most of my students came from very poor backgrounds and were struggling a lot with fees, but Of all 3 matric classes we had, they were the best in all subjects, including  mathematics, english and science. No one can imagine the joy, pride and excitement I felt every prize giving day for that year.

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Not everyone in Africa gets the joy of graduating university!

Exam time came and we had 53 bachelors out of 70 students that were set for exams. Sadly, only 15 of the 53 managed to make it to university. The rest could not afford university fees and neither could their families. Had I a blossoming bank account, I would have wiped all their sorrows away an helped them with their fees. .Alas I was just their humble teacher had nothing but myself to offer and echoes of my comforting words sinking deep in their hearts. None of them ever saw university doors.With a heavy heart I still keep touch with some of them. In different directions where they shouldn’t be life has taken them. The guilt I carry every time I see them rips me apart.”Is that all I could do” I still ask my self. Continue reading “Did You Know you can now easily get scholarships in Africa?”

Did You Know there are too many NEF amazing NEF innovations to feature in one blog?

Did You Know there are too many NEF amazing NEF innovations to feature in one blog?

Our previous two blogs featured the Next Einstein Forum, which took place in March. The event seeks to promote African scientific excellence to the rest of the world, and to find the next brilliant scientists and mathematicians from the continent. It is such an exciting and important initiative, that this blog will be the third in the series of blogs about this year’ NEF. We will once again feature some of our favourite innovations from the Challenge of Invention to Innovation (Ci2i), an innovation challenge that shortlisted 16 finalists from over 130 entrants.

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For a general overview of the happenings of the event, including the inauguration of a new African scientific journal, and our thoughts on why it is such an important theme, you can check out this blog. Do see other featured innovations from the Ci2i, see this blog 

Molepse Bio oil/powder

We say it often, but it important to note that agriculture forms the backbone of many African economies, and, whilst there are often other greater sources of income, farming is vitally important. If it is not supported and developed, then the African continent will continue to rely on food imports. With the available land, this is simply not necessary, if the sector is managed properly.

Part of the process of ensuring that farms maximise their yields, and send a maximum amount to market, is to make sure that crops are stored properly after harvest. Post harvest losses are one of the major reasons for food insecurity. If Weevils enter a crop they can completely decimate it, so farmers need to take measure to protect against this. After four years of research, Donatus Njoroge of Kenya found the perfect mix of locally growing weeds, which are then mixed and turned into oil or powder. This has been found to be extremely effective by local farmers to repel major insect pests, such a Weevils. Farmers were able to store their maize for 6 months, which means it can reach until the next season.

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Donatus at NEF

 

Apart from being a natural product (and it is important to create natural products) another reason that they are more effective than artificial pesticides is that different pests effect different crop types. Molepse was effective with all types of pests. The affordability, as well as the fact that is natural, could change the fortunes of many farmers across the region.

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Molepse bio products

Rachel Sibande

Rachel Sibande, from Malawi, is already a renowned African innovator. Some may even call her an innovation celebrity! In 2013 she established the first innovation, mHub, in Malawi. She has also won various other awards, including one from Google.

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At this years NEF, she showcased her idea to use Maize cobs as a bio fuel. Up cycling has been quite popular world wide, and finding new uses for waste products takes that to a new level, especially in the energy sector. Maize is a staple food throughout much of the continent, and therefore that an millions of cobs available, which usually go to waste. Sibande plans to use the to run a gasifier based electrical system, which will be able to be utilised by local communities, schools, health centres and local businesses for their energy needs. It is not only power which will be generated, rather like Ecovon, they will create new building materials from the ashes from the power system, to create cheap housing, as well as boosting employment.

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Sibande’s innovation is upcycling upcycling! Power is a problem in many communities, as are building sustainable affordable housing. She is solving the problem by using a waste product that is found all over the continent. This rising star of African innovation will continue to find herself in the limelight with this idea, and surely many more! In fact, she was the winner of the NEF Ci2i, and it is clear that she is great supporter of other women in technology. In her winning speech she said “This is for the daughters of the continent. May they thrive in science to innovate and invent more home grown solutions.” Amen to that!

Hadithi! Hadithi!

Education is a big development issue across the continent. Access to schools is for many a major problem. Parents often require their children to help them out with work, or perform many other tasks, many have to walk long distances to school and others simply can’t afford to attend. Within schools there can be other hurdles to jump over. I have seen on occasions sub standard teachers, inappropriate learning environments, and a distinct lack of access to information. And, if there are not things for children to read, they will struggle with basic written and verbal communication, and fail to learn other things.

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There are a number of services in Africa that aim to give better access to information for students. But few of them are accessible in local languages with English and French the go to languages. But that also leaves the issue of a cultural disconnect, because local dialect is as important as learning a more widely spoken one. Hadithi! Hadithi!, created by eLimu, is a literacy app for 6 to 8 year olds, which contains stories written in local languages, by local teachers. Languages from Kenya, Uganda, Somalia and South Sudan are currently being used to help young students read and learn. The application covers the local curricula, and contains sentence making, spelling, letter tracing and games.

eLimu also have a number of other products aimed at other age groups. They also help train teachers to integrate technology into schools, and have revision help for students, with past papers and notes accessible online.

In 2020 NEF will have its next edition in Kenya, but in the mean time they will continue to support the best of the best in Africa to become the world’s next generation of scientific excellence. Keep your eyes open for more African scientific break throughs, that now have a platform to tell the world.

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Did You Know Einstein like brains are enabling African Innovation?

Did You Know Einstein like brains are enabling African Innovation?

Last week the Next Einstein Forum took place in Nairobi, which brought together some of the greatest minds in Africa, scientists as well as business leaders, to promote African scientific excellence, as encourage the future of Africa’s mathematical and scientific sector. For a general overview of the happenings of the event, including the inauguration of a new African scientific journal, and our thoughts on why it is such an important theme, you can check out the previous blog. 

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The Next Einstein Forum, like many African events currently, also promote innovation specific innovations from the African continent. Each time they hold the event, they choose 16 finalists, from over 100 applicants, who feature at the event. This time around was the second edition of the Challenge of Invention to Innovation (Ci2i). According Mr. Thierry Zomahoun, President and CEO of AIMS and Founder and Chair of Next Einstein Forum to “The NEF Ci2i challenge rewards research based innovations and products that have a direct impact on our communities. The selected finalists’ innovations address climate change, various health challenges and push the envelope by proposing new data science or advanced (deep tech) technologies.”

In this blog we showcase a few of our favourite finalists! (But of course, all of them have fantastic innovations that could shape Africa)

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Farming is a science, and it certainly won’t be as successful as you would like with simple guess work. I can attest to this with my failed farm experiment in Ghana, in which the soil and rainfall just was not suited to Jatropha, a so called wonder crop, that was not Continue reading “Did You Know Einstein like brains are enabling African Innovation?”

Did You Know the next Einstein will be an African?

Did You Know the next Einstein will be an African?

This month we lost one of the greatest scientific minds the world has seen. Professor Stephen Hawking’s work as a theoretical physicist gained him notoriety throughout the scientific community, and made him widely known throughout the world, proven by the huge outpouring of emotional from every continent following his death. There is no doubt that he was a hugely gifted man, whose education and residence at Cambridge University, gave him a platform for brilliance. But, if he had been born in Africa, would things have turned out the same.

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Changing the perceptions of Africa’s scientific excellence

It is hard to speculate, and maybe his brilliant mind would still have taken him to great places. But, limited opportunities for the best of the best academic minds creates many challenges and hurdles to overcome to make sure brilliance is utilised. Getting through the education system to reach university is the first challenge, and if that is hurdled, it is then necessary to find the fees to attend a university, and then hope that they are get the right development opportunities within the university. It is possible, but very tough.

Even when you finish university, where do you go. If you haven’t already had to travel oversees to get the best education, you may have to now travel oversees to get an internship with the best firm. This paints a very negative view on education in Africa, I know, and this is certainly a generalisation, but cultivating an excellent mind in Africa simply isn’t easy, which is why only 2 percent of global scientific research comes from Africa!

If you ask people to mention an African scientist of note, they may find it difficult to answer. But with a huge population, the talent is certainly not lacking. And to exclude the excellence of Africa is a great loss to academia worldwide. Scientific knowledge from Africa can only benefit worldwide research, and must be cultivated. Fortunately, there are a group that are intent on making that a reality and finding the next Einstein.

You may have heard of the Next Einstein Forum, which is an initiative launched by the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS), aimed at connecting science, society and policy in Africa and the rest of the world. Their goal is to “leverage science for human develop globally” and making sure that Africa are part of that process. That are an essential driving force behind Africa’s scientific renaissance, and they want the world to know about it, by making sure that scientific breakthroughs within the continent or by African mathematicians and scientists do not go missed by world media.

Aptly, this year the forum was in Kigali, Rwanda. The president himself, who sees Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) vitally important for the development of the Rwandan economy hosted the forum.  With over 1000 attendees, 50% of them under the age of 42, and 40% of whom were women, the event is incredibly diverse, which fits with such a diverse continent.

A general theme of health, education and the gender gap ran through this years event. And within these themes a plethora of topics were covered, including Accelerating Africa’s lab to market process, Blockchain opportunities, driving innovation through Africa’s digital economy, laying the foundation for knowledge leg economies and changing the way we learn and building scientific culture early on. I wish I could go through all of these topics individually, but there simply not enough words in a blog to do so, but fortunately for us, NEF have a youtube channel in which many of the discussions are already documented. (I urge you to go and check out the videos, some of the interviews are incredibly inspiring!)

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Scientific African – A new peer reviewed journal

One exciting news from the forum was the launch of Scientific African, an open access journal, which aims to boost the reach and impact of research by Africans globally. This peer reviewed publications will give a place for scientific break throughs from Africans, to be published and showcased to the scientific community and others worldwide. Many do not consider the African continent with regards to excellence in general, and it is important that African’s are present representing excellence in every sector, from business, to heath and in this case science. Showcasing African excellence in this manner will help to open the minds of people worldwide to the truth that the continent is packed full of brilliant individuals.

This will also have a knock on effect, in line with the mission of the NEF and AIMS, to promote STEM to young Africans. If they are to find the next Einstein (And Zuckerberg, Hawking and Brunel for that matter) the youth need to see maths and sciences as an attractive option from an early stage.

And event like this in Africa would not be complete without an innovation competition, and they didn’t disappoint. With 16 winners announced, NEF is another exciting location to see the best innovations of Africa. In subsequent blogs we will have a look through some of our favourites from the finalists.

The African Institute for Mathematical Sciences and the Next Einstein Forum are an incredible opportunity for Africa to showcase its excellence to the world and itself. Many young African’s will be inspired by the knowledge that there is a platform that aims to support their excellence. They make it possible for the best students form the continent to receive the best education, without leaving to the US or America. These are schemes that need to be supported, pushed and boosted by the public and the private sector. Cultivating the next generation of excellence in Africa, and taking another step towards creating an African continent that can stand shoulder to shoulder with the rest of the world, if not head and shoulders above.

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