Six amazing innovations by Africans in 2023

To a large extent, Africans are leading innovators because their environments are dysfunctional. When improvisation becomes culture, innovative outliers often emerge.

While the world seems preoccupied with artificial intelligence (AI) hype, innovation continues and in 2023, Africa was home to some of the most remarkable and inspiring inventions in various fields, from health to energy and even AI.

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Innovation at home

FlexiGyn (South Africa)

FlexiGyn, developed by Edmund Wessels of Vas MedTech, is a handheld device designed for gynecologists to examine and treat the uterus without anesthesia.

Wessels, a biomedical engineer and PhD student at the University of Cape Town, created FlexiGyn to address reproductive healthcare challenges in remote areas that don’t have proper health infrastructure.

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The device is flexible, battery-powered, and can be operated with one hand. It improves the convenience of hysteroscopies by replacing traditional, uncomfortable rigid systems with a small, flexible device.

FlexiGyn’s innovative design includes a disposable sheath, eliminating the need for frequent sterilisation and enhancing efficiency in uterus examinations.

Edmund Wessels was awarded the 2023 Royal Academy of Engineering Africa Prize for his invention. Video: YouTube

The rest of the continent

WAGA Power Pack (Tanzania)

Created by Gibson Kawago, a Tanzanian electrical engineer, WAGA Power Pack is a portable device that utilises recycled laptop batteries to provide power for electric bikes, power banks, solar lights, businesses and homes. It addresses issues of unstable electricity in Tanzania.

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IFIOK (Nigeria)

Developed by Uyai Bassey, IFIOK is a low-priced futuristic smartphone without a screen, using holographic display and voice-enabled AI interaction. Priced at a fraction of Nigeria’s minimum wage, it also features location detection and an in-built lie detector.

Kumulus (Morocco)

Founded by Abderrahmane Ait Ali, Kumulus produces drinking water from the air using solar power and patented technology. The startup aims to provide sustainable and affordable water solutions for remote communities, offering a pay-as-you-go model for users.

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Kubik (Ethiopia & Kenya)

Kubik transforms recycled plastic waste into affordable, interlocking building materials, addressing Africa’s housing deficit and waste problems. By incentivising collectors and selling products primarily to real estate developers, Kubik removes substantial amounts of plastic waste from landfills.

Medbox (Ghana)

Created by Emmanuel Ofori Devi, Medbox is a healthcare monitoring system that records a patient’s vitals and transmits them to healthcare professionals. This innovation aims to provide telemedicine solutions that are particularly beneficial for chronically ill individuals, who will be able to receive medical attention and pharmaceuticals in the comfort of their homes.


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