The usage of the internet in many parts of the world, is regarded as a luxury, rather than a necessity and with the United Nations, declaring access to the internet as a basic human right, the expectation is that internet access should be easily available to all, as it is a factor that drives innovation.
Unfortunately, many countries on the African continent lack internet facilities, let alone technology to drive effective innovation and this has thrown a cog in the wheel of progress on the continent when it comes to innovative technology.
In recent times, revolutionary minds on the continent have come up with initiatives designed to make technology more accessible.
We have come up with a list of five tech entrepreneurs in Africa and how they are bridging the digital gap, through the invention of applications and devices.
Apps Fight Food Shortage
In 2008, when Zimbabwe experienced a food shortage, Tatenda Ndambakuwa came up with an initiative to curb food shortage in the country. She founded Shiri, a web application Startup that designs information and resources on agriculture for farmers on the continent.
With this app, farmers can manage their food production system that minimizes the chances of food shortage. The Shiri team intends growing the farming ecosystem network of farmers in Africa.
The challenge of malaria still persists in the tropics, which has not left out Africa from the mix. In Uganda, a young Brian Gitta is set on the path of eradicating the endemic that has been ravaging the tropical African population.
As Malaria has affected about 90% of the population, Brian was not left out, as he was also attacked by the deadly disease. After traditional blood testing failed to diagnose the ailment, he set himself on the path of inventing a device that could diagnose malaria without drawing blood.
Brian bagged the Africa Prize for innovation in Engineering after he invented Matibabu, a malaria testing device that detects the ailment without drawing blood. Brian hopes that the device would spread across Africa.
In most parts of Africa, the education of the girl child is a serious challenge, let alone giving them the opportunity to express themselves in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM).
Maneo Mapharisa, Founder of Girls Coding Academy, is changing the narrative, by encouraging a pursuit in these fields, for young girls in South Africa. With access to technology, these girls will have the opportunity to increase the participation of the female gender in the field.
This participation, in return, is a potential playground for these girls to contribute their quota to the economic development of the country.
Trash to Tech Treasure
An estimated 500, 000 tons of e-waste is generated in Togo annually, but this challenge threw up an innovative creation. Ousia Foli-Bebe, in his late 20s, has turned this e-waste into 3D printers and spider robots.
Ecotec Lab, the Startup, is bringing about an electronic revolution to the country. Along the way, jobs are created, as a rise in demand for technology is an opening market in the country, for people interested in getting refurbished electronics.
Charles Ofori Antipem, Founder of Dext Technology, is making available, electrical devices for increased participation in experiments, by students in secondary schools.
Antipem is teaching these students with electronic devices, as compared to how they are taught traditionally, using chalk and blackboards.
With these experimentations, young students in Ghana and the neighboring countries are encouraged to imbibe the culture of invention, especially, in the electrical/electronic field.
In the evolution of technology on the globe, Startups and tech entrepreneurs in Africa should be given the enabling environment, to explore all possible ways to develop the potentials of innovation on the continent.