Innovations Out Of Africa
The recently celebrated Africa day was a day originally set aside to commemorate the founding of the Organisation of African Unity on 25 May 1963, now renamed, the African Union. The organisation was formed to accomplish several goals related to achieving greater unity, cohesion, and solidarity between African nations. Africa Day is celebrated by most countries on the African continent. As the celebration is ongoing, we did a roundup of a few innovations that are either born out of Africa or launched on the continent, in the hope of enlightening or reminding you of the continent’s potentials, the numerous opportunities therein and what innovators and entrepreneurs are currently doing to utilise these opportunities. Here are five that make us proudly African and that we believe are well worth sharing.
M-PESA is a mobile-based cash exchange and money transfer application, which enables clients to store cash on mobile accounts and make electronic transfers by means of SMS messaging. Clients can withdraw and deposit cash from an enormous network of agents, charging its clients a small fee for sending and withdrawing transactions. Created in 2007, M-PESA has extended to some countries in Europe and Asia. This application moves a whole third of the Kenyan GDP among its users.
Jumia was launched in Nigeria in 2012. It is the biggest e-commerce retailer in the nation and currently works with 16 African nations and sells a wide range of products from gadgets to clothes and home merchandise. A company that started with just three people, Jumia currently has a staff of 1000 youthful and enterprising Nigerians. Jumia also set-up the first e-commerce academy in Nigeria, the Jumia Academy, building youthful business visionaries spearheading businesses in different sectors in Nigeria. This year, Jumia became the first African tech startup company to be listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).
Mellowcabs is a fully electric, eco-friendly and carbon-neutral vehicle made in South Africa that gives open transportation in urban territories. The taxis utilize kinetic energy to control the vehicle, on-board tablet PCs, use hydrogen power module innovation, and are made out of recycled materials. Since the rides are free, the organization depends on the advertisements put in the taxi to generate their profit. Mellowcabs engineers have successfully helped in decreasing traffic in urban territories and have effectively integrated with the transport system.
MamaOpe is an invention created by a Ugandan inventor, Brian Turabagye to tackle the issue of pneumonia among children in the country. As indicated by UNICEF, a large portion of a million children under five in sub-Saharan Africa die of pneumonia every year. A principle contributing element is the slow diagnosis of the disease. MamaOpe is a biomedical smart jacket which means “mother’s hope.” It can analyze the condition multiple times quicker than a doctor and it is also more exact and accurate. Its sensors get sound patterns from the lungs, temperature and breathing rate and inside four minutes, the information is registered and sent to a cell phone application which at that point gives a diagnosis. Since MamaOpe doesn’t require a specialist or even a doctor to run the tests, it can be utilized in remote areas and locations where there are no doctors. This wearable medical gadget could help save a large number of lives in Africa every year.
Mubser is a navigational guide instrument intended for visually impaired individuals. It is a wearable belt with a Bluetooth-associated headset that guides them to move and explore around regular obstructions, for example, dividers, seats, and staircases in a safe and simple way. Mubser perceives these obstructions by leveraging on RGB imaging and infrared information caught by a 3D depth camera and rapidly advises the client through an inbuilt sound gadget and vibration engine. Mubser was created by Khaled Shady in 2014 who was then 22 years old, and a group of computer engineering students at Menoufia University, Egypt.
Trend Solar has chosen to help handle the common issue of the energy supply crisis that is hindering Africa’s development. Trend Solar hopes to illuminate the lives of a large number of Africans living off-grid electrification and this is said to improve the lives of many people while connecting them to the world, this is being done by providing an affordable solar panel to give electricity which is currently seen as a basic need of life. Trend Solar also has a package that includes a smartphone that gives people access to the internet, thus, offering them the chance to truly connect to the world.
WoeLab was created in 2012 to combat rising waste problems on the continent. Every year, the electronics industry creates as much as 41 million tons of electronic waste (e-waste). It is a consistently developing issue in Africa, where certain nations have moved toward becoming dumping grounds for electronics from Europe and North America. To battle this trend, WoeLab is stepping up its recycling efforts on the continent. Individuals from the Tanzanian community technology hub came together to make Africa’s first-historically speaking 3D printer from e-waste, using discarded electronic parts to help advance the innovation of the country, thus, offering access to self-sustainable innovations so as to improve their way of life.
These examples are only a snapshot of the plethora of inventions on the continent in which entrepreneurs have seen challenges as opportunities and seized these opportunities to provide relevant solutions to problems facing the continent. If you have an exciting idea or innovation that you think can benefit the continent, then what are you waiting for? Africa is the second-largest and second most populous continent on earth and in the next few decades, it will have the largest labour force in the world. The time to do business on the continent is now.
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