1 December 2016

Africa: Innovation in Africa's Best 25 Interviews On Smart Monkey TV in 2016 - Start-Ups, Investment, Ict4d, 3d Printing and Innovation

In 2016, Smart Monkey TV has talked to and uploaded over 100 interview clips with African innovators. In this issue, I've chosen what I think are the best 20 interviews and have given you the viewers the verdict on the other 5, which received the most views over the last 12 months. The other top lists are as follows: Start-Ups, Incubators and Tech Investors; ICT4D People Making Things Happen; Solving Africa's Energy Problems; Tackling Africa's Transport Issues and Innovation in Africa.

Most Viewed in 2016

1. Jeremy Doutte on Jumia Nigeria as the largest retailer in Nigeria and its top selling items

There's a continuing fascination with Jumia's progress in Africa as it seeks to create profitable e-commerce businesses in Sub-Saharan Africa. It's laid off staff, closed down country operations and shrugged off rumors that it was closing. The battle to succeed in creating African e-commerce will be won or lost in Nigeria, which is why this interview with Jeremy Doutte continues to be viewed.


2. NewGenAngels' Sean Obedih on the Africa Business Angels Forum in London

NewGenAngels' Sean Obedih is one of those people who give me hope that Africans in the diaspora can become part of the wider investment ecosystem. He brings together really interesting start-ups and investors for events held in London and elsewhere. He's worth watching to hear what he thinks will change in the African start-up ecosystem in the next five years.


3. Binta Coudy De, JJiguene on how it helps women street sellers go online to sell food products

Senegal's Binta Coudy De was one of the co-founders of the first women's incubator on the continent. She does work with a range of people from schoolchildren to women street-sellers, helping them understand and use technology. Giving women the same opportunities in technologies as men remains a key issue.


4. Chika Nwobi, L5 Labs on the lessons of seed investing in Nigerian start-ups

L5 Labs Chika Nwobi has been involved in investing in some of the most high profile Nigerian start-ups. In this video clip interview he talks about the three lessons he's learned from seed investing and why he's now stopping his seed investment activities. If you need to understand why the Nigerian start-up ecosystem is important, Chika gives a good flavor of what can go wrong and what can go right.


5. Jennifer Chizua on launching Startpreneurs, Abuja's first start-up accelerator

Jennifer Chizua came back from the UK with a whole of experiences and ideas that she wanted to put to work. The product is Startpreneurs, Abuja's first start-up accelerator. Abuja may not have the pace and density of Lagos's start-up quarter Yaba but it is beginning to slowly develop a reputation as a place that you can develop a start-up. We'll watch with interest to see what comes out of Startpreneurs...


Top 5 Start-Ups and Investment

1. Corbyn Munnik on start-up Sliide, an African mobile Flipboard with free data, launched in Nigeria

Corbyn Munnik's Sliide is an ingenious way to allow Africans to use the Internet without paying for data. Basically it sells advertising on the lockscreen of the handset and it splits the revenues with the user who gets data or voice minutes in return. He launched the product in Nigeria and quickly got 60,000 users and will launch in another African country early in 2017.


2. Eyram Tawia on Leti Arts' Kickstarter campaign and its multimedia vision

I was really pleased to finally meet Eyram Tawi of Leti Games as he has been one of the pioneers of African gaming and has survived to tell the tale. His ambition? To take the characters in the games he's developed and give them a multimedia life across cartoon books, TV series and animated films. Not such a crazy idea since Cameroon's Kiro'o Games signed a deal with a Hollywood independent this year.


3. Bunmi Okunowo, NITDA on how the Nigerian Government supports entrepreneurship

When Nigeria's Bunmi Okunowo describes what he's doing with start-ups, you can't quite believe that he works for Government. Over the last year, he's set in train an event programme called Start-Up Friday to mentor entrepreneurs and help connect them with seed funding. There's a lesson here for other African countries who want to encourage innovation and wealth creation.


4. Bilikiss Adebiyi-Abiola on how Wecyclers is creating a business model for recycling in Lagos

Nigerian social entrepreneur Bilikiss Adebiyi-Abiola who launched Wecyclers has been high profile since she launched. Her idea of paying people to collect rubbish is so simple but if successful could have a real impact on cities like Lagos.


5. Jussi Hinkkanen on raising funds to expand Fuzu, an African careers development platform

Finn Jussi Hinkkanen used to run the influential Open Innovation Africa event as part of his work at Nokia. When he left, he decided to practice what he was preaching and set up a jobs and careers development site with its first roll-out in Kenya. He's just closed an investment round and looks set to expand in 2017.


Top 5 ICT4D People Making Things Happen

1. CcHub's Bosun Tijani on its new edtech incubator and research centre re:learn

CcHub co-founder Bosun Tijani is always interesting to talk to and his latest project - an edtech incubator in Abuja - is no exception. Education and health seem to be the next ICT4D "verticals" that will attract a lot of interest and he's hoping to create some edtech pioneers in Nigeria.


2. Dr Adejobi Adeloye, NovaDOC on an app subscription service that provides doctors on call

There's several fascinating African health start-ups run by doctors that are about simplifying access to health and in this case, bringing the doctor to you. It will be relatively easy for NovaDOC to do this in urban areas but it will be interesting to see how it fares in delivering a similar product to rural areas. The great unspoken is how innovative models like this might over time change how health is delivered both in the public and private sectors.


3. Paul Vincent Cable on his start-up EnSo Impact using tablets in low-income schools in Kenya

The trials and travails that led to the closure of Bridge Academies in Uganda have been much in the news. Paul Vincent Cable's EnSo Impact is heading down the same road and has both an idea of how to tackle key issues for students and a belief that things like tablets for pupils will make a difference.


4. Oludotun Babayemi - How Follow The Money uses traditional and online to get Govt to keep promises

Babayemi's organization has such a great name and it does what it says on the tin. It has identified places in Northern Nigeria where Government promised money to a community and it failed to appear. Working with the community, Follow The Money runs an intensive media and social media campaign to get something done and it's had some notable successes.


5. Sara Hilliard Garrett on Vula Mobile's app that connects rural nurses to medical specialists

Vula Mobile founder Dr William Mepham started Vula Mobile after having direct experience of the frustrations of trying to get specialist advice for patients in rural areas in South Africa. The app allows a rural nurse to follow a series of picture-led procedures on a smartphone to test the patient's condition before connecting him or her to a specialist.


Top 2 Solving Africa's Energy Problems

1. Energy analyst Tom Makau on forthcoming improvements to the supply of energy in Kenya

There's still a long way to go but Kenya has made some definite leaps forward in the energy sector. Energy analyst Tom Makau outlines what's changing and what Kenyans can look forward to as a result.


2. Start-up co-founder Tony Nyagah, Strauss Energy on solar tiled roofs & air compression storage

It sounds almost too good to be true. Kenyan start-up Strauss Energy is putting up solar roofing tiles and capturing the energy harvested using air compression. Unlike batteries, the only by-product created is clean water. Tony Nyagah explains where the ideas came from, how the technology works and when they will start a major roll-out.


Top 3 Tackling Africa's Transport issues

1. Barrett Nash, Safemotos on an app that wants to be the Uber of safe moto taxis in Kigali

Safemotos is an interesting start-up because it's not in Nairobi or Lagos. Part of its pitch is that it chooses safe moto taxi drivers who are safer driver. Co-founder Barrett Nash explains how it's done.


2. Devin de Vries on how start-up WhereIsMyTransport wants to change Africa's city transport

Devin de Vries WhereIsMytransport came out of a competition that he won with his co-founders at University. Many years later, having learned a series of hard lessons about the transport ecosystem, he's now ready to take on Africa and the world. In the meantime, he moved his operation to London where he closed am investment round.


3. Obakeng Matlhloko on start-up Afta Robot with its apps for taxi owners and passengers

Obakeng is another transport start-up founder whose taken the time to understand how his tech can be used in South Africa's cities. In this case, it's taxis and the people who run them as well the passengers who use them as part of their daily work journey.


Top 5 Innovation in Africa

1. Demola Aladekomo on building a smart city in the Lekki district of Lagos for the tech industry

People who do property developments are always selling the dream and Demola Aladekmo is no exception. And the dream is a Smart City quarter for the technology industry in the Lekki district of Lagos but it also includes a market for your daily food shopping.


2. Tech Cabal's Bankole Oluwafemi on making Lagos a Playable City - The Mirror that talks back to you

Bankole and his co-founder of Tech Cabal want to create an online media publishing company. But in this interview, he takes time out to explain a project he did aimed at making a Playable City. Ugh, I hear you say. Well it's trying to create ways that people can interact more sympathetically with their fellow city-dwellers and it had some neat ideas.


3. Rick Treweek on African Robot's 3D printing training and his passion brand Trobok Toys

Rick did games in Singapore before coming back to South Africa to develop a 3D printing portfolio. He both trains people in 3D printing and sells toys created with 3D printers.


4. Jumanne Mtambalike, Buni Hub on making a 3D printer and drone from e-waste-mass production next?

Buni Hub has started to push the envelope in terms of what it's trying to do with maker techniques and 3D printing. It has made its own 3D printer and created a drone out of scrap materials. The next big question to solve is can it mass-produce them?


5. Naeem Biviji, Studio Propolis on designing contemporary chairs for a cathedral in Kericho

Naeem Biviji runs Studio Propolis, a design studio and workshop in Nairobi and is currently making the chairs and doors he designed for a new cathedral. Africa lacks design skills and one day maybe African design studios and workshops will be as numerous as African start-ups.


If you'd like to see someone interviewed on Smart Monkey TV in 2017, just send me their name on info@smartmonkeytv.com .

Seasons Greetings and all the best for 2017

Russell Southwood

Smart Monkey TV

If you want to understand the scale of the barriers faced by games developers in Nigeria and the rest of Africa, watch Benedict Olumhense in this video:



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