4 Tech Innovations Spurring Social Development In Africa

Technology can help improve efficiency and provide alternative methods to increase accessibility to services and resources. This can come in the form of innovations like solar energy and remote health services, which help bridge social, political, and economic gaps. For this reason, developing a nation’s technological capabilities can be the key to addressing society’s most pressing concerns.

Today, Africa has the fastest-growing tech startup ecosystem in the world. The reach of venture capital funding has risen to 29 countries in the region, from 26 in 2020. This serves as a promising statistic that provides an optimistic outlook on the development of the tech industry in the continent. For this reason, there are broader opportunities for spurring social development through tech innovations.

Here are some innovations that are currently making massive changes:

Technology-powered teaching methods

Technology is an integral conduit for education, especially when it comes to providing up-to-date and universal learning methods. Bridge International Academies’ educational technology model is accomplishing this across greater Africa and parts of India. The continent-wide school network strives to provide aid to the most underserved communities, seeking to increase accessibility by providing digital teaching tools for teachers to use in its classrooms, such as tablets, digital learning guides, and much more.

As experts in using technology-powered teaching methods, Bridge International has shown how low-cost education can help children achieve some of the highest learning gains ever measured in Africa. Children studying at Bridge schools have received 53% better grades, as exemplified in a study led by Nobel Prize-winning economist Professor Michael Kremer.

Bicycle dynamo mobile phone charger

Although telecommunications plays a massive role in today’s fast-paced world, many in Uganda still have to travel to charge their phones. This obstacle is what challenged Ugandan graduate Elliot Mwebaze to utilize dynamos — devices that allow bikes to produce light — for converting rotational energy into electrical energy.

This is a valuable contribution to improving efficiency in a country where rural populations often use bikes as a mode of transport. This alternative energy source allows Ugandans to use their travel time to gain access to power sources.

Reusable nanomasks

At the height of a global health crisis, countries around the world saw an increase in waste due to disposable face masks that had a tendency to cause allergic reactions and had to be thrown away due to acquiring harmful bacteria. Kenyan scientist and physician Dr. Joseph Nderitu was able to tackle both the environmental and medical aspects of this issue, with his reusable antimicrobial nanomasks. Not only did they filter harmful microbes — they killed them, too. They also reduced allergies that affected the skin and caused asthma, which many medical professionals and civilians alike were exposed to with regular masks.

Low-cost bio-waste processing

In Côte d’Ivoire, bio-waste accounts for 2 to 5 times the amount of agricultural produce sold, amounting to 30 million tons of waste thrown away every year. This is why Noel N’guessan came up with Kubeko, the low-cost equipment used for processing bio-waste for which he won the Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation.

With around 27 million in the agriculture sector, most of whom are small-scale farmers, this innovation can be the key to greater income. The machine allows farmers to process organic waste from post-harvest leftovers. This allows them to create their own organic fertilizers instead of having to buy them. Both Kubeko products, the Kubeko composter and Kubeko biogas system, produce fertilizers, with the latter producing cooking gas.

Technology could be the solution to many of the world’s most urgent issues. Here at Ghana News, we believe that being empowered to think innovatively and create freely is the key to improving countless lives. These African technological innovations exemplify why we must support these efforts.