11 African tech innovators to keep your eye on

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Prominent technology conference Tech4Africa has announced 11 finalists for its inaugural Innovation Award. The award aims to recognise the important role technological innovation will have in solving a number of the problems which are unique to Africa.

The 11 finalists chosen by the conference organisers are variously attempting to tackle everything from road deaths and real-time video streaming in rural areas to tender corruption.

“The Tech4Africa Innovation Award is another mechanism for us to realise our goal to engage, inspire, enable and innovate,” says Gareth Knight, MD of Tech4Africa. “Africa has produced some incredible innovations to address problems that are considered unique, although these solutions often find traction around the globe”.

“We want to recognise a single person or company that has developed something that has changed the lives of people in Africa. A great number of successful innovations emerge every year, yet many slip under the radar and this is something we hope to remedy through this initiative.”

The award recognises “homegrown innovation” and aims to “further inspire the industry to develop global solutions to uniquely African challenges”.

It also serves as a platform to expose what Africans are doing with the web and other emerging technologies, and provide them with valuable exposure amongst fellow entrepreneurs, technologists and media.

The conference organisers say the award is a “great opportunity” for the companies involved and hope that the exposure offered by the award will “build an ecosystem that propels them, and others, to do further great things”.

The 11 award finalists are:

  • The Artist Project: ARTIST (Adaptive Real-Time Internet Streaming Technology) is a project focused on introducing an appropriate technology for low infrastructure regions (developing countries) to broadcast minimum-delay live video streams over the Internet with improved perceived picture quality than is currently possible with ‘off the shelf’ solutions.

  • iDRIVE.co.za: Helping to reduce the high number of road deaths in South Africa,iDRIVE.co.za is a digital platform which connects learner drivers with accredited and verified driving instructors.
  • Project Masiluleke: Project Masiluleke employs mobile phones and other technologies as high impact, low-cost tools, in the fight against HIV/AIDS in South Africa.
  • PayU Computing: PAYU aims to increase the availability of computing devices and Internet to the masses in East Africa by providing affordable access to these services.
  • Sentigol [Tendersure]: TenderSure is a web based tendering tool, designed to combat corruption and high costs often associated with the tender process, whilst offering free and fair competition.
  • Powertime: Powertime offers prepaid electricity users in South Africa the convenience of buying electricity on their mobile, whilst providing useful information on their energy usage and smart ways to contribute to more efficient use.
  • MISS: MISS (Mobile Information System Services) is an online (mobile and web) based public transport integrated communication system. It aims to provide a simple answer to the question: how do I get from A to B using public transport?
  • Evalunet: EvaluNet, an education software developer, creates simple educational software products that solve real problems that South African teachers and children face daily.
  • Snapbill: SnapBill is an automated billing system that allows you to easily sell your services online.
  • Whive: Whive, Social Media Platform, aims to enhance access of information to Africans including millions of mobile phone subscribers across Africa by using SMS technology to provide content in their local languages on their mobile phones.
  • TxtAlert: TxtAlert is a mobile technology platform designed to improve adherence to Anti-Retroviral Treatment (ART). The system alerts ART patients about their next visits to the clinic. It also allows a patient to send a “please call me” message, free of charge, when they want to re-schedule their next clinic appointment.
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