- Title: Africa innovates – some of the highlights of 2016.
- Date: 2nd January 2017
- Summary: VARIOUS OF DEVELOPERS BROWSING THROUGH PRODUCTS ON THE APP
- Embargoed: 17th January 2017 10:01
- Keywords: Innovation Applications Blood bank farming solar Space Astronomy
- Location: LAGOS, NIGERIA/ CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA/ KAMPALA, UGANDA/ MAGADI, KENYA
- City: LAGOS, NIGERIA/ CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA/ KAMPALA, UGANDA/ MAGADI, KENYA
- Country: Various
- Topics: Society/Social Issues
- Reuters ID: LVA0045XDZWIF
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Nigerians say cheap fuel is one of the few benefits of living in Africa's top oil producing country so when the government lifted costly fuel subsidies to try and alleviate the worst economic crisis in decades and fuel went up by over 67 percent in May, it sparked widespread protest.
It also raised the profile of a startup called Go My Way - a rideshare service offering some relief for commuters in the traffic clogged commercial capital, Lagos.
GoMyWay connected passengers with drivers going along the same route and saved many, hundreds of dollars and hours waiting in queues for fuel.
We met Tope Akinremi who picks three people along his route and collects 300 naira (1.5 U.S. Dollars) - one way, from each of them, for a drive he would do anyway.
"When my company moved to Lekki I thought well... I was now paying more for petrol and spending more time on traffic, and the country is getting harder so I started thinking of ways to at least earn something extra, then it popped up again... GoMyWay popped up again on my radar on twitter, and so I joined GoMyWay and published my ride and yeah...," said Akinremi.
Also in Nigeria, an app called LifeBank sought to help save lives by finding, storing and transporting blood, an issue that has been a major weakness in the country's healthcare system.
An estimated 1.7 million units of blood in the country is needed yearly but the National Blood Transfusion Service of Nigeria says it recorded less than 500,000 units in 2014.
The app provides a database for blood banks and hospitals across the country, helping them source for the required blood type that patients may need.
"We have a database of all the blood available in any given place in Nigeria in any given time, and we can deploy this information that we get through our tech platform to the hospitals, so that they know when they are in an emergency and they need blood for their patient they come to us and we help them find the blood they need faster," said Emmie Oluwatubosun, the Chief Executive of LifeBank.
University students in Uganda brought crucial market information to farmers using a mobile application and cut out pesky middlemen that often eat into profits.
Agro Market Day also provides an online shopping option to farmers like Ismail Katende.
"I use the application, I upload my products and I can sell them now using AgroMarket Day right from the garden or even I can take them to town but normally these days I sell right from... they come and get from my garden," he said.
In South Africa a group of schoolgirls helped to design Africa's first privately owned satellite in a programme run by the satellite's owner, Meta Economic Development Organisation (MEDO).
The idea is to get more schoolgoing girls in Africa interested in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math - known as STEM skills, which are key for careers in astrophysics and space research.
MEDO says 80 percent of jobs will need STEM skills by the year 2020 yet less than 10 percent of girls are currently interested or are studying science subjects in higher education.
"The most thing I want to achieve is having a planet named after me, that's the most thing that I want to achieve and probably work for NASA, or actually build my own company just like NASA," said Loyisile Dlomo, another student.
Also looking at the night sky was astronomy enthusiast Susan Murabana in Kenya.
Susan is in charge of a travelling telescope. She took it to the Rift Valley to view the Supermoon - the largest and brightest full moon, together with local communities there.
For Susan, who also runs a school programme that has reached 40,000 students in East Africa and exposed them to astronomy, the rare cosmic event was an opportunity to teach local people about space and also to learn.
"We wanted to check out the moon with locals from this community just to see if we could get some traditional stories from them as well, but we also wanted to get out of the city so that we could have a good, clear eastern sky so that we could get the moon rising," said Murabana.
Engineers in Uganda built Africa's first solar bus.
The Kayoola, a 35-seater white bus can go for up to 80 kilometres on two power banks that are recharged by solar panels installed on the roof of the vehicle.
In 2014, a report by the International Energy Agency said the sun could - with a radical shift in investments - be the world's largest source of electricity by 2050, ahead of fossil fuels, wind, hydro and nuclear.
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