Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg are looking more and more to Africa. Zuckerberg visited Nigeria and Kenya to check out the latest innovations, (Tech tourism is surely the next big thing in African tourism!) and potentially has plans to invest in mobile money or one of the many other innovations he came across. Facebook also has its Internet.org initiative that plans to connect the entire globe. Last year, Facebook and Internet.org launched their Innovation Challenge in Africa and the awards have just been announced. The challenge award winners took home £150,000 and 4 impact award winners each were given $50,000.
Challenge Award Winners
One of the problems farmers face is knowing exactly what crops to grow, due to limited knowledge of market trends. Farmers must be able to plan by knowing how much crops will cost at the time of harvest. When they do come to sell their produce, they need to transport their crops to market at great cost, without knowing if their will be a high demand for their product or not, so often they sell to middlemen, who can take advantage of the farmer. Ghanaian organisation Esoko gives the farmers consistent accurate data, via mobile phone, about the supply chain they are part of, by providing local market prices, matches buyers and sellers, as well as weather forecasts, news and farming tips. Farmers using Esoko are earning 10-30% more per annum. This system could disrupt the whole agricultural market system.
With it’s youthful population, Africa has a wealth of human capital. Unemployment is high, but the world needs software developers. Hyperion, from South Africa, is a social enterprise that aims to empower people in the developing world by teaching them Computer Science and software development. “No no skill can more rapidly empower individuals to gain access to well-paying careers, yet no skill is as hard to learn in the third world” states the Hyperion website. By training African youth these important skills they can position Africa as the go to continent for software development expertise. Their model charges only 15% of their students, which enables them to give the other 75% free education, empowering the masses!
Impact Award winners
mPharma provides a service for those taking prescription medicines as well as the doctors prescribing them. There app, Mutti, enables patients to be able to know exactly which pharmacies have their medicine in stock, also maintaining affordability. They also enable doctors to direct their patient to a pharmacy and ensure their patients adhere to the treatment schedule. Their real time tracking of medicine stock ensures that pharma companies know where stock is needed and pharmacies do not run out of particular medicines.
Tuteria is a platform that brings those with educational needs together with those that can teach them. Whether your child needs extra help with mathematics or english, or you want to fit in a learning salsa or a new language into your busy schedule, this platform will connect you with people close to you, with a passion for the subject matter. There is often a problem with getting reliable tutors. With the Tuteria vetting system, users can be assured that they will get high quality reliable service. Currently their service is only available in Nigeria, but the service would be useful worldwide.