The year is almost at an end and Christmas is upon us. Around the world presents will be given and exciting new technology will be given as presents. (As well as a few socks and handbags!) This technologies are the result of lengthy research processes and development stages. Innovations, joining tech together to great entertaining technology, which will eventually be the norm in our day to day lives.
In Africa, many of these technologies can not be fully utilised. Despite the rapid spread of mobile technology, Africa still has only 28% internet penetration. The Internet of Things, which is quickly spreading throughout the world, still has limited reach on the African continent. Despite this, there have been tremendous advancements in innovative technologies even over the past year. The African continent is innovative in nature and this innate passion for solution finding creates opportunities out of limitations.
In one of our most popular blogs of a year,’ Did you know you should go to Africa to experience African innovation?‘, we discussed exactly this phenomena. The more we had read and written about the continent, the more we believe in this statement! People take holidays to Africa to see different cultures and the beautiful landscapes and wildlife, or to ‘save the world’ as a volunteer. What they rarely do, unless they are invested heavily in new technology, is go to Africa to experience raw innovation. It is not just about the tech hubs that we have constantly discussed through the last year and we are certain to do in 2017, it is about the children, building and creating toys for themselves and the mechanics that fix cars, which would simply be considered written off in other parts of the world. Innovation tourism should be the next big African tourism!
Solar power has also been a mainstay topic throughout the year. Solar power has recently become the cheapest form of energy on the planet, which bodes well for the ‘developing’ world. Building solar plants is now cheaper than building any other type of power station. Solar innovation is buzzing all over social media this year, and not only with regard to African technology. We have written about tech that gives everyone access to solar, solar malaria solutions, solar storage advancements and even a solar backpack!
Solar blogs in general were very well received, but the most read, and our favourite was ‘Did You Know Solar Power can empower African women‘. This post was about the brilliant Solar Sisters, who empower women to emPower their communities by selling the small solar appliances. Not only does this scheme give small communities access to solar lamps, radios and phone chargers (amongst other things), but the women selling the chargers become entrepreneurs. The Solar Sisters are making an enormous difference.
The innovative use of mobile phones has also created enormous amounts of change in Africa, with health care now possible in many different ways, from remote eye exams to centralised health systems. Mobile money is also bringing more and more Africans into banking, saving, and planning for the future. Mobiles are even helping farmers optimise their farms! Fintech, health tech and agric tech, will continue to a feature of Inventive Africa and African technological development next year and into the future.
We have been very fortunate to have the support of some great guest bloggers over the last few months. Brook Negussie, CEO of eLearnAfrica, wrote of ELearnAfrica’s incredible online education opportunities, William Jackson discussed the importance of tech conferences to youth development, Maria Pedro Miala blogged about her great idea to bring health insurance to the masses, Ifeoluwa Popoola wrote about his innovative solution to create employment and complete household chores and Mtunzi Mavuma explained how there is funding available for startups across the continent. Our most popular blog, ‘Did You Know Hemp could create change in Africa‘, ever was also by guest blogger Scotty from MOhemp Africa. MOhemp are currently trying to go into business in Kenya, and promote the hemp as a solution to tackle climate change by utilising the Earth as a giant carbon sink.
We would like to thank all of our readers and contributors for all their support this year. We are really enjoying this journey through African Innovation and are excited to see what 2017 holds. Africa can, and should be, the technology bread basket of the world!
We wish you an amazing Christmas period and a wonderful innovative New Year! Please get in contact with us on Twitter @InventiveAfrica or email, and please also share the blog with your network on Twitter and Facebook