11 African startups among world’s top 100 social tech innovations

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Eleven African social impact tech startups have been named among the world’s top 100 most inspiring social innovations using digital technology of 2016 by Nominet Trust.

The NT100, compiled by UK-based Nominet Trust, aims to amplify the power of the global tech for good community, helping the world’s most inspiring ventures to raise their profile and potentially secure investment.

This year’s list features 11 African ventures, accounting for over 10 per cent of the total 100 – demonstrating the continent’s dedication to using tech for social change.

Nominet Trust said this year Kenya and South Africa proved particularly strong hubs of social tech innovation within the African continent.

The Kenyan startups making the cut are OneUni – claiming to be Africa’s first smartphone-based degree programme; Digital Matatus, which digital maps Nairobi’s local informal taxi network; Illuminum Greenhouses, which produces high-tech greenhouses for farmers; free online training platform Tunapanda Institute; and popular media platform Well Told Story.

South Africa’s chosen candidates are Lumkani – for its shack fire detection system; medical diagnostic app Vula Mobile; and free recruitment app Giraffe.

Nigeria’s Follow the Money also made the list, with its citizen activism app for tracking aid money; as did Tanzania’s Ambulance Taxi – an Uber for medical emergencies. Ethiopia’s SAPARM, which helps pastoralists find pastures using satellite imagery, completes the African list.

“With Africa maintaining its position as the world’s second largest mobile market, and local entrepreneurship and access to education becoming increasingly widespread, we hope to see many more tech-savvy individuals and organisations leading Africa’s social-tech movement at a local and national level,” said Vicki Hearn, director of Nominet Trust.

“As these inspiring stories demonstrate, with an idea, the right tech tools and a powerful desire to change the status quo, many more of us can now make a stand against the world’s most pressing social challenges. The NT100 seeks to champion the pioneers doing just that, in the hope that it inspires others to follow in their footsteps.”

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Inspired and excited by the African tech entrepreneurial scene, Gabriella spends her time travelling around the continent to report on the most innovative tech startups, the most active investors, and the latest trends emerging in the ecosystem.

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