Last week, AppsAfrica announced their finalists for this years awards. Their awards ceremony will take place in Cape Town on the 6th of November 2017. We featured some of our favourites in our previous blog, but with such an exciting array of innovations, there simply wasn’t enough space to feature more. So, in this blog, we will cover some more of our favourite innovations that will battle it out in Kigali.


A couple of weeks ago, I was in the north of England looking for a particular address using the Satnav in the car. I put in the post code, drove where I was told, and found I was still 5 minutes from my actual destination. We have worked with addresses the same way for centuries, name or number of a house, street name, town, county/state and post/zip code. In the new digital world, there is surely a more efficient way to deal with addresses. We featured an idea on Inventive Africa a while back, which offered a new way to look at addresses, but What3words have come up with another solution, to help you locate any 3m X 3m spot on earth. They have created unique 3 word signatures for every little plot on the planet.

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The What3words grid

In Africa many houses do not have official addresses, so how do we find them. And what about in a humanitarian crisis? What if a natural disaster has wiped houses off the map, or destroyed large areas, how is it possible to navigate to a particular point. With what3words’ solution you can search for any area with the three word description, and not have to worry about poor GPS, false maps, or finding a tiny house in the middle of a slum. Their system has its own map, but can also be blended with existing online mapping systems. It also works offline, which is very helpful in disaster situations, or in areas with little internet connection.  What3Words offers solutions in many instances. Often Streetnames, or place names are the same, and some large expanses of land have no landmarks, streets or houses. But with this simple but clever system, it is possible to navigate to anywhere in the world!


All the educational innovations on the list this year are worthy of a feature. Technology is enabling children to have better access to information and up to date tailored syllabus. It is also enabling teachers to teach more effectively, even in very remote schools. The Mwabu Approach, an e-learning platform to guide teachers and students, and Kukua whose solution incorporates game based learning both featured on the finalist list. Today, we focus on Praekelt.

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Praekelt also uses a gamification system to enable children to more effectively learn maths. Even without a Smart phone, students can access a gamified mobile maths challenge platform for High School students.  By working their way through the program, students earn points, badges and even airtime, but solving maths challenges, which are in line with all sections of the syllabus.

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Most actual games, have rewards based systems now. Those of you who have played FIFA recently, will see that if you win games, you can make money, and then improve your team. Lots of apps have rewards based systems to help improve power ups, etc. and incentivising players to stay on the game for longer. The Paekelt system Dig It, uses exactly the same technique to keep students engaged in learning maths. So far Dig It has reaped rewards in South Africa with 40% of learners showing improvements, and a 10% average improvement across the board.


Agricultural innovation is driving forward a sector that has been tremendously under valued and lacked investment for too long. While many countries focussed on wealth from natural resources, often the agricultural sector has been neglected. Now there are a whole host of innovation trying to change that, and we have featured many here on Inventive Africa. One of the problems farmers have is selling their crops. To get to the stage of having crops to sell, it is often a long hard struggle. But, then there is the problem of getting the produce to market, deciding on the correct price, and not being cheated by the middle man.

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Farmart, from Ghana, has created an online farmers market that links farmers directly to individuals and business that need fresh produce. Farmers can be assured of customers for their crops and a fair price, and customers are certain of the freshness of the produce, and have it delivered directly to their doors on the same day. (Could they use the What3words system to do so?) At the moment there will be payment on delivery, but I foresee a change to mobile money payments. Customers can also select fruit and vegetables for a Farmart box, which will then be delivered to them regularly.

AppsAfrica continue to showcase the leading talent in Africa, and promote innovation within the continent. The finalists may only just have been announced, but if you have an idea, innovation or technology, it is worth preparing for next years event already!

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 she the blog with your network on Twitter and Facebook. Also, don’t forget to check out and like out Facebook pageFor more interesting blogs about African Innovation, check out our homepage.

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