Date: Wednesday, 05 Mar 2014 22:51
In the BBC:
inventing a simple machine they can use to make cheap sanitary pads.via Next Big Future
Arunachalam Muruganantham's invention came at great personal cost - he nearly lost his family, his money and his place in society. But he kept his sense of humour.
"It all started with my wife," he says. In 1998 he was newly married and his world revolved around his wife, Shanthi, and his widowed mother. One day he saw Shanthi was hiding something from him. He was shocked to discover what it was - rags, "nasty cloths" which she used during menstruation...[continue reading]
Date: Friday, 28 Feb 2014 17:02
The potential of integrated agriculture…Kitchen Butterfly visits Songhai Centre, Rivers, Nigeria:
The ultimate aim of the Songhai Centre and its farms? To use agriculture as a weapon of mass construction. In 1985, Nigerian-born, Dr Godfrey N’Zamujo, a Dominican priest founded the Songhai centre. Nzamujo’s fundamental belief is that Africa’s ecological characteristics are advantages rather than impediments, and it calls for African farmers to use their own resources.
image courtesy of Kitchen Butterfly
...It isn’t too long a drive from Port Harcourt city that Saturday morning. And there is hardly any traffic as we head east.
In three-quarters of an hour, we’re there. I’m shocked, at first glance at how huge the grounds are. I’m not sure what I expected but this exceeds my imagination. It might be because I haven’t ever visited a farm in Nigeria and so my expectations are muddled. Confused with the orchards I’ve been to in the Netherlands.
The farm has an administrative centre, a few production centres, a store where you can buy all sorts of things from fresh juices to clay pots, water filters and chicken!
Date: Tuesday, 25 Feb 2014 09:04
largest technology companies to early stage investors, American high tech companies and venture capitalists are increasingly supporting startups across the African continent.
Whether it’s the 16 mobile apps in Botswana that Jim Goetz mentioned in his take on Facebook’s acquisition of WhatsApp; the launch of IBM’s new innovation centers in Lagos and Casablanca; Microsoft’s partnership with three incubators in Africa, or the African Development Bank’s recent summit on how to engage the private sector more effectively, African entrepreneurship is on investors minds.
In fact, 2013 was the most active year for technology investment on the continent, according to data from CrunchBase...[continue reading]
Date: Saturday, 22 Feb 2014 07:24
In Medium from Kinu of Afrimakers:
...Access to the repository of the world knowledge is still out of reach of the majority of the population of the world. Therefore, it becomes the responsibility of those that do have access to share that knowledge. There are a myriad of ways one might share this knowledge. There is a proverb, attributed to several people, that says “Tell me and I’ll forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I’ll understand”. By actively sharing knowledge of the tools and empowering young people to apply those tools within their own community the Afrimakers methodology is one that focuses on the power of empowerment though teaching and active ‘doing’. It shows that local sustainable solutions can be built through collaborative education. Technology is a tool; and for tools to be useful they have to be used to create a meaningful legacy.
Image courtesy of Afrimakers
Date: Friday, 21 Feb 2014 14:47
Angel Fair West Africa will be held in Lagos, Nigeria: around 100 entrepreneurs and investors from across Africa and abroad are invited to come together. The event is organised by the Angel Africa List together with the Lagos Angel Network and the African Venture Capital Association. We had a chance to catch up with Angel Fair Africa organizer and VC4Africa member Eric Osiakwan, Ghanaian entrepreneur and angel investor who is also part of VC4Africa’s advisory board.More here
Date: Friday, 21 Feb 2014 09:05
Javier Blas writing in FT:
We cannot expect the AFDB alone to shoulder this immense problem. Start-ups however using ingenious new methods may have an interesting opportunities here.
Until recently, the experience of Ghana, and soon Nigeria, would have attracted the interest of just a few in the ivory towers of academia. But with Africa firmly on the radar of international investors, not least as growth among bigger emerging economies stutters, the quality of the continent’s economic statistics increasingly matters to people, from US pension funds to Japanese commodities executives.
Image courtesy of Demographica
“This is not a Mexico or a Brazil where every day you have data releases and you can track the developments in those countries very intensively,” said Francesc Balcells, head of emerging markets at Pimco, the world’s biggest fixed income investor. “Data [in Africa] comes out with huge lags.”
Date: Monday, 17 Feb 2014 17:04
In Jo East Express:
via City Farmer
Mr Amon Maluleke in the garden that used to be a bowling turf. Image courtesy of Jo Burg East Express
“For me, gardening is part and parcel of my life,” said Mr Amon (the name everyone knows him by). He cited gardening as way in which communities can sustain themselves and ensure that poverty can be kept out.More here
“My story is similar to that of the former president, Mr Nelson Mandela,” said a giggling Mr Amon. He said he had to run away from home in Venda and came to the city in order to avoid being the future Chief at his village.
He came to the city in the late ’80s and worked for companies in Betrams and Killarney. Even then, his green fingers kept reminding him of who he was.
It was in the year 2010 that he decided to start a garden that could create jobs in the community and also sustain the community. The Bambanani Food and Herb co-operative was formed.
“We supply to stores such as the local Spar and some hawkers come and buy from us as well,” explained Mr Amon. The co-operative also helps charities for a number of initiatives.
via City Farmer
Date: Monday, 17 Feb 2014 16:47
From NTV Kenya:
Rising from making 20 shillings a day from her hotel business to 800 shillings is Lucy Wanjiku's story of transformation. She couldn't accept failure and so wasn't discouraged and continued to press on. She has set the pace and encourages other young people to follow suit and start to think business as opposed to being employed
Date: Monday, 17 Feb 2014 16:27
MkulimaYoung reports on the work of Peter Chege:
Mr Chege is an analytic chemist by profession has domesticated hydroponics which was developed in Australia to grow fodder for cattle, chicken and pigs. In his small plot in Zambezi in Kiambu county, Chege utilizes the soil-less technology to grow tomato, lettuce, strawberries and other vegetables.More here
This method utilizes very small space, recycles the water and it is not labour intensive.
His success is backed by his knowledge in analytical chemistry that enables him to mix nutrients as per the requirements of specific type or variety of crop.
Mr Chege is currently making hydroponics systems in various parts of the country as he also supplies the hydroponic fertilizer or nutrients.
Date: Sunday, 16 Feb 2014 20:51
A How We Made It profile:
Zainab Ashadu is the founder and creative director of Zashadu Bags, a sustainable luxury leather handbag company which specializes in handcrafted leather pieces. Zashadu Bags makes clutches, bags, backpacks and pouches in Lagos, Nigeria, using locally sourced materials including leather, exotic skins and rough cut semi-precious stones.More here
Ashadu started the business three years ago when she returned to Nigeria after living in London for 12 years. She operates out of a Lagos-based workshop with a team of local artisans, who hand craft the products.
Date: Wednesday, 12 Feb 2014 23:37
Nina Roberts writing in the Guardian:
Fonio will be the next quinoa in America, if Pierre Thiam has his way. The chef and restauranteur has big plans for the little grain. In 2008 Thiam published a Senegalese cookbook – Yolele!, which translates to “let the good times roll” in the Wolof language – so that western cooks could easily prepare Senegalese dishes. He even battled celebrity chef Bobby Flay over papaya (and lost) on the garish, dry ice fog infused Iron Chef show, a show whose brashness is an odd fit for Thiam’s affable, calm demeanor. Since the late 1990s he’s been cooking high-end Pan-African influenced food for his catering company, serving a range of clients from the Clinton Foundation to Mos Def.
image courtesy of Aval Fonio
His next project is fonio. Fonio is a kind of millet that has a nutty flavor – a cross between couscous and quinoa in both appearance and texture. It has been cultivated in West Africa for thousands of years, and is a favorite in salads, stews, porridges and even ground into flour. It’s gluten-free and nutritious because of two amino acids, cystine and methionine, which make it a favorite to be baked into bread for diabetics, those who are gluten intolerant or have celiac disease. It is, in short, the perfect new grain for juice-cleansing, diet-conscious yogis … if they can get their hands on it.
Date: Wednesday, 12 Feb 2014 22:57
Date: Wednesday, 12 Feb 2014 22:27
The Atlantic's Emily Badger profiles the Digital Matatus project which highlights self-organizing aspects of informal transport systems:
"matatus" in Nairobi exist somewhere between underground gypsy cabs and MTA bus service. The minibuses themselves aren't owned by any government agency. The fares aren't regulated by the city. The routes are vaguely based on a bus network that existed in Nairobi some 30 years ago, but they've since shifted and multiplied and expanded at the region's edges.
As a result, a matatu driver on "route 45" in the northeast part of Nairobi may know next to nothing about the lines that service the other half of town. Not surprisingly, many passengers on board know little about them, either. Riders who navigate the matatu system rely on it in parts, using only the lines they know and the unofficial stops they're sure actually exist. As for the network as a whole – there's never even been a map of it.
This sounds like controlled chaos, although it more or less describes how transit works in much of the world outside of North America and Europe. But amid the 130 or so unregulated matatu lines in metro Nairobi, there's an admirable logic. In the absence of a formal public transit system in Kenya's capital, people have created a comprehensive – if imperfect – one on their own. And now we know that it looks like this (click the images to enlarge)...[continue reading]
Date: Tuesday, 11 Feb 2014 08:29
We are well passed idea stage now.More here
64% of the ventures on the Venture Capital for Africa platform generated revenue by their second year. On average, startups secured USD 80,000 in funding vs. expansion companies that secured USD 237,000. When we asked 90 companies about their progress, 70 had secured more than USD 12 million in funding. Take for example Vivify in Egypt that closed USD 70K and is now raising 1.2 million, Njorku in Cameroon that secured Angel investment from the US, UpEnergy in Uganda that closed USD 1 million and is seeking the same amount in debt. We are talking about a new brand of company building exciting businesses in some of Africa’s greatest markets. Scalable enterprises that have significant social implications. See a break down of the ventures on VC4Africa.
Date: Monday, 10 Feb 2014 07:20
CNN profiles award winning paper bag manufacturer, Andrew Mupuya:
via Good News
...To start out his small operation, Mupuya figured out he needed a capital of 36,000 Ugandan shillings ($14). He raised the first $11 from selling 70 kilos of used plastic bottles he'd collected over one week. Mupuya then borrowed the remaining $3 from his school teacher and embarked on his entrepreneurial journey producing paper bags on a small scale. Since then, the business has grown extensively and today, at the age of 21, Mupuya is the owner of Youth Entrepreneurial Link Investments (YELI), the first registered Ugandan company to make paper bags.
Image courtesy of CNN
The young entrepreneur employs 16 people who produce up to 20,000 paper bags each week. His long list of clients includes restaurants, retail stores, supermarkets, medical centers, as well as multinational companies like Samsung -- YELI has made about 1,000 niche bags for the local stores of the electronics company.
via Good News
Date: Thursday, 06 Feb 2014 08:55
artisans in Democratic Republic of Congo through their handmade items, the unique fabric, and the women’s stories of resilience and hope. Each product sold is unique to the website and sold as a limited edition piece. Our fabric is one of a kind and each piece tells a story.
Date: Wednesday, 05 Feb 2014 21:34
square to hubless to powered. The latest wheel reinvention to make the, er, rounds comes from Ackeem Ngwenya, a student of Innovation Design Engineering at London's RCA. Ngwenya's designed something that looks simultaneously nutty and completely feasible: A shape-shifting wheel he's calling "Roadless."via Inhabitat
The "Why" of it is pretty simple. Ngwenya grew up in rural Africa, where "head-loading" remains the most practical way to transport goods, as arduous and inefficient as it is. He reckons that a shape-shifting wheel could adapt to different terrains, thus providing a one-size-fits-all solution for load-carrying carts, bikes or vehicles in areas with no infrastructure...[continue reading]
Miriam's story from ackeem ngwenya on Vimeo.
Date: Wednesday, 05 Feb 2014 21:12
From Eseohe Arhebamen-Yamasaki:via DNAInfo
By preserving and encouraging local traditions, and improving local economies, this fashion line helps out in the fight against poverty- specifically, African poverty and underdevelopment.
It's a small step, but the hope is that this small step grows and makes real change happen.
I'm working with small-scale artisans and craftspeople in sub-Saharan Africa to produce a beautiful silk patterned bralette-and-brief set...[continue reading]
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