Africa’s Innovation Generation: Dynamos and Mobile Wiz Kids

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Leapfrogging PCs, Africa’s burgeoning generation of mobile tech-savvy entrepreneurs is bursting with ideas and practical inventions, from African apps for smart phones to software solutions that address uniquely local challenges.

In this installment of Mobile Message, Kenya-based Erik Hersman, a co-founder of Ushahidi, a free and open source platform for crowdsourcing information and visualizing data, writes about iHub (Innovation Hub), a project that brings together Nairobi’s entrepreneurs, hackers, designers and investors. And he reflects on how Africa is brimming with ideas and inventions that are making real technology progress.

Mobile Message is a series of blog posts about how mobile phones are being used throughout the world to improve, enrich, and empower billions of lives.

A young Kenyan man invents a mobile-phone-triggered 11-phase home alarm system. A Ghanaian farmer studies medical dispensers and invents a new seed-planting tool. A Kenyan woman comes up with a way to recycle old plastic and trash into stylish handbags. A Ugandan biochemistry engineer hand-builds a solar-powered LED traffic light. A South African inventor creates a new water-saving toilet cistern.

Whether walking through the bustling, unofficial, industrial areas of Nairobi, or traveling through back road villages in rural Uganda, it’s always a welcome surprise to find innovation taking place all around you.

Source: National Geographic (link opens in a new window)