vgithinji's blog

Can we achieve Africa’s transformation dream?

“We have to be impatient in moving Africa forward”, noted Dr Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), and 2017  World Food Prize, during the 26th World Economic Forum on Africa, held in 2016.

Why the need for haste? Because it cannot longer be business as usual in Africa.

For years – in fact for centuries, development in Africa has failed to equal the continent’s greatness: as the cradle of humankind and the second largest continent in the world.

Renewable energy – the big game changer in Africa’s transformation

Large land mass, abundant solar energy resource, huge biomass resources, plenty of wind – all available in Africa, waiting to be converted into renewable energy. Meanwhile, millions of people have no access to clean energy and are using options that are not only harmful to their own health but are also a threat to ecosystems. In addition, industries in the continent are incurring enormous energy-related overheads, thus reducing their profit margins.

What have smart technologies done for Africa?

In the recent past, Africa’s development has improved somewhat, due to smart technologies and related interventions in solving developmental challenges.

One of the greatest advantages of smart technologies is that they indiscriminately cut across many sectors of the economy, thereby benefiting myriad stakeholders including academic and research institutions, nonprofit organizations, governmental bodies and businesses.

Transform agriculture; transform Africa

Over the recent past, a new narrative has emerged – that of Africa’s transformation as a way of making the continent’s economic growth more inclusive and holistic.

But transformation is a big word that requires scrutiny from multiple angles, especially when talking about Africa, a continent with a complicated past and a complex, yet hopeful future.

Levi Ongechi Omache

Drones, Apps and more

In Tanzania, researchers from the Southern Africa Centre for Infectious Diseases Surveillance (SACIDS), have developed a mobile application (App) known as Afyadata. This tool allows real-time collection, submission and analysis of data from the field and intelligently sends feedback to the data collector. Moreover, if any abnormal pattern is discovered, the App alerts respective health experts or response teams, and provides them with recommendations of actions to be taken.

Local versus smart technologies: what is the meeting point?

For century, Africans have relied on indigenous knowledge to develop technologies to solve their challenges. Now, with advances in smart technologies, it might be time to consider the meeting point between these ‘local’ and ‘global’ technologies.

As a young scientist, I am dedicated to promoting smart technologies that will lead to smart energy solutions, smart agriculture, smart mining solutions, smart cities, smart homes, smart factories, among others. But before we prefix the word smart to everything, we need to examine what smart technologies really are.