“Nothing splendid has ever been achieved except by those who dared believe that something inside them was superior to circumstance.”
Do you know that Africa is the youngest continent on the face of the planet? Do you also know that Africa has more youths than any other continent in the world? According to the US Census Bureau (International Data Base) report in 2010, 63% of Africa’s overall population was below the age of 25. Concomitantly, the continent seems to be getting younger and younger and by 2030, it is predicted to have a larger workforce than China and in 2050 the largest workforce in the world (Approximately 1 billion people will be needing jobs). That tells you that a lot about Africa’s future will depend on its youth’s innovativeness as more and more youths seem to be embracing an entrepreneurial lifestyle. Someone once said that ideas are the currency of the 21st century, and from all indications, these chosen few understand that well. Below is a list of five carefully chosen young African innovators for your satisfaction. Read on!
1 Paul-Miki Akpablie, 22: Making Energy More Affordable in Ghana
Paul-Miki Akpablie, the young Ghanaian who is a Colorado College biochemistry and math major began Kadi Energy, a company that powers life in sub-Saharan Africa through the creation of long-lasting, versatile and affordable phone chargers. The young innovator says, he developed Kadi Energy, a long-lasting battery that uses solar power after discovering that many people spend a large proportion of their income on charging mobile devices. His invention is said to contain enough power to keep mobile phones in standby mode. His company has trained 40 young people as agents to distribute the product and the technology is used by 2,000 people living in rural areas. The young innovator is indeed going places as he was recently named a recipient of the prestigious Queens Young Leaders Awards in recognition of his exceptional role in impacting his community positively as well as being included as one of CC’s faces of innovation.
From all indications, Paul-Miki has made it his mission to help increase the West African nation’s energy independence through his startup Kadi Energy.
2 Bankole Cardoso, 26: Easy Taxi
Bankole Cardoso is the founding chief executive of an online taxi hailing app, Easy Taxi Nigeria, a rocket internet backed start-up. Cardoso started Easy taxi in 2013 because he wanted a simple way to aid commuting in Lagos. Easy Taxi is a free Smartphone application that allows users to request taxis in the easiest way possible. The app uses GPS to connect users to the drivers closest to them and then sends the users the drivers’ information and allows the user to track the driver on the map in real time. While still affiliated with Easy Taxi, he is moving on to new projects.
The young entrepreneur was in 2014 listed by Forbes as one of the 30 most promising entrepreneurs in Africa.
3 Asma Mansour, 29: Creating a Social Entrepreneurial Culture in Tunisia.
In a situation where the prevailing attitudes of young people is to wait for family connections, charity or government actions and with no existing culture of entrepreneurship, Asma introduced a cultural shift in which young people take solving problems in their own hands. She is breeding a new field through creating an enabling environment supportive for social enterprises. She created The Tunisian centre for social entrepreneurship in 2011 to promote social entrepreneurship. Asma employs tactics of advocacy, awareness, education and lobbying for a new legal framework directed to young people, government personnel, universities and the public. Her work has spread throughout Tunisia and has been replicated in Morocco and Algeria.
She believes that through the support of young social entrepreneurs and the spread of the concept of social enterprise, Tunisia will have a better chance at a more economically and politically stable future. As a result of her work, she was selected as BBC’s 100 Women and was placed third among 42 African innovators selected by the online business magazine ventures.
4 Takunda Chingonzo, 22: Breaking Barriers to Internet Access in Zimbabwe.
Takunda Chingonzo, a young tech-preneur believes that for Zimbabwe to thrive it must be open for business. To that end, he has dedicated himself to achieving a major hurdle: “liberating the Internet.”
“The internet is one tool that lowers the cost of doing any form of business,” says Takunda, the former National University of Science and Technology student. “It provides access to information that people and communities can use to improve and magnify the work that they are already doing. An informed community engages more, innovates more, and, from a business perspective, makes more and spends more.”
The young Takunda has graced the cover of Forbes Africa after making it to Forbes Africa under 30 list. He has also co-founded several startups, including Saisai Wireless (which won the SWELL Award for innovation), which aims to end the country’s digital divide and bring free internet access to the public. He says,
“I like the fact that entrepreneurship in itself is a way of life,” he says. “The concepts and methodologies we apply in business equally apply to one’s personal and professional life. This means that to be an entrepreneur, innovation must become an extension of ourselves.”
5 Oscar Ekponimo, 28: Chowberry software application.
Born in the year 1989 this young Nigerian saw a potential opportunity in what many of us love to term as a problem—hunger and poverty.
He said, “I saw an opportunity to provide affordable nutrition to millions of people while providing retailers with a sustainable system for managing the end of shelf-life. This is a win-win situation.”
It is estimated that 13 million Nigerians go hungry every day. That together with childhood memories of how he himself led Oscar to develop the Chowberry, a cloud-based software application that cuts food waste and redistributes vital nutrition to people in need or low income people. It uses the bar-code on food products to alert retailers when the end of shelf-life is drawing close and help redistribute these discounted products to food relief agencies. Call it the innovation of the decade! Oscar’s work has earned him the 2016 Rolex Young Laureate award.
Today its them, tomorrow it will be you share if you believe!