New technological innovations are shifting and transforming Africa. Smart young entrepreneurs, developers and programmers have sprung up in innovation hubs, accelerators and incubators centers around the continent to build information and telecom solutions that exploit the continent's blend of challenges and opportunities.
Each year, the number of technology hubs across Africa is rising and new technology is changing the way all sectors do business. From healthcare to education, agriculture to business, technology has changed it all.
According to the global telecoms industry body GSMA’s Ecosystem Accelerator, a program that works to enable partnerships between operators and developers in the continent, there are a total of 314 tech hubs and incubation centers in Africa recorded by July 2016.
On its last mapping, the World Bank reported that there were 117 tech centers spread across the continent. GSMA says the 314 or more tech hubs in Africa are spread across 93 cities in 42 countries. Though the hubs are concentrated in five South Africa, Egypt, Kenya, Nigeria and Morocco, the rest of Africa cannot be ruled out.
Kenya’s iHub is an example of a wild success story. The hub gave rise to Africa’s innovation center movement, inspiring upsurge in tech across the internet and is often referred to as the African Silicon Savanah having launched more than 170 startups since inception in 2010.
And as Africa innovate solutions to making life a little easier, here are top ten innovations and inventions developed by Africa for Africans and the world
Originally designed to allow microfinance-loan repayments by phone and reducing interest rates, this mobile phone-based money transfer which has changed millions of lives has expanded to Afghanistan, South Africa, India, Romania and Albania. Due to its quick, safe and easy way of working, M-Pesa have millions of registered users many of them being from the rural areas. M-Pesa also offers loans and saving services. M stands for Mobile while Pesa is Swahili word for Money. Launched by Safaricom, Kenya’s largest mobile operator and Vodafon in 2007, the mobile-money system is the most successful system of its kind in the entire globe. After depositing money to their mobile accounts through M-Pesa agents, one can buy goods and services in whatever place they choose.
The mobile phone app help fathers of young children become more involved in their children’s early care and development. It uses game like elements to motivate fathers to face the numerous challenges of childcare, as well as facilitate the exchange of knowledge through peer to peer advice. The parenting app won in the for Early Children Development (ECD) hackathon during the 2015 South African Innovation Summit. It was developed over 24 hours by a team of Kanya Msila, Suleiman Henry and Sonke Gender Justice of MenCare.
The use of electronic vouchers by Zimbabweans cash-strapped small scale farmers’ access agricultural inputs. Farmers are able to pick inputs from pre-registered retailers within their area, supplied by per registered wholesaler or supplier. The agricultural inputs can be seeds, fertilizers and lime, agrochemicals, and tools or spare parts farming equipment.
Swipe cards re loaded with e-vouchers of $160 and distributed to selected vulnerable beneficiaries. The beneficiary in turn pays 10 per cent of the value of the purchase to retailer in cash on purchase day, while rest of the total amount is deducted from the swipe card. This scheme not only promotes farmer-driven and market friendly recovery and development, it also supports re-establishment of agro dealer network across the country.
Nigerians farmers are able to receive subsidized electronic vouchers for inputs to their mobile phones which allows them to purchase seeds and fertilizers and other tools directly from agro-dealers. Cellulant, a technology business in the mobile and digital services sector in Africa, developed the mobile wallet network which serves thousands of villages and more than millions farmers. The system also cuts the cost of fertilizer by 50 per cent.
Connects Senegal farmers to food purchasers by displaying real time market prices, products and localizations. The mobile service Mlouma uses web, SMS and a call centre approach to reach maximum number of users. Since many farmers cannot read or write, the preferred and faster way by farmers is a simple call to sell their products.
Started in Ghana as TradeNet, it allows farmers to collect data and get advice on market prices, weather forecasts, and growing tips to help them increase their yields and profits as well as solutions to marketing products, monitoring activities and sourcing goods to help them connect with other farmers. This is done through personalized SMS alerts, buy and sell offers, bulk SMS messaging, SMS polling and surveys. The technology also provides extensive deployment support, strategic planning and field training to clients.
Farmerline uses voice and SMS to collect data, share new farming techniques, and better link smallholder’s farmers to other actors along the agricultural value chain across Ghana.
7. Mobile AgriBiz
The civil wars in The Democratic of Congo had a horrific impact on the country and especially agriculture but that has been used as a stepping stone as the country is recovery. Technology has caught up with the country and in 2016, Mobile Agribiz was launched in Kinshasa. The mobile app is a web and SMS application that helps farmers decide when and how to plant crops, how to select the best crops for a given location using climate and weather data and connections available in the market. Farmers are connected to buyers. The app also teaches them how to plant or use fertilizers.
8. Community Surveillance Project
Helps fishing communities in Sierra Leone fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing through the use of mobile phones, GPS enabled cameras and motor boats. Those caught are forwarded to the government and European Union and an investigation is started.
9. Farming Instructor
Provides online and offline agriculture information to farmers. From text, speeches and animation, farmers and Tanzanians are encouraged to engage in agriculture activities. The texts are written tips from all over the world and can be shared and exchanged. All written speeches is converted to sound and users can listen via Text To Speech engine feature of the app. As the animations tips are easy to follow and interesting to keep farmer glued.
10. Poultry Farming Guide
The app focusses on providing information, tips, and advice to help farmers operate a profitable chicken raring business in Uganda.