News / Africa

Africa’s Tech Innovators Show Off at 'Demo Africa' in Nairobi

Africa’s Tech Innovators Show Off at 'Demo Africa' in Nairobii
X
October 24, 2013 7:23 PM
From games to mobile payment systems, entrepreneurs from across Africa are getting together in Nairobi, Kenya, to pitch their high-tech innovations to potential investors and partners. VOA East Africa Correspondent Gabe Joselow reports on some of the newest trends popping up at Demo Africa.
Africa’s Tech Innovators Show Off at 'Demo Africa' in Nairobi
Gabe Joselow
From games to mobile payment systems, entrepreneurs from across Africa are getting together in Nairobi, Kenya, to pitch their high-tech innovations to potential investors and partners. Some of the newest trends are on display at Demo Africa.
 
By his stall at the back of the showroom floor, Bayo Puddicombe of Nigeria plays a bus-driving game on his phone as he touts a new mobile payment system called ChopUP.
 
“ChopUP is a social platform that helps local developers to monetize using locally available payment messages, such as premium SMS and mobile money,” said Puddicombe.
 
The game shows how one can go to a “garage” for a bus and buy upgrades by using ChopUP to send the payment through existing mobile money transfer services.

Puddicombe said the idea came to him following some early disappointments when he first tried to launch the game.
 
"I made it available on the Nokia store for $1, six months later, I had seven downloads. It wasn’t the brightest spot on my existence, but we realized that most of our target audience didn’t have credit cards and all that, they didn’t have the means to do those kinds of transactions,” he said.

Tech companies showcase their latest innovations at Demo Africa in Nairobi, Kenya, Oct. 24, 2013. (G. Joselow/VOA)Tech companies showcase their latest innovations at Demo Africa in Nairobi, Kenya, Oct. 24, 2013. (G. Joselow/VOA)
x
Tech companies showcase their latest innovations at Demo Africa in Nairobi, Kenya, Oct. 24, 2013. (G. Joselow/VOA)
Tech companies showcase their latest innovations at Demo Africa in Nairobi, Kenya, Oct. 24, 2013. (G. Joselow/VOA)
Creative, useful products

The companies launching products here at Demo Africa range from new social media platforms, event organizing applications and many new ways to buy things online.
 
The event’s producer, Harry Hare, said organizers had to select the best products from more than 300 applications.
 
“So what we do is we curate them from different countries, then we take them through a whole process of adjudication and preparation, and find the best 40 out of those and we bring them to launch in Nairobi,” said Hare.
 
Hare said he has noticed a theme of more hardware products being showcased compared to the previous year, when mobile applications and software dominated. Among them is an on-demand streaming media player from Kenya’s Able Wireless Company. The company's CEO, Kahenya Kamunya, explained how it works.
 
“You get a black box, plug it into your TV set, put it into power, it connects to a Wi-Fi network and basically starts streaming content. So you get to choose what you want to watch on demand, you have a remote control, search, press ‘ok’ and you’re good to go,” he said.

More hardware products are launched compared to last year at Demo Africa, including this new on-demand media box by Kenya's Able Wireless, Oct. 24, 2013. (G. Joselow/VOA)More hardware products are launched compared to last year at Demo Africa, including this new on-demand media box by Kenya's Able Wireless, Oct. 24, 2013. (G. Joselow/VOA)
x
More hardware products are launched compared to last year at Demo Africa, including this new on-demand media box by Kenya's Able Wireless, Oct. 24, 2013. (G. Joselow/VOA)
More hardware products are launched compared to last year at Demo Africa, including this new on-demand media box by Kenya's Able Wireless, Oct. 24, 2013. (G. Joselow/VOA)
Kamunya said the little plastic box will be assembled in Kenya. It costs a little less than $100, and can provide Internet in addition to streaming movies, news and other video content.
 
“If you don’t have access to Internet and there’s no existing infrastructure there, we bring the infrastructure to your neighborhood and this device will be able to connect to our infrastructure, so you’ll ideally just need the box,” he said.
 
Able Wireless already has $1.5 million in funding for the product, which Kamunya expects to launch next month.
 
Other companies here at Demo Africa are hoping to raise a bit more money for their products, or find partners to help distribute or further develop their ideas.

You May Like

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Researcher: Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor at Symposium on Obesity, Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome says problem involves more than calorie intake, warns of worldwide health impact More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Gudluck from: Nigeria
November 01, 2013 8:39 PM
Realy making sence....but can that work on BB phone?

by: kanet mike from: uganda
October 26, 2013 5:15 AM
At the Demo, we are going to be joined by the innovative team of Ugandan youths developing a social networking app called #vibzapp. you can check it out at vibzapp.myinstapage.com and follow at @vibzapp

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thoughti
X
George Putic
May 26, 2015 9:26 PM
Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.

VOA Blogs