Technological innovations and development in the world today is at a rapid rate. African countries are not left behind on these changes through innovative youths in and out of the continent.
It is tempting to discount the possibility of executing disruptive innovations in Africa because of the many obstacles to innovation on the continent, including poor infrastructure, the difficulty of doing business, and the very low incomes on the continent. But when these obstacles are framed as opportunities, innovators can build truly disruptive companies.
These innovations transform the existing complicated and expensive products to simple to use, more affordable products, thereby making them more accessible to a larger set of people in society, such as M-PESA, the mobile money platform in Kenya. They serve as the engine of economic development in a society.
The technological innovations is now moving from financial sectors to agriculture, communication, health, education and oil and gas. In this piece, we have selected few innovative start-ups in Africa that are purely leveraging techonology to solve our continental problems that arises everyday.
Let us us look at Tala, a mobile credit app firm based in Santa Monica, United States, operates in Kenya and Tanzania, and is expanding into West Africa. Tala targets emerging markets and helps anyone with a mobile phone build a financial identity. Through its mobile app, Tala connects more than 10 000 data points per customer to create an instant credit score, deliver customised financial services and disburse loans directly to a customer’s mobile phone. Tala has already processed 275 000 loans in Kenya to a client base of 75 000 customers. The majority are small and micro-entrepreneurs who are in need of small loans to finance businesses, but are locked out by traditional banks, which deem them high-risk borrowers and demand collateral.
Mobile lending is developing rapidly in Kenya, with nearly a dozen major players in the market, including commercial bank platforms such as those of M-Shwari, M-Co-op Cash, KCB M-Pesa and Equitel. Oxygen Africa Limited, based in Zimbabwe, is an investment advisory company that assists foreign investors in Zimbabwe.
At mid 2013, Oxygen Africa partnered with Swiss-based Meeco Group, a renewable energy company, in a joint venture to establish Oursun Energy Zimbabwe. This independent power producer specialises in the development, building, owning and operating of utility-scale solar photovoltaic energy projects in Zimbabwe. Oxygen Africa has raised USD 7 million and is currently developing two 5 MW grid-connected solar plants in Zimbabwe.
Efulusi Africa, a Tanzanian based software development company that develops custom software with a focus on mobile finance apps and aggregation. Efulusi is credited for developing and deploying Tanzania’s first mobile banking platform.
In 2014, the founder of Efulusi established the AIM Group, a leading digital agency in Tanzania. AIM Group now has 25 employees and some of the country’s most prominent brands as clients.
Ghana based mPedigree is the global leader in the use of mobile and web technologies to secure products against fakes, counterfeiting and diversion. Its services enable consumers to authenticate products via unique PINs on smartphones or SMS. mPedigree has helped to launch a movement that is empowering corporations to protect their brands and governments to safeguard regulatory systems from the effects of fake and harmful products. It also enhances human security by protecting medicines and agricultural products such as pesticides and seeds.