Africa needs to invest in more mini grid and off grid solutions to provide more people with power and support economic growth and social transformation, so says Africa Progress Panel - led by former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan. Traditional methods of supplying power are unreliable and experience many challenges, with mini grids and off grids as modern methods can help bridge that gap. Their demand is increasing and costs decreasing.
In Kenya 17.3 million people lack access to clean water with water borne diseases like diarrhea and Cholera being the leading cause of death for children under five years. But a group of women have found a low cost method of purifying water, which is now backed by science - embracing seeds from the wonder tree Moringa oleifera.
Kenya is a first in many a renewable energy innovation. The latest addition to this space is a solar-powered motorbike, a prototype of its kind in the transport sector. With the innovation of rural transportation interfacing with renewable energy, a lot of benefits are set to be realized in the rural transportation and trade sectors.
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.
The new year, 2017, has begun in earnest for the cleantech scene in Kenya, as M-KOPA, a local Kenyan clean energy company has been named among other contenders as an innovative outfit in the Global Cleantech 100. The company leverages mobile money penetration in providing solar energy to bottom-of-the-pyramid off-grid rural populations in Kenya and the region.
Kenya Arid and Semi Arid lands comprise of 70 percent of total country land although they host only about 20 percent of population. These arid and semi arid areas are affected with massive food shortage, water shortage and drought, with up to 5 million people affected every year. Only 5 percent have access to electricity through the national grid. While irrigation could help, diesel and petrol powered pumps are not economically feasible. Solar power pumps, which have been proved to be cost effective in such areas due to low maintenance and operation cost can help.
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.
In Kenya’s semi arid regions grappling with climate change, rural communities are turning their attention to growing the drought tolerant melia volkensii (mukau) tree. This fast maturing hardwood tree dubbed the mahogany of the dry lands, has many uses, and its timber is lucrative and in demand. A hectare of mature melia volkensii trees, can earn a farmer over Kshs3 million (USD $30,000) and harvesting can begin at 10 years in ideal weather conditions.
There are over 500 million smallholder farmers globally, farming plots of land less than 2 ha in area. Many are struggling to make a living from farming and are looking for ways to increase productivity. Research shows that small farm productivity can be doubled by irrigation. However, many smallholder farmers struggle to irrigate their land. The solution: a sustainable method of irrigation which decouples volumes of irrigation water from volumes of gasoline or diesel fuel consumed - the SF1 solar pump from Futurepump.
A farmer in Kenya is reaping massive benefits from solar-enhanced dairy-farming. In order to boost production, Willy Kirwa, a dairy farmer located in Eldoret (Western region of Kenya in the Rift Valley) invested $40,000 USD in a modern state-of-the art solar power system on his 50-acre farm to help in lighting and processing of milk.