Africa the new frontier hub of technology

Africa the new frontier hub of technology

During the 8th African Union Summit which took place in Addis Ababa on
29 and 30 January 2007, the Heads of State and Government decided to
launch a competition for the selection of a new flag for the Union.
They prescribed a green background for the flag symbolising hope of
Africa and stars to represent Member States.An invention involves an
inventive step if,when compared with what is already known, it would
not be obvious to someone with a good knowledge and experience of the
subject.Yes ,Africa used to be called the dark continent but now the
light is shifting towards Africa.

Last year,Kenyan Anthony Mutua’s invented ‘shoe charger for mobile
phones caught the attention of the world. Seeking to tackle the low
battery problem that all cellphone users face, Kenya-based Mutua, the
founder of Hatua Technologies, set out to create a cheap solution for
this problem.He came up with the idea of charging phones using
specially designed shoes with microchips that produce electricity
while walking.He believes his innovation doesn’t only solve low
battery cellphone users face, but also contributes towards reducing
environmental pollution.In 2012 three teenage girls in Nigeria have
stunned the world by launching an indigenous gadget which produces
live electricity using human urine.This came when teenager Adebola
Duro-Aina read a story online in July 2012 about nine members of a
family dying from a generator’s carbon monoxide fumes, she says she
thought about what she could do to provide a safer alternative source
of energy.When the next academic year began in September 2012, Adebola
enlisted three friends – Oluwatoyin Faleke, Eniola Bello and Abiola
Akindele, all students between 14 and 15 years old in her science
class – to help her find a solution to the problem.The team decided to
design a generator that ran off an alternative fuel that wouldn’t harm
users, and so began the tale of how four teenage girls in Nigeria
invented a urine-powered generator to create better – and safer –
access to electricity.It is believed one liter of urine can power the
generator for six hours..Kwadwo Safo was born in 1948. He is a
Ghanaian inventor and the father of Ghana’s first home made cars. In
1971, hefounded the Kristo Asafo Church which has since then
fundamentally contributed in developing and promoting science and
technology of local origin in Ghana.In 1998, he manufactured the
Kantanka Saloon
car. In 2006, the Kantanka Onantefo I (4×4) was manufactured and an
improved model was produced in June 2007 called Kantanka Onantefo II
(4×4). On December 30, 2007, the Kantanka Obrempon (a black
4x4limousine), which is 26 meters long, and a yellow excavator with
caterpillar tracks were exhibited as well.Richard Turere is a young Maasai man who lives in the wilderness of the Kenya savanna, on the edge of a national park full
of rhino, giraffe, buffalo and lions. Since he was 9, Richard has held
the honored chore of tending his father’s cattle; in his free time, he
tinkered with electrical gadgets. After dismantling the few
household appliances, Richard taught himself how to fix them, and then
he started inventing. He fit his parents’ home with fans made from car
parts and other junkyard components harvested from junkyards, then
built other inventions for his neighbors.Now 13, he is renowned for
inventing “lion lights,” a fence made of basic pieces (solar charging
cells, flashlight parts), which quickly and effectively scares lions
away from his father’s cattle. When finding a steady source of potable
water is challenge enough in the developing world, who has the time —
or water — to take a shower? One South African student may have the
answer with his unique, water-less shower gel — that he invented on
his dumb phone. DryBath, as the gel is called, was developed by
22-year-old university student Ludwick Marishane in response to the
rankness of a friend. Rubbed onto the skin, like Purell, the gel kills
bacteria, moisturises the skin and, unlike Dettol, leaves a fresh
scent, according to Marishane’s company website, Headboy Industries.
One packet — priced at $US0.50 for rural communities, $US1.50 for
corporate types — is enough to wash the entire body and kill 99.9 per
cent of germs, which should cut down on the disease rate in rural
areas onset by by poor hygiene. Marishane also sees the technology
being adopted by militaries, hotels, and even airlines.What’s really
amazing is that Marishane brought the product to market using only his
feature phone. From the initial research to building his business plan
to developing the patented blend of biocide, bioflavonoids and
moisturisers, he did it all without a computer.The concept of ecocash
, Econet literally went to Kenya, lifted up the M-PESA concept as is
and came to implement it in Zimbabwe. They didn’t have to go through
the same learning experiences that Safaricom, who broke the new mobile
money ground, had to go through. And it wasn’t just Kenya that had
implemented mobile money transfer; there were a number of case studies
to learn from on the continent as well.Turning an idea into software
with customers is something else entirely. The idea of e-cash transfer
on mobile phones is far older than 2003. It was being discussed on the
e-gold list back in 1998. MPESA was the first implementation of that
idea – on phones.Nyagaka Anyona Ouko, a Kenyan from Nairobi, claims he
is the innovator of M-Pesa and claims that Vodafone and its
representatives stole the idea of Mobile Cash Transfer from him.There
are also believes that it is British Paul Makin, former M-Pesa
architect and professional in the UK banking came up with the concept
and architecture.On the question of why they settled on the name
M-Pesa, perhaps the only Kenyan aspect of the innovation, Makin said:
“We talked as a team in a Nairobi bar. Came up with it, asked the
batman (sic). He liked it, so it stuck.” If you have an idea, spend
your energy on building it, not patenting it. Patents are nearly

l encourage African governments and corporate firms to set up
Innovation Hubs.We should not procastinate and wait for Foreign
Institutions to establish their own innovation hubs .There expertise
and input is highly recommended yet this should take place when we
have established our own platforms at grassroots levels. lam trying to
emphasize that we should have passion on this before helpers from
International community comes in with there expertise and
inputs.Royal Philips has its Africa Innovation Hub in Nairobi, Kenya,
which underlines the company’s commitment to invest in Africa. The
Philips Africa Innovation Hub will work both on the creation of new
inventions, as well as bringing these inventions to the market.The
Philips Africa Innovation Hub will be located at the Philips East
African Headquarters in Nairobi, where African talents and
international researchers will operate on the concept of “open
innovation” and will work in close collaboration with the R&D
ecosystem of Kenya and Africa. Philips is in discussions with local
organizations and Universities on R&D collaborations to co-create
meaningful solutions for Africa.In technology, talent is the
electricity that powers the whole system. Tech Hubs act as a space
that allow talented people, usually young, or at least the young at
heart, to come together and develop technology based products and
services. So these people can be programmers, designers, scientists or
anyone with a product or business idea that is the next big thing.
Ultimately it’s about talent. Probably the most successful hub or
program it the one run by MEST in Ghana (Meltwater Entrepreneurial
School of Technology) that has given rise to products such as Saya
Mobile and Dropify that have gained some traction in the market place.
Saya Mobile is a messaging app similar to MXit/Whatsapp. A Techcrunch
post indicates that Saya Mobile had 400,000 users.

Lets continue thinking out of the box and come up with our own
innovations as Africans.lam proud of being an African.Long live
Africa.May God Bless Africa and give our leaders in Africa wisdom so
Africa can go to greater heights.

Enos Denhere is a motivational writer and champion of betterment of humanity.He can be invited to attend business and public management forums .


call +263773894975


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