Powering Africa’s future through innovation: The top 10 game-changing innovations to watch in 2024

Innovations in Africa are booming, highlighting the transformative power of creativity and ingenuity in driving human development, unlocking new avenues for growth. In On Africa has identified 10 of the most significant and groundbreaking innovations to arise from Africa’s vibrant landscape in 2023, spanning diverse key sectors – from agriculture and healthcare to education, energy and beyond – each showcasing Africa’s immense potential for impactful development and inclusive growth across the continent.

In On Africa performed a rigorous desktop assessment of various databases, industry reports and online news articles with the aim of uncovering African-founded innovations created or launched in 2023. The selection criteria also prioritised innovations that offered unique value propositions and that held the potential for widespread impact across the continent. Particularly, we sought solutions that address critical needs and challenges faced by African communities, solutions that are poised to drive both technological advancement and economic growth.

The innovations selected as Africa’s top 10, one per industry, each represent a disruptive solution and have potential to become real game changers on the continent – not just to keep an eye on in 2024 but catalysts for long-term progress.


Innovation: Kraken

Country of origin: Nigeria

Company/organisation/inventor responsible: Releaf

Summary: Kraken is an advanced nut desheller, which processes palm nuts by sustainably generating high quality inputs for food manufacturing. The holistic approach in palm nut farming and acquisition is aimed at removing food inefficiency within the food value chain. Releaf plans to continue identifying locations of potential farmlands through its geospatial software SITE, and to incorporate SALT’s inventorying, pricing, and connectivity capabilities too. By bringing these efficient processes closer to farmers, Releaf streamlines the value chain. 

Potential impact in 2024: Kraken’s palm oil production could unlock Africa’s vast agricultural potential, helping stabilise palm oil prices, provide accessibility and enhance food security, particularly for regions heavily dependent on palm oil. Kraken also promises to promote widespread innovative solutions for soil analysis, crop monitoring and irrigation management, ultimately providing farmers with data-driven insights to improve yields and handle food security concerns in a sustainable manner.

For more information, click here.

Kraken machinery contributes towards transforming food processing and profitable food supply chains in Africa
Image courtesy of Releaf


Innovation: KongaTV

Country of origin: Nigeria 

Company/organisation/inventor responsible: The Konga Group

Summary: With the aim of revolutionising online broadcasting and commerce industries in Nigeria, KongaTV was launched in October 2023 as a 24-hour marketplace for a wide range of products and services, from fast-moving consumer goods and computing to fashion and vehicles. KongaTV offers a unique platform for buyers and sellers across multiple categories, including home and kitchen essentials, mobile gadgets, power and renewable energy products, real estate listings, hotel bookings and flight tickets. KongaTV has already undergone internal test runs. Through its innovative streaming services, KongaTV will promote African narratives, entertainment and knowledge-sharing on a global scale by offering diverse and localised content, fostering cultural exchange and connectivity – a game changer in Africa’s e-commerce space.

Potential impact in 2024: KongaTV’s potential for impact rests upon its ability to foster increased competition and fair pricing, helping create a more democratic marketplace. Direct seller-buyer interaction could encourage price transparency, broadening product access. This could significantly expand e-commerce reach, especially in remote areas with limited connectivity. However, tackling hurdles such as limited internet access and product authenticity will require creative solutions to ensure long-term success.

For more information, click here.

KongaTV serves as an e-commerce seller’s platform affiliated with the Konga Group
Image courtesy of Tech Economy


Innovation:  SmartUni

Country of origin: Tanzania

Inventor: Pilika Nwaka Mwamsaku 

Company/organisation/inventor responsible: Mainstream Media Limited 

Summary: SmartUni allows students to access subject content and materials online on any smartphone device. Furthermore, students can access their timetables online, and this reduces the use of paper and print handouts, resulting in the promotion of eco-friendly practices. This innovation was curated in July 2022 and launched in February 2023. The SmartUni app provides a digital and holistic approach to higher education and technology, revitalising African academics by providing new growth mechanisms.

Potential impact in 2024: Given that SmartUni facilitates greater access to higher educational resources and has the potential to boost learner engagement and learning outcomes, it is well-positioned to bridge information gaps and foster collaboration among students as well. The digitalisation of education in Tanzania will be spearheaded by SmartUni, serving as a potential blueprint for other African countries that can open the door for more tech-driven learning methods across the continent. However, any significant impact will require addressing digital literacy and access disparities.  

For more information, click here.

SmartUni digitises the Tanzanian education system and positively impacts the education environment
Image courtesy of Face2Face Africa


Innovation: Discovery Green

Country of origin: South Africa

Company/organisation/inventor responsible: Discovery 

Summary: The plans to launch this new platform by September 2024 were announced in 2023. Created with the support of Discovery’s investment banking partner, Rand Merchant Bank, the platform aims to connect businesses throughout South Africa to affordable, renewable energy generated by utility-scale energy plants. It will offer this renewable energy to participating firms by 2026 and allow them to assuage their emissions and contribute to the national electricity generating gap. Discovery Green supports environmental sustainability and community engagement by promoting green spaces, biodiversity and eco-friendly initiatives. 

Potential impact in 2024: Discovery Green promises to diversify energy sources and reduce reliance on the national energy provider Eskom, potentially enhancing South Africa’s energy security to alleviate power shortages. However, navigating the intricate regulatory landscape within the energy sector poses a critical challenge. Other hurdles include grid capacity limitations in accommodating increased renewable energy integration. Despite these hurdles, Discovery Green aims to contribute to a healthier energy environment and to foster a sense of shared responsibility for a sustainable future in Africa. 

For more information, click here.

Discovery Green is a renewable energy platform that prioritises sustainability and the reduction of carbon footprints
Image courtesy of Stuff South Africa


Innovation: Shepherd V1  (Version 1) 

Country of origin: Botswana

Company/organisation/inventor responsible: Aeronautical Solutions BW 

Summary: The collaborative model between Aeronautical Solutions BW, the Botswana Digital & Innovation Hub and the Botswana Innovation Fund stands as a potential model that could be replicated across Africa to cultivate technological advancement. Through this successful partnership, Aeronautical Solutions BW launched Bostwana’s first Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), Shepherd V1 (Version 1) in 2023. Shepherd V1 (Version 1) demonstrates local capability, aligning with the Botswana Innovation Fund’s vision of supporting early stage innovation and encouraging skill development within the country. The UAV was developed for use in the fight against rhino poaching, to aid in security, as well as for surveillance needs. Given that some of the drone’s technology has also been localised,  it is tailor made to adapt to the country’s specific needs. Notably, localisation is instrumental in unlocking the full potential of the UAV as it goes beyond ‘cut and paste’ solutions. Aeronautical Solutions BW is committed to setting its sights beyond national  borders and seeks to maximise opportunities to further develop the technology’s potential in the diverse dimensions the drone can address.

Potential impact in 2024:  By prioritising local skill development, the Shepherd V1 (version 1) is more than just a drone, making it more sustainable, effective, and adaptable.  Hence, it will act as a catalyst for wide-spread adoption of local manufacturing of UAV’s across Africa, paving the way for a self-sustaining cost-effective technological future. Aeronautical Solution BW’s collaborative model and promotion of localisation thus lays the foundation for the development of innovative solutions that address Africa’s unique challenges and needs, specific to their diverse social contexts.

For more information, click here.

Botswana’s Aeronautical Solutions BW has launched the nation’s first locally developed UAV, Shepherd V1 (Version 1)
Image courtesy of The Ouut


Innovation: Flood Risk Insurance Product

Countries of origin: Johannesburg 

Company/organisation/inventor responsible: African Risk Capacity Group 

Summary: The African Risk Capacity (ARC) Group launched the first parametric flood insurance product in Africa in June 2023. The ARC Group aims to ensure the provision of reliable and prompt financing for flood-related disasters. This mechanism is also practical and customisable, calculating the varying risk profiles of different countries and regions. JBA Risk Management was brought on board to develop better anticipation and management models of extreme floods while ensuring that their impact on populations is mitigated. While the mechanism is currently available in Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique and Togo, it will be offered in other countries in 2024. The ARC solution promises to transform disaster management in Africa, bolster resilience and mitigate financial vulnerability through parametric insurance. 

Potential impact in 2024: The ARC flood insurance product has the potential to be a turning point for African countries that face increased flood risks due to climate change. This mechanism has potentially continent-wide benefits of reducing death and displacement during floods, helping protect vulnerable communities and reducing the incidence of post-disaster health risks from waterborne diseases.

For more information, click here.

Flood events have increased significantly in Africa, prompting the development of a flood insurance product
Image courtesy of CNN


Innovation: FlexiGyn

Country of origin: South Africa

Company/organisation/inventor responsible: Edmund Wessels and Chris Meunier 

Summary: FlexiGyn is a portable, battery-powered gynaecological device that is poised to revolutionise women’s healthcare, especially in underserved communities in Africa. Edmund Wessel was a co-winner of the 2023 Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation for FlexiGyn. Its built-in light and camera, paired with a flexible scope, provides a more comfortable and efficient experience for both patients and healthcare providers. Designed for portability and user-friendliness, it allows gynaecologists and clinicians to conduct examinations and interventions in remote areas that have limited resources, reducing dependency on specialised facilities and expensive procedures, making care more accessible. The official rollout of this device is set for 2025 and is expected to enhance healthcare quality and efficiency, given that Wessel and his team are developing integrated software to foster collaborations between doctors to facilitate timely referrals and consultations. 

Potential impact in 2024: FlexiGyn is poised to revolutionise women’s healthcare access, transforming lives across Africa. The promise to bypass expensive equipment and enable faster diagnosis will lower healthcare costs and democratise access to quality care. While initial rollout of FlexiGyn is anticipated to begin in 2025, 2024 is a crucial year for laying the groundwork for its impact to be instrumental — by establishing efficient distribution and support networks in remote areas. Otherwise, the goal to ensure equitable access will falter.

For more information, click here.

FlexiGyn is a game changer for thousands of women and adolescent girls living in remote communities in South Africa
Image courtesy of Brett Eloff


Innovation: Max it 

Country of origin:  France  

Company/organisation/inventor responsible: Orange 

Summary: Max it is a super-app designed to simplify daily life and promote digital inclusion by combining telecoms, fintech and e-commerce into one platform. It was developed by the Orange teams in Africa for African customers. The super-app promises to offer accessible financial services and e-commerce, as well as boost local digital economies. Launched in November 2023 with initial availability in five African countries (Botswana, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Mali and Senegal), the app has features that manage mobile and fixed lines, as well as payment and mobile money transfer options. 

Potential impact in 2024: As a ‘one stop shop’ that is user-friendly, inclusive and customisable, Max it boasts potential to disrupt Africa’s digital landscape, simplifying the daily lives of its users. The platform’s scalability will spur innovation, encourage partnerships and ignite further economic growth. However, it will be imperative to tackle obstacles relating to affordability, security, local adaptation, mobile network coverage, electricity instability and government corruption to realise its full potential.

For more information, click here.

Max it brings together the worlds of telecommunications, financial services and e-commerce in one super-app
Image courtesy of Techlabari


Innovation: LexiGenius 

Country of origin: Nigeria

Company/organisation/inventor responsible: Olatunbosun Amao 

Summary: LexiGenius was launched in September 2023 and is a user-friendly Al-powered web tool that offers a range of features tailored to meet the needs of writers, students and professionals. This includes real-time grammar and style suggestions, creative assistance for different writing styles and increased efficiency in writing tasks. Lexi Genius will aid Nigeria’s tech industry and empower researchers through improved writing and self-expression, and potentially improve educational outcomes. By providing multilingual support– including Arabic, French and Chinese – LexiGenius caters to diverse African populations. 

Potential impact in 2024: Lexi Genius goes beyond just enhancing individual writing, holding potential for widespread impact in education, communication and inclusion. Its multilingual support could empower students in areas with limited access to quality education, while ensuring accessibility for non-native speakers. Moreover, LexiGenius could bridge the digital divide by promoting wider access to information and opportunities, boosting digital literacy and inclusion across Africa. Notably, tackling obstacles such as mobile network coverage, electricity instability and potential reading illiteracy is critical for optimal impact.

For more information, click here.

OpenAI has revealed that Nigeria is currently the largest global adopter of AI
Image courtesy of Investor King


Innovation: publicly accessible electric bus charging stations

Country of origin: Kenya

Company/organisation/inventor responsible: BasiGo

Summary: BasiGo launched Kenya’s first public fast-charging station for electric buses, connected to the country’s e-mobility tariff, in May 2023. This encourages the use of electric vehicles by addressing charging infrastructure concerns and leverages Kenya’s abundant renewable energy for affordable charging. This invention addresses a key barrier to electric vehicle adoption by providing accessible and affordable charging infrastructure to the growth of Kenya’s electric vehicle industry and improves the accessibility of electric public transportation in Nairobi.

Potential impact in 2024: BasiGo aims to expand their station charging capacity by the end of the year to charge up to 25 vehicles. These innovations promise a broad and positive impact beyond Nairobi, fuelling a wider electric vehicle shift across Africa. While this development indicates the possibility of increased electric vehicle usage in Nairobi, it is poised to be a potential model for similar e-mobility projects in other African countries, accelerating the transition into adopting sustainable transformation strategies.

For more information, click here.

Kenyan e-bus company BasiGo launched the first public fast-charging station for electric buses
Image courtesy of Further Africa


This paper has highlighted 10 ground-breaking cross-cutting innovations from the past year, from Kraken’s sustainable palm oil processing to the Flood Risk Insurance Product’s proactive disaster response. Each has the potential to transform African realities. Yet, the journey towards widespread impact demands collective action to efficiently maximise on this potential. Investors, policy makers, researchers and the business community must collaborate to promote and nurture an enabling environment for innovation in Africa. By bridging the gaps, such as those related to accessibility, affordability and literacy barriers, we can harness the power of African ingenuity for the benefit of all Africans.