Friday, December 11, 2020
Could Africa be the continent of the future? Youth-driven innovation is booming despite the many structural challenges most African countries face. More than half of the population is young and committed to innovate in agriculture, health, finance, inclusive banking and clean energy, to name just a few industries. It only makes sense to develop partnerships with world regions that display a proven track record in innovation and entrepreneurship—such as Silicon Valley—to grow a social entrepreneur network whose sole ambition is changing the world. In turn (and with inspiration from determined African entrepreneurs) innovation practices can progress on both sides. In a world where we’re all wondering what the post-COVID future will look like, African resilience could very well shake things up.
No one can change the world trapped inside a bubble—or stuck in a single, local environment. Innovation, positive change, as well as sustainable and social entrepreneurship have always been RealChange’s core business. And despite strong roots in Silicon Valley, the company is still looking to other major global hubs.
Africa is one of them and there are many lessons to learn from entrepreneurs who develop innovative ideas, new practices and who have no shortage of hope and ambition. Their unfailing force inspires hope and commands respect on the other side of the Atlantic.
This is why RealChange is now offering a Virtual Learning Expedition (VLEX) to bring together experienced award-winning African social innovators and the best of Silicon Valley. The goal is to showcase the Change Makers United project and bridge the two continents to identify potential mentors and investors ready to boost African social innovation. In turn, participating entrepreneurs will share great lessons of resilience and leadership to create “Africa 2.0,” a continent more committed than ever to fight and reduce inequalities, promote sustainable development and implement inclusive innovations for local communities.
A myriad of successful start-ups and innovative projects have been making headlines lately. This is Africa 2.0. Check out just four of the many projects to watch below:
JokkoSanté (Senegal): This healthcare financing platform aims to reduce inequalities in access to medication. The issue is twofold: medication remains the biggest healthcare expense for Senegalese people, and there is no system to connect people with donations made by benefactors, associations, NGOs and companies for optimization and traceability. With the JokkoSanté mobile app, users can buy medication using points they’ve purchased or accumulated by donating unused drugs, or through point transfers between members. Recipients receive a message with the name of the organization that financed the purchase of medicine, which helps promote the organization too.
Aerobotics (South Africa): This start-up founded by young engineers provides a solution to increase crop yields. On their online platform, Aerobotics aggregates detailed crop analysis and soil conditions gathered through satellites and drone imaging. Precious data is then enhanced and deciphered with the help of an artificial intelligence system to identify risk areas and solve problems—pests and crop diseases, for instance—before they even develop. The agritech start-up even received an award at VivaTech 2019.
Powerhive (Kenya): This tech venture develops clean energy solutions through access to mini-grid electricity by connecting to existing public services in African countries. This way, rural and remote communities can count on productive, affordable and reliable mini power grids to finance and build a local and sustainable economy.
Ezzayra (Tunisia): This agritech start-up offers innovative crop management solutions. With sensors placed in irrigation pipes, soil, and a wireless box connected to Ezzayra’s software, farmers can optimize their crops and reduce water consumption costs in a country ranked among the most at risk of water crisis.
Africa is a land of innovation worth exploring. And the more we build bridges between our two continents, the more we can learn from each other to build a better, more open, collaborative, inclusive and greener world.
For more information, check out Change Makers United – Let’s re-imagine a new Africa.