The majority of primary school children in Papua New Guinea (PNG) are unable to read English, a fact that’s exacerbated by limited access to literacy resources in schools across the country. In partnership with the PNG Department of Education, VSO successfully trialled a programme to see if daily mobile phone text message stories could improve English teaching and ultimately, children’s reading.

Designing Improved Cookstoves for Tanzanians

Improved cookstove designs reduce the use of firewood in rural communities, countering deforestation, soil erosion and food insecurity. They also ensure cleaner combustion than in traditional open-fire cooking, reducing harmful indoor pollution.

Scientists Set Their Sights On Electricity From Silk Cocoons

Researchers in India say they have developed a prototype of an energy-harvesting device from the cocoons of a domesticated species of silk moth. This could aid efforts to bring power to other parts of the world including Africa.

Solar Power, Origami-Style

Researchers say origami could be useful one day in deploying space solar power.

Konza, City of Dreams

The idea was to build a city from scratch: an information and communication technology [ICT] ecosystem…an African version of Silicon Valley. What happened?

$2 Do-It-Yourself Solar Lamp

"We were able to remove the battery controller, which reduces the cost drastically and also the complication to build it," LEDsafari says on the website. "All the components have been chosen in such a way that they nullify the requirement of extra components such as voltage controller, current controller, resistors, capacitors, charge controllers, etc."

Kenya: Meeting a BURNing Desire


Since being introduced in 2013, the Jikokoa cookstove developed by BURN Manufacturing has literally been setting the market alight with its revolutionary design that not only reduces wood and fuel costs by half, but also cuts smoke emissions by up to 60%.

Teen Turns Scrap Into Satellite Booster

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.

Can Phones Drive Insurance Markets?

Burials in Ghana are socially very important and tend to be large and expensive affairs, often putting a strain on household budgets—particularly 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.

Girls Venture Into Technological Innovation

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.

Nigerian Wins UK Innovation Prize

Premium Times
Yamamma and mentor Sir. Richard Branson

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.

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.

Rwanda: A Model for Development Built On Indigenous Foundations

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.

Nigerian Scientists Wary of Anti-Malarial GM Mosquitoes

A vast majority of Nigeria's scientists are sceptical about using genetically modified mosquitoes to tackle malaria in the country, a new study suggests.

Rwanda: An Era of Disruptive Innovation

Africa is a prime location for this type of innovation and African entrepreneurs are taking advantage of the opportunity.

How African entrepreneurs are bringing power to the people


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.

DR Congo's Red Light to Invention

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."

How Open-Source Tools Can Help Map Crisis Data

In this podcast, we talk to Chris Albon, director of the global crisis data arm of Ushahidi, an open-source data mapping organisation that originated in Nairobi, Kenya.

Protecting Tanzania's Invisible Children - Birth Registrations by Mobile Phone

In Tanzania, proof of age is essential to safeguard children from abuse, such as child labour and early marriage, and to protect their rights. Yet 90 per cent of children under-five years old do not have a birth certificate. VSO volunteer Christopher Braeuel is project managing Tanzania's first mass birth registration campaign which uses mobile-phone technology to simplify the registration process.

Africa's M-Pesa Mobile Payment Method Debuts in Romania

In a trend reversal, African technology has migrated to Europe with the launch in Romania of Kenya's popular M-Pesa mobile money transfer system.

South Africa: From Dropouts to Innovators: How RLabs Invests in Young "Problem Experts" to Beat Crime & Unemployment

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, founded by Marlon Parker, is an innovation movement that transforms youth in troubled communities, gangsters, dropouts and ex-convicts, into changemakers. "Thank you for believing in me" is a story of hope featuring two of RLabs' team members Angelo King and Suzanne Smith.

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 Government’s 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

Rethinking Approaches to Refugee Assistance

Refugee enterprise in Uganda holds valuable lessons for global migration policy, says researcher Alexander Betts.

Call to Bring Refugee Innovation into Humanitarian Work

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.

Can a Mobile App Help End Wartime Rape?

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.

InFocus: African Innovators Win International Award

A conservationist from Rwanda and an engineer from Cameroon have been recognised by the Rolex Award for Enterprise. More

Crab Fattening - Reaping the Rewards of Tourism in Zanzibar, Tanzania

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.

Towards Making Africa an Innovation Hub

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.

Africa's Growth Depends On Tech Entrepreneurship, Innovation Levels


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.

Malawi - Innovation Key to Combatting Climate Change

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 Planners Skeptical of 'Smart Cities'

Eko Atlantic

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.

Africa Focuses on Building Resilient Cities

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.

Sponsored Content

GE Innovation

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 + Saudi Aramco ecomagination Challenge

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.

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.

Africa Healthymagination

GE is committed to maternal infant health in Africa and working to make a difference in the lives of mothers and children.

Affordable Modernization

GE's sponsorship of Maker Faire Africa centers on encouraging local innovation to help solve some of Africa's toughest challenges.

Brine Science: How Salt and Ingenuity Purify Water for Thousands inAsia and Africa

"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.

Carpe Sodium: The school collects rain water in large barrels and purifies it with ingenious chlorine generators using salt and car battery.

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, GE Develop New Water Technology, Boosting Gas-to-Liquids (GTL) Value Proposition

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.

GE Equipment Donation to Tanzania's Pregnant Women

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.

Can You Hear Me Now? Telecom Orders For Next-Gen Durathon Battery Top $63 Million Since July Launch

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.

Saving the Snows of Kilimanjaro: Eastern Africa Plugs Into Renewable Power

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.

New Software Tool Helps Track Exposures in Ebola Outbreak

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»

South African Political Party Launches Mobile-Based Governance Game

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»

Secrecy Among Kenyan Firms May Be Impeding Innovation

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»

Technology Innovation Key to Realize Nigeria's Vision 20 - 2020, Microsoft

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»

Tanzania: Cost Effective Health Care Innovations to Improve Sector

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

The Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation aims to stimulate, celebrate and reward innovation and entrepreneurship in sub-Saharan Africa. Read more»

Photoessay: African Innovation to Improve Miners' Safety

Video: Ghana's Bamboo Bikes Initiative

Ghana Bamboo Bikes Initiative: Empowering Women & Building Resilience

Around the world, female entrepreneurs are empowering other women to generate sustainable income while addressing the world’s most pressing challenges. The Ghana Bamboo Bikes Initiative does it one high-quality bicycle at a time. Read more»

Mosquito Patch May Be Tested in Uganda

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»

Google Earth Enables Remote Tracking of Fish Catches

Persian Gulf governments could use Google's free global satellite imaging program to better monitor and control fishing in their waters. Read more»

Kenya: Invention Makes Peace With Lions

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 to Support Five Startups Under Innovation Grant Program

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»

Training Africa's Future Innovators

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»

Innovative ICT Companies Rewarded in Lagos

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»

Tsetse Fly Breakthrough Brings New Hope

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»

Fibre Optics May Leapfrog Africa into Future

The growth of iHub represents how information and communication technology (ICT) in Kenya has advanced over the past 15 years. Read more»

Kenya: Eneza Education Wins This Year's ICT Innovation Awards

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"

Zimbabwe: Innovation Boosts Agricultural Productivity

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 Finalists in the 2014 Edition of Innovation Prize for Africa

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»

Lagos State Partners PRI to Create Innovation Hub

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»

Calls to Speed Work on Kenya's Planned Silicon Savannah

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 Safaricom Beats Google, Facebook in Innovation

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»

Giant Rats Race to Eliminate Landmines From Mozambique

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»

Ghana: E-Payslip Innovation Successful

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»

Focus On Gender - Think Small to Light Up Rural Africa

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»

Uganda: The Traffic APP to Tackle Corruption

A new app lets users submit and receive real-time traffic reports on road repairs, accidents and traffic jams on almost any Kampala road featured on Google maps via the internet. Read more»

Digital Jobs Impacting Africa's Economies

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

Youths See Opportunity in Digital Outsourcing

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»

Accelerating Impact Enterprises

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»

100 Resilient Cities Centennial Challenge

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»

Rockefeller Foundation Challenges Cities to Prosper

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»

President Goodluck Jonathan, centre, juggling the Suckett Football to electricity

'Govts Should Benefit From Funding Innovation'

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»

Desert Plantations Could Capture Carbon

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»

Kenyan Scientist Wins Food Innovation Award

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: Cell Phones for Farmers to Cut Corruption, Deliver Services

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»

Web Tool Tracks Insecticide-Resistant Malaria Mosquitoes

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»

Partnering With Africa's Farmers

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»

New Initiative to Create Digital Jobs in Africa

A nearly U.S.$100 million investment by the Rockefeller Foundation aims to impact one million Africans through jobs and skills for youth in the information communication technology sector (file photo).

Kangaroo Care Boosts Preterm Infants' Odds

In Kenya, as across Africa, the death rate of newborn babies is tragically high. But at Kenyatta General Hospital, in the capital city of Nairobi, medical staff are using a low-cost, natural intervention with encouraging success - Kangaroo Care. 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.

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