A Look at the Continent’s Achievements in the 21st Century
Once labelled the ‘dark continent’, Africa was perceived to be riddled with corruption, wars and famine. However, since the 2000s, the continent has seen unprecedented growth, fueled by entrepreneurship, industrialization and economic policy. This article explores some of Africa’s greatest achievements.
Renewable Energy Revolution
Africa is set to lead in the next five years in providing off grid solar solutions, estimated at about 3,000 MW by 2022. Nigeria, in its quest to use energy to unlock economic opportunities, and drive growth for industries, announced billion Naira (USD 3.1 Million) off-grid solar fund, as part of its Green Energy Program with the UN Development Program (UNDP). The solar projects are to be deployed for households and Small to Medium Enterprises, currently without any access to power.
PEZESHA, developed in Kenya, is micro -lending fin-tech company that helps low income borrowers generate credit scores using data analytics.
Down south, is South Africa’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Project Procurement Program (REIPPPP).
Although on-grid, the programme has provided an alternative, cleaner energy source to coal powered stations.
In a similar manner, Algeria has also implemented a 90MW project in East Adrar. Small Scale renewable energy not only electrifies rural households, but also enables better delivery of health care and education, thus improving the overall wellbeing of Africans.
Africa has been able to leapfrog directly to mobile phones, and by-passing landline connections. This development alone opened doors to an array of Fin-tech technology. Fin-tech enables users to move money or funds from one place to another without the use of a bank account. Fin-tech has also advanced to include investments and micro lending vehicles.
In developed markets, Fintech is about providing services to banks, or delivering something that already exists with a better customer experience, whereas in Africa it’s almost exclusively about delivering access to financial services directly to the end user for the first time.
Traditional structures such as banks, had left the African population severely untapped when it came to financial services. (Only 34% of adults in Sub-Saharan Africa had bank accounts).
Other than the well known MPESA, which has had much success in Kenya and other Sub-Saharan countries, African entrepreneurs continue to create start-ups in this field. Flutterwave, in 2017, managed to raise USD 10 million to build infrastructure to ease processing of payments across Africa.
Pezesha, developed in Kenya, is micro -lending Fin-tech company that helps low income borrowers generate credit scores using data analytics.
However, the FinTech success cannot only be attributed to deep penetration of mobiles phones and internet, but also improvements in identity verification infrastructure across the continent. These assist in recognizing duplicate identities, therefore curbing fraudulent activities.
Health Care Innovation
There is also a new energy to solve Africa’s problems the African way. Malaria kills over 400 000 people per year in Africa. Still to be tested scientifically before mass production, a mosquito repellent soap was created by two youth from Burkino Faso to address this challenge.
Medsaf, founded in Nigeria, is a company that delivers medications directly from leading local and foreign manufacturers- eliminating issues such as quality control, to hospitals, pharmacies, and clinics all over the country. It also provides a robust inventory management system that allows tracking stock levels for medications in real time, as well as receive order reminders and alerts, and access historical sales data for forecasting.
Africa is still rising