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New Youthful Innovations Amidst Covid-19 For Africa by Africans

African youths are working tirelessly to help curb the Covid-19 situation in their communities.

Despite the unending challenges brought by the current pandemic, the situation has also created opportunities for young African innovators to come up with solutions and reinvent different ways in which people can cope and move forward for a better future.

In a recent publication by African Innovates, they featured 50 youths from different countries who despite, having limited resources, are inventing home-made solutions to help reduce the effects of COVID-19.

According to the publication, many African youth innovators are making a positive impact against the pandemic but only 50 innovations made the cut based on the criteria being used to select them taking into account at least the following: The innovation had to be African-based, impactful, and problem-solving.

Some of the innovators are from Kenya, Ghana, South Africa, and Nigeria and have innovated rapid COVID-19 testing kits, air banks, foot-operated handwashing machines, and data analysis chatbots.

Below are some of the innovators among the 50:

  • Steven Wamukota9(Kenya)- Innovated ‘Jawam’ foot-operated handwashing machine which he has apparently named after his father James Wamukota. He got the idea from realization that people could still get infected while opening and closing taps after washing hands
  • CapeBio a multi-award winning tech start-up based in South Africa- South Africa being one of the hardly hit countries in Africa by COVID-19, the startup decided to develop a COVID-19 test kit which provides results in 65 minutes. Their objective is to ensure their company easily responds to the need for local products rather than importing diagnostic kits during a crisis.
  • Temi Giwa –Tubosun(Nigeria)-  Fortunately one of the few Women entrepreneurs in Africa redefining the continent’s health. Through her company life bank, she innovated an Airbank, which is an emergency medical oxygen delivery product, to mitigate and help meet the increased demand of oxygen cylinders. It has since become one of the quickest and most convenient way to order medical oxygen in Nigeria.
  • Brian Ndegwa Wambui(Kenya)-  A 21-year-old, Information technology student at Dedan Kimathi University who has invented Rona, COVID-19 specific data analysis chatbot. He saw the need to develop a technology and data analysis tool that could aid in reducing the spread of COVID-19.
  • Mahmoud el-Komy(Egypt)-The 26-year-old, mechatronic engineer invented a robot to help diagnose infections and post-infection medical care related to COVID-19. The robot scan results and display them openly on the monitor. It is also portable.
  • Enova Robotics (Tunisia)- A local company founded by Anis Sahbani in 2014 invented PGuard, a robot police officer “Robocop” to carry out security patrols not knowing that six years later his invention would deliver smart policing services to help reduce the spread of corona virus pandemic.
  • Edmund Maputi (Zimbabwe)- An engineer by profession, invented an affordable ventilator when COVID-19 hit. Soon after he realized that the virus was likely to overwhelm the country’s hospitals, he decided to venture into the creation of ventilators using affordable and locally sourced parts.

Africa has always been seen as a continent that depends on foreign aid however, with the current innovations, everyone is now witnessing an incredible display of positivity making Africa most definitely the next frontier of development.

“At the start of 2020, many would have bet their gold that sub-Saharan Africa was not the likely home for inventions in test kits, surgical masks and ventilators.” Says Ahunna Eziakonwa, Regional Director and Assistant Secretary-General for UNDP Regional Bureau for Africa

She urges people to see Africa’s innovations as a part of a transformative process, invest in creativity and resilience, see innovators as important individuals who want the best for Africa, and always be ready to embrace innovations.

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