Marlon Parker grew up in the Cape Flats township of Cape Town surrounded by increasing rates of unemployment, crime, gang violence and drug abuse. As the eldest in a single-parent household, Marlon was compelled to supplement the family's income and by age 8 he was selling candy and carrying grocery bags to earn extra cash.
At 19, while working at the airport, a serendipitous conversation with a coworker motivated him to study information technology (IT) and inspired in him new possibilities. He had never touched a computer before enrolling in university and by the time he completed his computer science degree, he had never owned one.
Fast Forward 15 years - Marlon is now the founder of Reconstructed Living Labs (RLabs), a social innovation-driven movement where dropouts, ex-convicts, gangsters, the homeless, former drug addicts and single mothers (a majority of whom are youth) are positioned to drive lasting social change.
RLabs, originally founded in Cape Flats, are now present in 21 countries and include physical and virtual hubs offering free IT and entrepreneurial courses, incubators for youth-led enterprises and youth cafés where young people can exchange good deeds for a RLabs-developed virtual currency.
A self-made inventor from northern Namibia has invented a satellite dish booster from scrap material to boost internet connectivity through radio signals for people in rural areas or in areas that have weak network signal.
Burials in Ghana are socially very important and tend to be large and expensive affairs, often putting a strain on household budgetsparticularly among the poor. The insurance market has however been slow to develop and very few products exist to help mitigate these costs. In this gap, Tigo saw an opportunity to deepen customer loyalty by offering an insurance product as a value added service.
Moselyn Muchena, a final year computer science student at the University of Zimbabwe created a mobile application offering easy access to services in the local catering industry, largely because of the huge number of female entrepreneurs in that sector.
A Nigerian postgraduate student of Creative Technology at Middlesex University, United Kingdom, has emerged first place winner in the British Council's Enterprise Challenge competition.
In this podcast, Alexander Betts, director of the Humanitarian Innovation Project (HIP) at the University of Oxford, United Kingdom, discusses why - and how - the global community should radically rethink humanitarian responses to refugees.
Female Condoms, Cows that Smell Like Humans, and Touch-Screen Patient Feedback Tools Among New Gates-Funded Projects
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation today announced funding for 55 projects from 12 countries through its Grand Challenges Explorations (GCE) initiative. GCE is a phased grant program that funds innovative ideas to tackle key global health and development problems, and provides additional resources for projects that demonstrate promise.
The government of Rwanda has acknowledged the need to incorporate indigenous knowledge into economic advancement strategies, and has done so through several programmes. One is Girinka - a success story and a model for other African governments and global organisations seeking ideas that will effectively address poverty at the grassroots level.
A vast majority of Nigeria's scientists are sceptical about using genetically modified mosquitoes to tackle malaria in the country, a new study suggests.
Africa is a prime location for this type of innovation and African entrepreneurs are taking advantage of the opportunity.
Sub-Saharan Africa is home to six of the 10 fastest growing economies in the world, and a majority of Africans will belong to the middle class within a generation. There is enormous potential for development to accelerate rapidly.
Situated at an intersection on Triumphal Boulevard, near the Democratic Republic of Congo's parliament in the capital, Kinshasa, the 2.5-metre traffic signal looks like an actual robot -- with arms, legs, a chest and a head. The breastplate pivots as the lights on it change from green to red. Then, it raises its arm to stop the traffic on one road, allowing vehicles from another to pass. The talking robot -- it speaks both French and the local Lingala language -- instructs: "Drivers, you can leave the road to pedestrians."
Tanzania: Reducing the Skills Gap in Tanzania to Ensure Local Populations Benefit from Future Investments in the Country
VSO has set up an innovative project with the Governments Vocational Education Training Authority (VETA) and BG Group, a major gas company. The project aims at raising Tanzanian standards for craftsmanship skills in line with internationally recognized levels in different areas that are relevant to the gas industry
Refugee enterprise in Uganda holds valuable lessons for global migration policy, says researcher Alexander Betts.
The humanitarian sector must lift barriers to user-led innovation by refugee communities if it is to meet the challenges of an ever-changing world, says a report presented at the Humanitarian Innovation Conference at the University of Oxford.
the U.S. non-profit, Physicians for Human Rights (PHR), believes a mobile app it's developing could help overcome obstacles of prosecuting sexual violence by taking information from the exam room to the court room.
A conservationist from Rwanda and an engineer from Cameroon have been recognised by the Rolex Award for Enterprise. More
Zanzibar is a top holiday destination scattered with luxury hotels, but most of the communities living there are poor. VSO is working with local communities to ensure that they too can reap the rewards of tourism. Training in business skills has helped one rural women's group take action and benefit from the islands tourism industry, by selling fattened crabs to top hotels.
The 2014 edition of Innovation Prize for Africa, organised by the Africa Innovation Foundation (AIF) held in Abuja recently served as a wake-up call on leaders across the continent to invest in technology, writes Raheem Akingbolu To position Africa as a technology destination that would attract global attention, leaders across the continents were recently advised to invest in human development to drive innovation.
Rising from a digital Africa conference last week, technology professionals who form bulk of the participants at the event advocated for structured global partnerships, favourable regulatory environment, constant engagement with policymakers and increased investment in technology training if Africa's economic growth prospects must be met.
Civil society in Malawi has formed the Civil Society Network on Climate Change, with a goal of building communities resilience to the impacts of climate change.
Urban planning experts are anxious that what they call fantasy designs for new African smart cities will serve the interests of African elites and foreign finance and construction companies rather than those of ordinary city dwellers across the continent.
Men work in an urban garden in Cape Town, South Africa: Developing viable, livable and resilient cities is increasingly seen as being of critical importance to giving opportunities to Africans to improve their lives.
Innovation will play an important role in Africa's development. Whether it is in growing the economy, strengthening healthcare systems or improving education. GE's goal is to foster innovation across the continent, and to put its technology into the hands of Africans everywhere.
Entries can be submitted at GE + Saudi Aramco ecomagination Challenge. The deadline is July 16, 2014, and winners will be announced in November 2014
GE ecomagination has partnered with Aramco Entrepreneurship to launch a global open innovation challenge to find innovative solutions that increase energy efficiency in seawater desalination. Four winners will be awarded a prize of $50,000 each and the possibility of further commercialization for the best ideas.
- Photo: GE Reports
- Photo: GE Reports
- Photo: GE Reports
South Africas Transnet Freight Rail moves every pound of coal and iron ore exported by the country, and close to a fifth of the nations freight. That makes the railroad a key player in South Africas economic revival.Full story
Things changed at the rural health clinic in Kimalamisale, Tanzania, when a trained nurse arrived with Vscan, a pocket-size ultrasound machine manufactured by GE. Her visit was part of a research study designed to test technological innovations to speed up efforts to meet MDG goals 4 and 5 in Africa.Full story
Jay Ireland, president and CEO of GE Africa announced that GE would supply Kenya's Kinangop Wind Farm with 38 wind turbines each capable of generating 1.6 megawatts of electricity. The turbines will stand on a windy plateau near Nairobi, some 200 miles north of Mt. Kilimanjaro in neighboring Tanzania.Full story
Affordable Digital X-ray Helps Ghana Outpatient Clinic Improve Efficiency
One year from installation of a Brivo DR-F digital Rad system, leaders of a private clinic in Ghana see medical technology helping residents' care improve as the nation's economy prospers.
Vscan and Venue 40 Utilized in An Evidence-Based African Study
In support of an evidence-based study sponsored by the Ifakara Health Institute, GE Healthcare in 2012 assisted in the product training of 14 Tanzanian healthcare professionals at the Kisarawe District Hospital.
Clean Drinking Water | Desalination Technology | Water Supply...
Discover how GE is helping provide clean drinking water to 1.5 million people in Africa with desalination technology. GE is committed to global health issues.
GE is committed to maternal infant health in Africa and working to make a difference in the lives of mothers and children.
GE's sponsorship of Maker Faire Africa centers on encouraging local innovation to help solve some of Africa's toughest challenges.
"In Uganda they can get their hands on salt, but not much more," says Steve Froelicher, an engineer at GE Appliances in Louisville who helped design the system.
Three Nigerian And Three Kenyan Companies Are Winners of the Inaugural GE USADF Off-Grid Energy Challenge
Three Kenyan and three Nigerian companies have emerged winners of the inaugural Africa GE-USADF Off-Grid Energy Challenge. The winners were announced at a grand gala event held in Lagos, Nigeria on 21st November. 2013. Each will receive grants of up to $ 100,000 to support their initiatives.
Sasol and General Electric Water division have together developed new water technology that will clean waste water, while also providing biogas as a by-product for power generation.
Dar es Salaam, Tanzania: GE Africa Healthymagination has donated handheld ultrasound devices and related equipment worth $87 000 USD (140 940 000 TZS) to the Kisarawe District Hospital in Kisarawe, in the Pwani District of Tanzania, providing pregnant women in rural areas with access to free ultrasound services.
Telecom operators in Africa and elsewhere will soon start powering cell phone towers with GE's next-generation Durathon batteries. The low-maintenance batteries last twice as long as ordinary lead-acid batteries and can work for 20 years. They are also non-toxic and fully recyclable.
Jay Ireland, president and CEO of GE Africa announced that GE would supply Kenya's Kinangop Wind Farm with 38 wind turbines each capable of generating 1.6 megawatts of electricity. The turbines will stand on a windy plateau near Nairobi, some 200 miles north of Mt. Kilimanjaro in neighboring Tanzania.
African nations fighting outbreaks of Ebola hemorrhagic fever are getting help from U.S. disease detectives and a new software tool to quickly find people exposed to the deadly virus. Read more»
Today, the DA Youth are officially launching DemocraCITY. DemocraCITY is a Mxit-specific strategy game. DemocraCITY is essentially a hybrid between SimCity and Tamagotchi. Read more»
Firms in Kenya are using secrecy instead of patents to protect their valuable ideas and innovations, according to preliminary results from a World Bank study, and this is hampering collaboration and creativity in the country. Read more»
With strong partnerships from both public and private sectors as well as collaboration from all sectors of the Nigerian society, the General Manager, Microsoft Nigeria, Kabelo Makwane, at the weekend said that technology innovation was essential requisites for the country to realize vision 20:2020. Read more»
As the country strives to reduce the cost of health care while maintaining quality and safety of services, efforts are underway to have guidelines that promote health workers to be innovative. Read more»
The Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation aims to stimulate, celebrate and reward innovation and entrepreneurship in sub-Saharan Africa. Read more»
Around the world, female entrepreneurs are empowering other women to generate sustainable income while addressing the worlds most pressing challenges. The Ghana Bamboo Bikes Initiative does it one high-quality bicycle at a time. Read more»
A patch that disrupts a mosquito's sensory ability, thus making people "invisible" may soon undergo field trials in Uganda. The Kite Patch is a small sticker for clothes that works by disrupting mosquitoes' ability to sense exhaled carbon dioxide (CO2) and human odour. Read more»
Persian Gulf governments could use Google's free global satellite imaging program to better monitor and control fishing in their waters. Read more»
When it came to keeping lions at bay, an old-fashioned scarecrow just wasn't up to the job. So a 13-year-old Maasai cattle herder combined basic technology with teenage ingenuity to find another way, writes The Guardian. Read more»
Microsoft under the 4Afrika initiative will offer financial support to five African start-ups in an effort to empower the next generation of developers and entrepreneurs in the continent. Read more»
Science and technology could drive the continent's future development, but creating the right environments and keeping Africa's youngest and brightest will be key. Read more»
GLOBACOM emerged the biggest winner at the just-ended Beacon of ICT Awards. At the event held at the t Eko Hotel and Suites, Victoria Island in Lagos, Globacom has been voted the best telecommunications company in the country, winning three awards. Read more»
Scientists in a United Nations-backed collaborative have cracked the genetic code of the bloodsucking tsetse fly in a breakthrough that brings new hope to the fight against one of the most devastating livestock diseases spread by the insect. Read more»
The growth of iHub represents how information and communication technology (ICT) in Kenya has advanced over the past 15 years. Read more»
Eneza Education has been declared this year's winners of the 2014 ICT Innovation awards at the Connected Kenya summit. Read more»
Bankole Cardoso on His Lagos Taxi App, "Easy Taxi"
Although Ashton is struggling from the same challenges facing everyone else in business in Zimbabwe, his case is different from the thousands of other small to medium scale farmers. In terms of revenue generation, his farm makes more sales in two months than what most rural and resettled new farmers make in a whole year. Read more»
Two Kenyans - Daniel Gitau Thairu of Domestic Waste Biogas System and Joshua Okello of WinSenga - have emerged among 10 finalists in the 2014 edition of the Innovation Prize for Africa organized by the African Innovation Foundation (AIF). Read more»
The Lagos State Ministry of Science and Technology in conjunction with PRI Project Development has put together a two-day innovation workshop for members of the private and public sectors in order to fast-track the government's long-term goals of setting up an innovation agency. The agency will create an ecosystem and infrastructure aimed at turning the state into a West African Innovative Hub. Read more»
Creation of a high-tech city outside Nairobi, which stalled in recent months, could be a 'game changer' that positions Kenya as the Africa's preferred ICT destination. Pressure to move the Konza project forward is coming from both the private sector and politicians representing the area. Read more»
Kenya's mobile network operator Safaricom has been rated number 9 in innovation globally by Fast Company magazine due to its role in bridging the healthcare gap with telecoms services. Read more»
A small army of landmine-detecting rats is to be redeployed in Mozambique in a push to meet a deadline to have the country declared free of mines this year. Read more»
The Electronic pay slip (e-pay slips) system introduced by the Controller and Accountant Generals' Department for public sector workers on the mechanised payroll has received a lot of patronage from the public. Read more»
Small-scale technology has once again proved its worth for women. Two female 'solar engineers' have been boosting the development of their community by installing solar panels in a Cameroon village far from the national electricity grid. Read more»
The phrases "impact sourcing" and "business process outsourcing"- or BPO - are just jargon to most people. But they describe a model of doing business that advocates say could provide 780,000 new jobs in the next two years - many to Africa's "youth bulge" of unemployed young people - by providing training, on-the-job experience and career opportunities. AllAfrica examines the potential of digital jobs. Read more»
Interview: 'Maker Faire' Co-Founder on Bolstering Innovation in Africa
When David Otieno graduated from the Kenya Institute of Management five years ago he joined the estimated 50,000 other new graduates searching for employment. But luck was never on his side - so he made his own. Otieno is one of a growing number of youths in Kenya and other African countries who are using business process outsourcing as a means of employment. Read more»
Over the past five years, the Rockefeller Foundation has helped to build an impact investing industry where investors can deploy capital in pursuit of deliberate social and environmental goals as well as financial return. While the Impact Investing sector has gained traction and total impact capital has grown substantially, impact investors observe there are too few investable impact enterprises. Read more»
To enable 100 cities to better address the increasing shocks and stresses of the 21st century, The Rockefeller Foundation has launched the 100 Resilient Cities Centennial Challenge. Read more»
Half of the world's people live in cities. By 2050, that number is expected to grow to 75 percent - but few African cities are positioned to rise to the coming challenges. Read more»
While governments have been key supporters of private-sector innovation, the profits do not trickle back into public budgets, a policy expert says. National innovation-led growth has depended on the state's involvement in shaping markets and making initial high-risk investments in new technologies ahead of the private sector. Read more»
Large-scale plantations in coastal deserts could provide an affordable alternative to carbon capture technology as well as reduce desert temperatures, increase rainfall, and revitalise soil, a study shows. Planting trees in coastal deserts could capture carbon dioxide, reduce harsh desert temperatures, boost rainfall, revitalise soils and produce cheap biofuels. Read more»
Charity Mutegi, a 38-year-old agricultural scientist from Kenya, will receive an international award that recognizes young researchers for innovation in food security. Mutegi will be presented with the award October 16, World Food Day, in Des Moines, Iowa, as part of the 2013 Borlaug Dialogue international symposium. Read more»
Nigeria's agriculture ministry has moved forward with a controversial plan to provide the country's farmers with cellphones. These phones will be used for vouchers to purchase seed and fertilizer, and it is hoped that the new system will help diminish corruption in the agriculture sector. Read more»
A free online mapping system to track insecticide resistance in malaria-causing mosquitoes identifies places in more than 50 malaria-endemic countries where mosquitoes have become resistant to the insecticides used in bed nets and indoor sprays. Read more»
Grow Africa is a partnership of the African Union Commission, Nepad and World Economic Forum that seeks to accelerate private-sector investment for sustainable growth in African agriculture. Read more»
The Rockefeller Foundation, which funds AllAfrica reports on innovation for development, has promoted resilience and equitable growth for all people for 100 years - supporting innovative thinkers and actors to move from ideas to impact. In today's interconnected world, the Rockefeller Foundation has a unique ability to address emerging challenges, to shape agendas and to inform decision-making.
- South Africa: SA Aims to Produce 100 000 PHDs By 2030(SAnews.gov.za)
- Africa: Flying Cars Pitched As Tools for Humanitarian Work(SciDev.Net)
- South Africa: From Dropouts to Innovators: How RLabs Invests in Young "Problem Experts" to Beat Crime & Unemployment(Ashoka)
- Africa: Innovating for Refugees(IRIN)
- Africa: GSK Announces EU Regulatory Submission for Malaria Vaccine Candidate RTS,S(GlaxoSmithKline Inc)
- Namibia: Teen Turns Scrap Into Satellite Booster(New Era)
- Africa: Highlights From Humanitarian Innovation Conference(SciDev.Net)
- Africa: Equipping Girls With Science to Drive Change(SciDev.Net)
- Africa: Call to Bring Refugee Innovation into Humanitarian Work(SciDev.Net)
- Africa: Moms Go Digital for Better Healthcare(VOA)
- Angola: Farming Fair in Huila Brings Innovation in Technologies(ANGOP)
- Africa: African Universities Challenged to Adapt to Technological Innovations and Leverage Agricultural Transformation(African Union)
- Ghana: Understanding Customers for Financial Innovation in Ghana(CGAP)
- Ghana: Freemium: Spawning An Insurance Market In Ghana(CGAP)
- Ghana: Can Phones Drive Insurance Markets? Initial Results From Ghana(CGAP)
- Nigeria: Nigeria Ranks Low in Global Innovation Index(Vanguard)
- Kenya: Kenya to Pilot Community-Wide Malaria Treatments(IRIN)
- Africa: Cheap Nasal Spray May Save Snakebite Victims(SciDev.Net)
- Mozambique: Movitel Wins Innovation Award(AIM)
- Gambia: Songhai Centre to Extend to Gambia - Director Meets Gambian Leader(Daily Observer)
- Africa: Hi-Tech System Brings Lightning-Quick Storm Warnings(AlertNet)
- Angola: National Science and Innovation Award to Encourage Research, New Works(ANGOP)
- Africa: Focus on Research for Development, not Academic Rankings(SciDev.Net)
- Africa: Local Communities 'Sidelined' in Development Research(SciDev.Net)
- Zimbabwe: Women Venture Into Technological Innovation(IPS)
- Africa: Calls for Change in Africa's Higher Education(SciDev.Net)
- Africa: Free Software to Assist Indigenous Access to Computers(SciDev.Net)
- Africa: Teach Entrepreneurship to Cut Graduate Unemployment(SciDev.Net)
- Africa: How to Make a Cheap Braille e-Reader(SciDev.Net)
- South Africa: Govt Invests More in Research, Innovation(SAnews.gov.za)
- Africa: Nurturing Innovative IT Research in Africa(SciDev.Net)
- Tanzania: Reducing the Skills Gap in Tanzania to Ensure Local Populations Benefit from Future Investments in the Country(VSO)
AllAfrica publishes around 2,000 reports a day from more than 130 news organizations and over 200 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.