The Kenya National Farmers Awards, an annual fete that seeks to celebrate the country’s finest in farming and now in its fourth year, is the latest stab by the country at enticing especially women and youth in farming, a constituency traditionally neglected in food production.
The most rapid technological advances in the last 30 years have been in the areas of the computer and the internet. Information technology can help us make Cleanleaps in many ways and we’ll track the most relevant developments here.
Smart Solar's remote monitoring of solar power systems is not new even to BBOXX, but collaboration with Aeris will mean these systems will use one network and so can be used globally without the need for configuring local networks. It lowers supply-chain costs and deployment time. It means these systems can also be used anywhere in the world.
In Nairobi telecommunications firm MTN have opened a new data office with 70 racks aimed at supporting small to medium sized businesses. Liquid Telecom’s East Africa Data Centre has 600 racks and IBM have recently opened a cognitive cloud computing service in conjunction with Sidian Bank. Kenya is now a growing hub for online supported services and cloud technology not just in East Africa, but across the continent as a whole.
Identity means everything to humankind. We are who we are because we hold onto an image of ourselves. This is power. It is control. Nothing gives people control over their lives more than financial identity. It’s with this knowledge that the Android app called TALA (formerly InVenture) came into play, riding on that concept. TALA is a FinTech (Financial Technology) company and app that allows customers in East Africa to access loans and other forms of credit directly through their mobile phones. The app collects data from around 10,000 data points and assesses borrowing potential to create a financial profile of the user.
Globally, there are currently 1.5 billion people who have no access to the main grid. Currently, Kenya stands at 83% on mobile penetration, but only 20% of these statistics have their households connected to the main grid. The question then becomes how possible to power these mobile gadgets? Jiko Power is trying to address this problem. ‘Jiko’ in Swahili means a cookstove, while ‘Power’ essentially connotes the electrical power derived from the heat generated from the firewood that is used in the stove.
Zipline, a robotics company based in California, recently launched the use of medical drones to transport bloods to remote hospitals in the Western province of Rwanda, that have challenges with lack of proper infrastructure and quick access to medical supplies. The launch at Kabgayi hospital, in the Southern Province of Rwanda was in the presence of HE Paul Kagame, the President of Rwanda.
That UAVs can fly brings immediate advantages in terms of how they may travel, and the locations they can reach — often surpassing what’s possible with conventional means of transport. Meanwhile, refinements in computer systems has led to advanced navigation and control systems being embedded within UAV systems — a development that’s been crucial in enabling UAV services to function effectively. With improvements in performance, even consumer grade UAVs are able to carry and deliver small packages over considerable distances.
Project Loon the research program with the ambitious vision of delivering global Internet coverage is well underway. And with some luck, by the end of this year we’ll have a great indication of what the project means for the dream of universal Internet access. Project Loon is a flagship of X (previously Google X), the five-year old experimental projects lab fostering so-called ‘moonshot’ projects from Alphabet, the parent company behind Google. By any measure Project Loon is an undertaking of truly global proportions — it involves establishing a fleet of high-altitude balloons that will form a network of Internet-carrying transceivers.
Use of scalable off-grid solutions in advancing rural electrification is important in developing worlds. Last year, Kenya awarded the first utility concession permit to a off-grid power company to generate, distribute and sell power. This year marks an important stage for the project that will demonstrate how these solutions can fit into the agenda, and probably pave the way for entry of more private players of scalable off-grid energy generation and supply solutions.
When texting was first introduced in Kenya, it gained great popularity among mobile subscribers because it was much cheaper than making phone calls. That’s what really fueled the texting culture; a culture now finding its way into the agricultural sector through Illuminum Greenhouses - greenhouses that text you when resources are getting low.