Africa’s homegrown innovations shine through in 2015.

Jan 04, 2016 Let’s take a quick look back at some of the best innovations that sprung up in and around the continent in 2015, and the brilliant minds behind them.

Tanzanian scientist, Dr. Askwar Hilonga, created a water filter with the ability to remove 99.9 percent of bacteria, micro-organisms and viruses.

The invention, which uses nanotechnology to filter contaminants and produce clean water, was inspired by Hilonga’s visit to his native village, where many suffer from water-borne diseases.

Speaking on his motivation and the business prospect of his innovation, Hilonga said:

“In Tanzania, 70 percent of households, of 9 million households, are not using any kind of a filter. That is how big the market is. That is in Tanzania alone, 9 million households. Now imagine in Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, sub-Saharan Africa, India and elsewhere. So the market is very big,”

Moving on to neighboring Kenya, Google launched its Street View technology in the Samburu Park. This was in its bid to help conservation efforts, protect animals from poachers and to give animal lovers a chance to take virtual tours of the reserve.

Speaking the benefits of the innovation, Frank Pope, chief operations officer for Save the Elephants said:

“Tracking them, with the help of Google earth, we get to see the whole range and then we get to understand what elephants need to survive and that’s powerful information if we are going to try and secure elephants a future in Africa. That’s information that we need because we need to take that information to government planners, TO community planners, and county governments and say — this is where elephants roam, these are the corridors they use, these are the areas they feed in during different times of the year. Let’s keep these areas protected from development, and then develop elsewhere and then in future we can have a modern Kenya, with elephants and without conflict,”

In Africa’s biggest economy, Nigeria, four students developed an app called “Humane” to help blind people perform tasks using their smart phones.

The software works with a hand operated controller and helps blind people select and play music and videos files as well as listening to audio read-back of printed words from the internet.

Commenting on the Humane, one of the co-creators Otaru Babatunde said:

“We looked at them (blind people) and we saw that these people are separated from the world, as in they are separated from the people that can see, alright? They can’t move freely on their own, they can’t browse the internet, they can’t play music, they can’t, so we said okay let’s just do something for these people and let them be part of the social world,” 

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