1. M-pesa has been a life changing innovation for the remittance world. It has eliminated the need for bank accounts, bank charges and the inconvenience of depending on a public transport driver to deliver money to the village. The most significant thing about M-pesa to me is the fact that it is a reminder that you have to know your environment very well in order to create lasting and useful solutions to the existing problems.
2. SEACOM is one of the leading undersea cable companies. They have created a great opportunity to boost Internet connectivity on the continent. Like M-pesa, Seacom has provided access to areas that were previously unreachable. In 2012, the United Nations deemed Internet access a basic right. I have no doubt that access to information will improve the lives of many individuals; I also hope that there will be more positive outcomes than bad ones produced by the wide access to internet.
3. GSMA mHealth has brought the mobile and health care industries together by bringing solutions to long-term health problems. Patients are able to access basic health information through their mobile phones. The main advantage in this technology is that it allows access to people in rural areas where people have been typically neglected.
4. JoziHub Kenya is one of the leading technology innovators, however this noted hub is in Johannesburg, South Africa. The JoziHub incubator helps kick start and accelerate innovation in the tech and social spheres. These locally based hubs are particularly exceptional because they have the ability to adapt to the local needs. Many technologies and innovations have failed because they were a great idea in one environment and not the other i.e. there was a lack of external validity in these innovations.
5. One upcoming innovation that will be interesting to follow is the CardioPad. The tablet is expected to reduce the rate of cardiovascular-disease mortality in countries with a shortage of cardiologists by using a cardio-pad medical tablet to perform cardiac examinations and permit remote readings. The founder of CardioPad has been nominated for a Rolex Award for enterprises.
These are only 5 of many technologies that are making or expected to make a difference on the development sphere. My hope is that some of you will find one or two of these intriguing and then be encouraged to share other innovations from different parts of the world that you consider revolutionary. I am particularly interested in South-South development trends, because in my opinion these have greater external validity to the African continent.
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