The African continent is a region brimming with resources ranging from land and forest, to minerals, as well as oil and gas. She also boasts of a vast population of human resources, being home to more than 50 nations and an estimated population of over a billion people. Africa occupies a key position on the global map.
This region is described as being, “… full of promise and untapped riches”. However, she continues to struggle to maximize her potentials. Africa faces a lot of problems: poverty, poor educational systems, poor governance, over population, unemployment, insecurity and a myriad of prevailing challenges. Something needs to be done to change this, and fast!
In the words of Betty Williams, “There is no use talking about the problem unless you talk about the solution.”
Technology has been identified as an effective tool for providing solutions to Africa’s numerous setbacks. It may not solve all our problems, but it will solve many, and many are much more than none. In developed countries, technology has engineered and boosted every advancement recorded.
Technologies have influenced and reshaped methods of communication with the introduction of the internet and the development of mobile communication devices; also education, with the introduction of virtual learning environments to enable distance learning; and healthcare, by helping people live healthier, longer lives.
Even employment processes have become automated with the introduction of the Applicant Tracking Systems and a variety of software solutions to make recruiting easier and faster. Africa can benefit greatly by leveraging these innovations.
However, for development and reformation to occur, bold steps are required from individuals, organizations, and the governments in Africa. The adoption of technology by Africa is surely encouraging a ‘tech savvy’ generation to create their own opportunities, develop solutions to their own challenges, become innovators and create employment. After all, this region is revealed to have about 70% of it’s population in the 30-year age bracket, thus blessed with one of the youngest populations in the world. No one is coming to save Africa, so Africans must take up this daunting responsibility. This is the motivation that drives Discover X, an event scheduled to hold in March 2019, in Lagos, Nigeria.
Discover X is an event that seeks to source for solutions to Africa’s problems through innovation, using technologies such as Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence and VR/AR/MR. A major objective of this project is to expand our audience on a global scale, position Africa as the leading avenue for generating tech based solutions in the world. With its theme tagged ‘Collaboration’, it is expected to be the largest hackathon event ever held in Africa with participants from tech hubs from across the globe competing to build workable solutions. It is also projected to foster the building of companies in Africa, with disruptive technologies that would in turn create jobs and better the lives of Africans.
The major areas of focus have been categorized under different fields: Financial Inclusion, Digital Tourism, Agro-innovation, Future Of Mobility, Future Of Work, Smart City, Digital Governance, ReThink Retirement, Inclusive Insurance, Health 1.0, Inclusive Insurance, Save The Climate. The hackathon will last for forty hours with prizes to be won by outstanding teams. Discover X is positioned to attract partnership from the Government, Media outlets, Civil societies, Venture capitalists, Tertiary Institutions and other parastatals, supporting in the various stages of implementation, incubation, publicity, and funding. The ultimate goal will be commercialization of the solutions developed at the hackathon.
So, perhaps you are wondering, why Discover X? Well, because it is an opportunity to build an Eco-System of innovative thinkers from in and outside of the technology space – developers, designers, entrepreneurs and others who have game-changing ideas. Basically, it is solution driven.
A few years ago, in a bid to arrest the issue of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) plaguing South Africa and the rest of the nations of Africa, Kutullo Makgatho created a baby monitoring app. With a BSc in Information Technology and Management, she designed the app and accompanying kit, using wireless communication to record and transmit information like rate of breathing, pulse, blood pressure, temperature and level of discomfort – signs that would help predict the child’s need for medical attention.
This solution would invariably lead to a decline in infant deaths. This example, amongst many, clearly buttresses the need for the promotion and pursuit of tech based innovations for Africa. Quite aptly, as stated by Victor Tubotamuno, the CEO & Founder Spurbuddy, Discover X, “Innovation is the new competitive advantage.” Discover X is organized by Spurbuddy, a product design agency in Nigeria. Spurbuddy creates handcrafted experiences for brands to engage with their customers.