Eight Trends in African Innovation

Strategy Briefing

About This Report

Sep 2019

With Africa on the rise, consumer opportunities have typically been looked at through socioeconomic metrics. With the challenges the continent faces, opportunities can be developed by turning challenges into concepts and turning those concepts into opportunities. We have identified eight approaches that see innovation and solution provision going hand in hand. This will foster economic empowerment, enabling Africa to continue its story as a continent on the rise.

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Eight Trends in African Innovation

Key Findings

Opportunities exist across all industries

Across all consumer industries, innovation on the continent is seeing new products and services being offered, many addressing the challenges the continent faces and finding ways to work around them.

Keep it local

Local means not just tapping into the resources potentially available on the continent, but on the skills and ideas of its people, from local ingredients and fabrics to cultural tastes.

Flexibility to address new ideas

In many ways, developing nations have the advantage of “starting from scratch” providing the continent the flexibility to try out new ideas, and forging more dramatically on those technologies and concepts related to the environment.

Technology is bringing Africa forward

With high mobile phones usage on the continent, companies are creating efficiencies, sharing knowledge and expanding into new markets and product categories. This allows residents, even in remote areas, to gain a foothold in business.

Small does not mean inconsequential

One success story in Africa is the small business, with an entrepreneurial spirit gripping many young people, who are already tech savvy, with some bringing back ideas they have gleaned from travelling abroad. Small businesses also have the ability to respond more readily to local needs.

Low-income consumers an opportunity

Those on low incomes, typically viewed as bottom-of-the-pyramid (BOP), offer tremendous opportunity if one is willing to meet the challenges in servicing them. 

Introduction

Scope
Key findings
A new template for innovation in Africa
Small businesses: a success story
Eight approaches to innovation

Accommodating Basic Services

Accommodating basic services: a step to economic independence
Case study: John Deere/Alluvial brings tractors to Nigerian farmers
Case study: impact Industries makes sanitary pads affordable

Going Rural

G o rural: a need for food production is making agriculture popular
Case study: Selina Wamucii is connecting farmers with technology
Case study: FalGates Foods aims to inspire young to take up farming

Sustainability

Sustainability: Driving innovation in a region fraught with scarcity
Case study: drybath Ltd saves on water and adds convenience
Case study: SoleRebels treads old ground with recyclable soles

Local Ingredients and Materials

Local ingredients: using local ingredients and processing
Local materials: showcasing African fabrics
Case study: YYTZ Argo-Processing helps with finalising products
Case study: eeZee Noodles introduces noodles to Zambia
Case study: Oh- Lief uses natural and local ingredients

Technology: Mobiles, Hubs and Apps

Mobiles, hubs and apps: connecting Africa
Case study: mobile MTN expands financial services beyond “wallet”
Case study: WawaPAY uses mobile apps and web to create efficiencies
Case study: verdant connects farmers to improve production

Partnerships and Cooperatives

Partnerships and cooperatives: People stronger as a group
Case study: OBRI Company unites farmers in a common goal
Case study: Nelwa’s Gelato Ice Cream partners with bakeries

Go Very Local

Go very local: there is innovation all around
Case study: MnM Clothing Line promotes African designs
Case study: parmalat cheese becomes part of township cuisine
Case study: SAB Miller (AB InBev ) and Diageo produce African beers

Creative Paying Systems

Paying systems: Microcredit, Blockchain and Pay-As-You-Go
Case study: Mastercard /Unilever provide microcredit to kiosks
Case study: easy solar electricity on a pay-as-you-go basis

Conclusion

A new template for innovation: So what do we focus on?
Being more solution-focused can gain the following: