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10 African Tech Shapers To Know In Lieu of The Coronavirus Pandemic

The birth of technology and its progressive evolvement over the years is worth all the efforts because of the solutions that technology offers, making life easier, activities faster, which, in turn, causes humans to live better.

As much as technological inventions are necessary, celebrating our African inventors in a bid to recognize their impacts in the tech world and also spur Africans, in general, to be more innovative is just as important.

This article focuses on 10 African Tech-inventors who have risen to cushion the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic by creating tech solutions worth applauding.

Wale Adeosun—Chatbots and Self-assessments.

Wale Adeosun is the CEO and Co-founder of Wellvis Health, a Nigeria based company that developed the COVID-19 Triage Tool to help users self-assess their coronavirus risk category based on their symptoms and their exposure history. 

Asides from being accessible to over 380,000 people since its launch on March 19, the WhatsApp chatbots have also reduced unnecessary callers on the NCDC hotlines as users are given medical advice based on their responses or directed to a medical facility for further checkup.

This Chatbot has also been adopted by the South African government, where it has been converted into 5 languages and reached more than 3.5 million users.

Temie Giwa-Tunbosun— LifeBank

In order to meet up with the needs that the pandemic inadvertently created, Temie Giwa-Tunbosun and her team of excellent innovators came up with a mobile testing unit.

This mobile testing unit works as a website that provides an exhaustive list of every Coronavirus-related equipment and also a system where damaged ventilators are repaired across Nigeria while new ventilators and other scarce medical equipment are delivered to health centers in dire need of them.

Wambura Kimunyu— Eneza Education

Wambura Kimunyu is the CEO of Eneza Education, an Edtech in Kenya that leverages on digital tools to achieve proper education, maximizing the social enterprise to educate Kenyan citizens.

Eneza Education works as curriculum-based learning modules designed to be accessible to most households via mobile phones.

These classes are open to Basic 12 students and above, in order to ensure that education isn’t abandoned due to the Coronavirus pandemic that has caused the closure of schools and other education-related facilities.

Tayo Oviosu— Paga

Paga is a mobile financial platform owned by Tayo Oviosu, a Nigerian entrepreneur. It offers digital payment solutions such as transfer and receipt of money through mobile phones, thereby creating a multi-channel network for over 14 million customers in Nigeria to transfer and receive money. 

Paga recently entered a partnership with Visa to transact on its global network as well as Flutterwave to allow Paga wallet users to access products from merchants on the Flutterwave merchant service with a simple and secure one-click payment.

This is another cashless service that successfully helps to prevent the risk of contracting the virus through handling money.

Barbara Mallinson—Obami

Launched on the shores of South Africa with Barbara Mallinson as its founder and CEO, Obami has been designed to be a social learning platform that provides a secure space for people to create or join learning communities with extensive user-friendly course authoring and management tools. 

The Obami website provides access to the South African coronavirus portal to provide its users with more information on the outbreak within the country. This includes news and updates on cases as well as resources and contacts needed for Coronavirus-related matters.

Kees van Lede—CarePay

As mobile phones are now the easiest technological gadget to own, CarePay has created the M-TIBA app for mobile phones where patients can make use of their savings or private insurance schemes to access treatment for themselves.

CarePay is a Kenyan startup that helps users manage funds for their healthcare. This system links directly to clinics and healthcare payers like insurers and donors for quick, efficient, and transparent treatment and payment. 

With funds limited to only healthcare, this provides a reserve for users to take care of an illness or medical condition without worrying about sourcing for clinical funds.

Gregory Rockson—mPharma

Gregory Rockson is the brain behind mPharma, a Ghana-founded startup. mPharma is, however, not only active in Ghana but is also operational in 5 African countries, partners with 50 hospitals, and has 200 pharmacies in its network. 

It has a mission to increase access to high-quality medications as well as affordable medications for patients by offering a drug benefits service to health insurance and pharmaceutical companies.

The startup launched the price control program “Mutti Keep My Price” for chronic patients to access drugs even with the potential drug supply shortage and price increment due to the present break in the drug supply chain as a result of the pandemic.

Abasi Ene-Obong—54gene

Abasi Ene-Obong is the Founder and CEO of 54gene, a health technology company advancing the state of healthcare through large scale discovery and translational research, advanced molecular diagnostics, and clinical programs for the benefit of Africans and the global population.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, 54gene’s COVID-19 response has been geared at increasing testing capacity across Nigeria. It started out by initiating a $500,000 raise to purchase vital testing equipment for public laboratories across the country. In addition, 54gene built COVID-19 mobile labs across 4 states in Nigeria outside of its physical laboratory in Lagos, offering COVID-19 testing services to Lagos, Ogun, Kano, Abuja and Ekiti states.

The company’s vision is to ultimately deliver on the promise of precision medicine for Africans and the global population.

Peter Njonjo—Twiga Foods

Food is essential for living, but in the light of the ongoing pandemic, accessing the market is difficult for both farmers and buyers. This is the idea behind Twiga Foods, co-founded by Peter Njonjo.

It operates a mobile-based cashless platform that links farmers and vendors to fair, trusted, and modern markets. The startup provides a ‘complete supply chain’ for a variety of products including fruits and vegetables stored in perfect storage conditions.

Twiga Foods has its food sources from more than 17000 producers and delivers to over 8000 consumers; an applaudable move in this period especially as it sustains the rural communities in Kenya.

Jessica Boostra—Yebo Fresh

Jessica Boostra is the founder of Yebo Fresh; South Africa based e-commerce platform that deals with the availability of groceries for all South African families.

The startup has continued to serve its South African customers during the lockdown with an assortment of groceries including dry foods, fruits and vegetables, frozen foods, household items, and toiletries.

Yebo Fresh can be regarded as a “Shop at Home” platform which helps promote social distancing as costumers do not have to go down to supermarkets or shops to get daily necessities.

Technology is no doubt a worthy investment and with the efforts and contributions of everyone, we can build tech solutions that will stand the test of time in the face of any futuristic outbreak.

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