It’s ironic that the African continent creates some of the most positive, innovative technological advancements, and at the same time most of its inhabitants don’t have function broadband capabilities. It’s been said that necessity is the mother of invention, and in Kenya at least, frontiers are routinely being pushed in regards brilliant ideas positively impacting lives. The BBC has recently run an encouraging reportage on how computerized stock lists, mobile phone apps and solar-powered medical boxes are bridging the gap between rich and poor and helping those in remote rural areas.
One of these startling advancements is a new app developed by two young students at Makere University in Kampala – “an app that matches smartphone technology with the pinard horn, which has been in use for over 100 years to monitor the heart rate of unborn babies.” This invention has placed twentieth in the recent global Microsoft Imagine Cup. Other inspiring ways to save lives include the aforementioned computerization of medical stock lists, providing physicians with an up-to-date inventory – often with life or death consequences.
The article also shows how Kenya’s business sector is interrelated and supportive of its communities – helping to invest in both the medical sector burgeoning tech sector. Dr Felix Olale is executive chairman at investment banking firm Excelsior Firm, based in Nairobi and is also an adviser to the Kenyan government, “If we can take technology and build off of the infrastructure that’s already in place, what that does, it allows us to push these at a low investment for the amount of return that you actually get,” he says. These pioneering ideas are confirmation that huge amounts of investment money are not necessary, but rather ingenuity and the desire to positively help your community – these are paramount. Technology, once again, is proving to be the great modern democratizer.