There is a rapid shift taking place across the African continent; an emerging trend of an innovative African approach used by entrepreneurs and practitioners on socio-economic development.
Africa is already equipped with expertise and technological capacity to find local solutions to the continent’s challenges. The current innovations in telecommunication and information technology sectors are specifically designed to address challenges that innovations from abroad have not been able to address given Africa’s complex environment. So, a good understanding of local complexity is critical in ensuring the sustainability of any socio-economic project in Africa.
Technical expertise and great models already exist in African countries such as Rwanda and Kenya where Tech companies are now developing hardware specifically designed to operate in challenging environments like extreme heat, high levels of dust and intermitted electricity supply. Kenya’s reputation in the Information and Communication Technology space has become more prominent on the continent and abroad. This is a country with the most vibrant ICT and high profile development hubs. In fact, the mobile banking and M-Pesa in Kenya were designed to address the lack of banking services and the pay-as-you-go was introduced to deal with the billing and collections challenges.
The Connected Farmer Alliance program on the other hand delivers critical information to farmers via text messages and notifications which generally covers real-time market prices, under-used or over-used land, prevalence of diseases, crop distribution, on-going training sessions and so on. This mobile communication delivers real-time data that helps raise the technological profile of African Agribusiness hence PWC’s Africa Agribusiness Insights survey 2016 cites the availability of real-time data in forecasting demand, managing stock and integrated systems as the biggest boom. 11.8% of companies are said to be investing in artificial intelligence farming systems to provide intelligent modeling. In one of the trials conducted in Tanzania, it was possible to distinguish between 14 different types of sweet potatoes and other crops. So, effective information flow and reliable data is critical for efficient markets and makes trade much easier.
The bottom line is that as African entrepreneurs, we need to be engaged and fully involved in the development process, designs and management of solutions for the challenges we face on the continent.