How Technology Is Providing Solutions For Market Gaps In Africa

How Technology Is Providing Solutions For Market Gaps In Africa
Retail

PSFK attended Mashable's Social Good Summit to learn more about how technology is changing Africa's markets

Jiwon Kim
  • 20 september 2017

The annual Social Good Summit is hosted by the United Nations Foundation, Mashable and the United Nations Development Programme to bring together world leaders, philanthropists, activists and entrepreneurs to talk about their work. The conference always focuses on how technologies can improve the world by the year 2030.

PSFK attended the conference for a session called Africa’s Digital Renaissance, moderated by Bob Collymore, CEO of Safaricom, a communications company and pioneer of M-PESA, the world’s most developed mobile payment system. Collymore spoke to Chowberry CEO Oscar Ekponimo and Juliana Rotich, co-founder and executive director of Ushahidi, a nonprofit tech company that develops free and open-source software for information collection, interactive mapping and data curation, about how technology has been furthering emerging markets in Africa, improving lives and creating a more sustainable world.

A growing number of companies and entrepreneurs are finding gaps and holes in multiple markets, leading them to explore tech solutions to these problems. Africa is no different. With the population quickly becoming equipped with mobile phones, this uptake is paving the way to find inclusive ways to help individuals and communities. From providing clean energy solutions to solving hunger problems, mobile phones are changing the world.

Oscar Ekponimo started Chowberry to provide food for Nigerians struggling with hunger, while reducing food waste and helping sellers to earn more money. “We facilitate the redistribution of those products that would have otherwise gone to waste to underserved communities and people who are facing food poverty,” Ekponimo explained.

Chowberry software allows retailers to easily keep track of food, giving them the opportunity to sell off expiring food to be sold for significantly cheaper to charities and other public service organizations. Merchants can still make a profit without having to discard and waste food.

Phones have also empowered those in rural areas by opening access to financial services for the first time. Different problems are being resolved not by the work of separate sectors, but through partnerships and technology. The right kinds of partnerships can accelerate the use of technology to better the world while opening opportunities within different markets.

“It’s the frontier for extending the technology renaissance… We have public and private partnerships… We cannot do it alone,” Rotich said. When entrepreneurs and companies take on these projects, it helps governments retain data to control epidemics, migration patterns and forecast other future decisions. At the same time, people benefit and revenue that was not generated before starts to show up. Technology is making it possible to better the lives of the public while building and growing companies.

Social Good Summit


Lead Image: Chowberry via Facebook

The annual Social Good Summit is hosted by the United Nations Foundation, Mashable and the United Nations Development Programme to bring together world leaders, philanthropists, activists and entrepreneurs to talk about their work. The conference always focuses on how technologies can improve the world by the year 2030.

+Africa
+Africa
+Facebook
+financial services
+mashable
+mobile
+retail
+technology
+Ushahidi
+work

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