How innovation is blooming in Africa

In the social sector, I always heard people talking about Africa, India and also Latin America. Within my understanding, it is because they are undergoing some severe social problems, but I never imagined innovative approaches could also happen there. And I was so surprised when I was in Uganda after witnessing such things around me. Their specific social and economic situation raised those countries to become a field of social innovation, where people are trying to do experiments and learning from failures. Finally, they implement one of the successful experiments and make a significant social impact.

The innovation is booming in SINA, and in the whole society as a whole. For example, the “Uber of motorcycles” APP in Uganda. We all know that Uber is a mobile APP to connect the cars and people in need to achieve the maxim of resource usage. There is no Uber in Uganda, but they renovated another similar APP to do the same thing to connect motorcycles and people. Poor traffic jams make it difficult for people to reach Uganda’s capital Kampala. While buses and taxis usually stuck in traffic for hours. So the worsening traffic jams have led to the rise of the boda-bodas (the APP), the convenient transport with big business potential as the BBC reported. Boda-boda is used widely in cities and I can see them everywhere, this is a great example to do the local innovation, and I have to say that it works well in Uganda than I could never though. It is better to use existing innovation to adapt to the local context rather than developing a totally new solution under some context.

Another example I have used was mobile money, which developed by the Airtel and MTN those mobile services operation companies. It works as bank accounts, normally, we use bank services to withdraw, deposit, or transfer money, and mobile money can do the same thing but through mobiles, and most importantly, those actions do not require the internet, so it is very easy to use. Nowadays, the different operation standpoints have been spread out all over Uganda and it is very convenient for local people. I can feel the livelihood has been improved by this service and also increased the rate the employment. This is a magnificent place to nurture innovation with the human’s superpower within a restricted environment.

There is one TED video talking the future of the whole world is in Africa, to this point I agree with him through my own experience. There are still lots of different innovations happening in Africa, things like solar energy, agriculture, medical services and etc. I am so glad that I have the chance to interact with some of the innovations and hope those innovations can really lift people’s lives up and build a better future.

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