Another week, another award ceremony showcasing African Innovation. And it is another popular one! The MTN Business App of the Year Awards took place on the 12th of October in Johannesburg. MTN, Africas largest mobile operator, is one of the continent leaders in the search for the next big African innovation. One the one hand, they are interested in finding innovative solutions to social problems, and on the other hand, finding and investing in these innovations can only further develop their business.
With the Innovation Prize for Africa, Seedstars, AppsAfrica awards and many more, Africa is becoming a greater focus of innovative talent. And the world is beginning to take notice. As well as fostering this talent and encouraging people in Africa to follow through with their ideas, these awards help change the mindset of investors outside of the continent. It is now possible to see that Africa does in fact have an incredible pool of responsible, hard working talent that can be tapped into. It is no wonder we are seeing more and more stories about big firms, such as Microsoft, heading into Africa to invest.
As usual, we will feature some of our favourite winners from the MTN Business App of the year below.
SHYFT not only won the award for Best Financial Solution, but they took the overall winner award. Shyft, from Standard Bank, enables customers to purchase currency and transfer money overseas all from the comfort of their mobile phone. Forex can be purchased and stored on the phone and transferred when needed. The purchased currency, which is in USD, GBP, EUR and AUSD, can also be used through virtual cards, which means international online shopping is now possible.
Forex is both costly and time consuming, but with SHYFT, this can all change and now be done entirely online. No more need for paper transactions and clients are able to instantly buy foreign currency online! This wonderfully designed app means that its users can gain access to markets that were previously difficult to use. Without a foreign currency credit card, it can be very difficult to purchase items online, outside of Africa. Buying foreign currency and dealing with
Mobile money did not take off in the same way in South Africa as in other parts of the continent. Mainly due to a mature banking system, which already included most of the population. This service once again tries to bring South African’s economically online, and offers considerable value to it’s users.
Online shopping is becoming more and more popular across Africa. E-commerce is a topic that has been a regular feature across the blogs of Inventive Africa. Zulzi offers yet another personalised solution for people that are simply to busy (or lazy?) to head down to the shops to buy what they need. It is another example of an app or service that links someone who needs something, with someone that can offer it. A model made famous by Uber, but finding its way into many other industries.
Zulzi connects you with a personal shopper who will shop on their behalf and deliver the items within an hour. Whether it is lunch, groceries, medicine, even a cool drink to quench your thirst. In an environment where many are busy, and other simply need work, this is a perfect solution for both. It is similar to Domestly, who are previous winners, who offer house helps a platform to find work.
One of the stereotypes plaguing (for want of a better word) Africa is within the health sector. Many visitors are concerned about their health, and although there are some great health care solutions, sadly there are still some hospitals that do not live up to basic standards of health care. But health care technology is making changes and giving more people access to optimum health care. WatIf Health Portal is another example of delivering health care to ordinary people in South Africa.
The WatIf Health Portal enables community health workers to keep digital records and carts of their patients, where ever they see them. It also evaluates the data inputted by the health care worker and gives a diagnosis and treatment guidelines. This supports community health workers in tracking their patients records, providing diagnosis for noncommunicable diseases, and even helps write referral letter when a patient requires a specialist. As it is all updated online, there can be real time communications with specialists, treatment offered, including prescriptions.
Because it is all online and only requires a tablet, it can be run using a small solar panel and mobile internet connection. This means that it can be used in even the most remote areas, who can then receive specialist treatment, no matter where they are. This kind of health care service is bringing everyone in Africa closer to better health care treatment. It can help pregnant women, infants, sick elderly and everyone in between stay healthier!
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.