African Youths Filling Gaps in Innovation

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If Africa is enjoying anything today, it is the benefits that accrue from its youthful population.

The continent is gradually becoming home to young innovators who engage in different technological creations to find solutions to the everyday challenges faced by the people and also advance the cause of overall development on the continent.

Across the various cities in Africa, the youths are driving some of the most innovative, exciting, and important changes geared toward filling existing gaps in various sectors and aspects of life.

These young ones whose activities cut across various fields have also actively through these innovations taken charge of their lives and empowered themselves and many others.
Some of these innovative youths will be featured in this article.

One of the many young ones doing exploits on the continent in terms of innovation is Alain Nteff.

Nteff is Co-founder and Director at GiftedMom which is Central Africa’s first mobile health platform founded with a mission to make health information available as well as improve the health of pregnant women, new mothers, and their children.

GiftedMom was founded to close the gaps in health care in Cameroon. It uses its free SMS services to send messages as reminders directly to subscribers on the importance of prenatal care and breastfeeding.

Nteff attended Yaoundé’s Ecole Polytechnique where he studied computer science. His sojourn into the innovative world started when in 2012, as a 20-year-old engineering student, Nteff visited a rural Cameroon hospital, where several babies had lost their lives due to complications from illnesses such as syphilis, chlamydia, and malaria.

For him, the deaths were avoidable, hence he felt the need to bridge that gap by taking urgent action.

The GiftedMom platform tracks vaccinations for children and also makes immunization schedules available to their guardians.

Neff has influenced over 500,000 mothers in Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Mauritania, and Nigeria through various digital channels.

He is a recipient of many awards and recognition including the Queen of England’s Young Leaders Award and the World Economic Forum recognition as a Global shaper.

Still in the health sector is 27 years old Nigerian medical doctor, Imodoye Abioro, founder of Healthbotics Limited who innovated Mediverse, an electronic medical records system that allows health workers to input and retrieve patient records with their voice, with or without internet access on every device.

Mediverse is Africa’s first AI-enabled cloud Electronic Health Records system built on a Blockchain.

Coupled with his being a medical doctor, Abioro is also a self-taught IBM Cloud software developer as well as an advocate for positive social change in pursuit of achieving SDGs 1, 2 and 3 in sub-Saharan Africa.

Aside from Mediverse, he co-created Bimi Online – Africa’s first indigenous language health information aggregator, Lend an Arm – Africa’s first smart blood bank, Future Food Project – Nigeria’s first “future of protein” venture leveraging edible insects to combat childhood Malnutrition.

Mediverse and Lend an Arm earned Abioro several awards in 2020, including the AI for development Challenge, the Young Innovator Award at the World Summit Awards, and the African App Launchpad Cup.

In 2021, he was one of the winners of the African Young Innovator Award for Health.
He and his team were one of the top 30 finalists of the WHO Africa Innovation Challenge; semi-finalists at the recent 2021 Nigerian Drone Business Competition and the only two-time semi-finalist innovation in the history of the CISCO Global Problem Solver Challenge.

Another young innovator whose efforts in creativity cannot go unnoticed is a Nigerian tech genius, Fara Ashiru Jituboh with over 20 programming languages to her name.

Her brainchild, Okra, is a Nigerian-based fintech platform that enables secure, real-time financial information exchange between customers, applications, and banks.

Okra is currently doing well and has partnerships with all Nigerian banks as well as top companies such as Access Bank, Aella, Interswitch, and Ulesson among its over 100 partners.

Jituboh co-founded the start-up with David Peterside in 2020 after returning to Nigeria from the US and noticed that the apps she used to manage her funds from her mobile devices while in the US were inactive due to a lack of connection to any Nigerian bank.

There and then seeing the market gap, she decided to create a similar app to connect to her bank account, giving birth to Okra.

Before her venturing into okra, Fara had prior experience building and scaling products in emerging markets and venture-backed start-ups having worked with organizations like Canva, Techhustle, Sana Benefits, and Dorsata.

Fara was also a Co-Founder of Shixels Studios where she led the design and development of core technology for multiple clients including Airtel, AXA Mansard, RenMoney, MTech, Sanofi Pharmaceuticals, and Nestoil.

Fara has worked with multiple companies like JP Morgan Chase, Fidelity Investments, and Daimler Mercedes Benz.

She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University in Greensboro, North Carolina.

In East Africa, among others, we have Kenyan entrepreneur, Jihan Abass who is the founder and CEO of Lami Insurance Technology, an insurance technology company based in Nairobi, Kenya, and Griffin Insurance, a digital vehicle insurance company.

According to Abbas, Lami was founded to increase Africa’s low insurance coverage. In her words “a lot of the time, people are relying on single sources of income, but they’re not insuring those sources of income so, if one thing goes wrong, they lose everything.”

To fill the void, she started Lami as an application programming interface that enables businesses to offer products such as vehicle and health insurance to customers.

Before the commencement of Lami and Griffin in 2018, Abass worked as a sugar trader in the City of London, trading on the New York and London sugar markets. Abbas has an MBA from the University of Oxford and an undergraduate degree in Finance from CASS Business School, London.

In the agricultural sector, young Ivorien techie, Aboubacar Karim, has also created a niche for himself through his start-up- Investiv, which is focused on implementing technological innovations in agriculture.

The Agricultural Economics graduate from the University of Laval, Canada, launched Investiv in his home country in 2018.

Investiv offers farmers services such as; management of crop development, provision of pesticides, access to fertilizers, conducting soil quality tests, and agricultural automation.

In 2020, Karim was among the top ten finalists at the Africa Business Heroes while Investiv was recognized as one of the promising African start-ups by the Ivorian Business Confederation in 2018.

One thing that stands for Karim’s Investiv is the usage of drones and AI-powered systems to improve crops.

The company also uses drones to supply farmers with equipment needed to protect soil quality and plant health.

There are so many others in other sectors like banking, education, engineering, and others who are also making waves and affecting lives positively through their innovations.

Africa no doubt is blessed to have such a young population who are out to change the narrative and bring about changes in their society.

While the world continues to get better through new inventions and innovations, one certain thing is that Africa can no longer be left behind rather it is becoming a continent with more potential to watch out for.

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