Access to clean water, clean energy and sanitation are major hurdles on the African continent. These challenges also present opportunities for entrepreneurs. According to the World Bank, clean tech is a $6.4 trillion dollars of investment will be in the sector over the next decade. With unlimited opportunities, the financial sector, nonprofits, and small business enterprises are all looking to make an impact in this sector.
eMaji, cofounded by Taf Makura, is an open source technology to test the water quality of groundwater supplies/boreholes and alert water authorities when conditions are dangerous for public health. eMaji is interested in building a prototype and proof of concept upon which to create an open source platform for others to use. This is a new technology with the potential to prevent water contamination from causing public health problems around the world.
Sustainable Solutions Group works to provide latrines in Uganda. This industry is vital for continued sanitation since bacteria associated with sewage is a major source of water contamination. SSG grew out of a nonprofit model by staff from the Water for People charity. SSG focuses on latrine construction, placement and removal of waste. The latrine uses a precast concrete model and includes collection and disposal of waste. SSG imports some parts associated with the latrine construction from China and Bangladesh but has found that costs for importing and transporting into Uganda could be expensive. Understanding the demand for latrines, the cost of construction and the local land ownership are critical to the promotion and widespread adoption of these facilities. The future goal of SSG is to focus on collecting and reusing the waste.
Solar Sister, the final panelists, addressed the unreliability of energy in many African nations. Millions don’t have access to electricity in rural parts of Africa and, as such, Solar Sister staff empowers women entrepreneurs to market and sell solar powered electricity for residential use. The production of the solar components for Solar Sister is mostly from China, although there is an effort to have more of the work done in Africa. Currently Solar Sister operates Nigeria, Uganda and Tanzania.
There are several challenges to developing a water technology tool but efforts continue. In order for effective implementation of clean technology in these areas, businesses must work to develop an effective set of partners and partnership with government and researchers. It is also necessary for clean technologies startups to hone their financial management and project management skills so that projects can move forward. Workforce education and effective partnerships are key for production and promotion of products in the clean technology sector.
Overall it was clear the market opportunity for clean technology is huge and support for local clean-tech industries are growing and will provide huge economic and environmental benefits for the future. Mansa Colabs, an advisory focused on the growth of African entrepreneurs and the organizer of the DMV African Entrepreneurs Meetup, will host future meetups focused on opportunities in the health and creative sectors in 2016.
Evolvegreen, LLC, is an environmental consulting firm operating at the interface of science and policy.
From games culturally inspired games to solutions for talent acquisition, the news from the tech scene is thinking local.
Blooming Gaming Industry: Locally produced and focused gaming companies are cropping up all over the continent. With industries such as Nigeria’s expected to grow 20 % annually, game developers are optimistic about the industry outlook. - Via SmartMonkey TV
Hubs Must Act Like Startups: AfriLabs director, Tayo Akinyemi addressed the value and business models of existing hubs. While many are serving the local communities needs, the activities and services on their roster don’t lead to long term sustainability. - Via Disrupt Africa
Finding Great Talent: Don’t find and keep great talent by making them sign their lives away. Instead, be well rounded, supplement pay with passion, and always pay on time. - Via Harvard Business Review
Open Access & Ebola: Many of us are familiar with the current uses of open access software during the Ebola crisis. But it doesn’t end there. Doctors have benefited from open access scientific journals that would otherwise be costly or difficult to access. - Via Tech Dirt
Tech in the Wild: iHub ventured out to Tsavo, Kenya to assist rangers in anti-poaching efforts. A team’s experience developing mobile app to combat poaching - Via iHub
Stories We Like
Three South African artists create blog portraying SA in their eyes - Via Destiny Man
Infographic shows where Africa’s mobile money fits globally -Via Memeburn
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We’ve rounded up some interesting articles for March. While MPedigree expands across sectors, M-Pesa grows regionally with the help of Vodacom. Read these stories and others below.
Authenticity in Every Sector: After success in pharmaceuticals, MPedigree is moving to Ghana's textile and beauty industry. Their authentication platform will reduce the adverse effects of counterfeiting on consumers and companies. - via Disrupt Africa
Addressing Youth Unemployment through Partnership: Jobberman and Microsoft Nigeria signed an MoU focusing on youth unemployment. Both companies will work to increase the number of resources for career training and development. - via Tech Moran
Booming Cities: Although well known Lagos, Kinshasa and Johannesburg top the list of high growth potential cities, the report claims true opportunity lies in the “Next 10”. Luanda, Khartoum, Abidjan and 7 others are expected to triple in size by 2030. - via PwC
M-Pesa Goes Regional: M-Pesa is now crossing borders. Through partnership with Vodacom, Safaricom users can now make transactions between Kenya and Tanzania. Via Ventures Africa
Stories we like
Young Kenyan Entrepreneur turns rejection into opportunity - via Ventures Africa
Burkina Faso Film Festival brings opportunity to a diverse group of filmmakers - via Vice
Check out the photos from our recent event in DC. Also, join the meetup group to get updates on future events.