AGRICULTURE, ENVIRONMENT TOPS EMERGING TECH-SOLUTIONS FOR AFRICA’S DEVELOPMENT
AS YOUTH AMBASSADOR, LILIAN EFOBI HOSTS YOUNG AFRICAN INNOVATORS AT GDDF 2023 HACKATHON
By Oki Samson, Trek Africa Newspaper
The 2023 Global Digital Development Forum organized by USAID, Chemonics, IBM, TechChange, Deloitte, Google, DAI, RTI International, Save The Children, Interledger Foundation, Palladium, and Bixal has taken place in Lagos.
The technology event which is a part of the several watchparties held across the world was organized by the Nigerian Ambassador for GDDF 2023, Lilian Elochukwu Efobi. Trek Africa Newspaper can report that Ms. Efobi analyzed the importance of emerging technologies in Africa’s development through various virtual and panel sessions.
The GDDF 2023 Hackathon witnessed the pitch of amazing technology ideas tackling local solutions in their communities. It attracted young, tech savvy, social innovators from seven African countries who placed environmental safety and agriculture issues on the frontburner. Most of the ideas were aimed at providing eco-friendly solutions, encouraging climate action, promoting agriculture, and creating environmental sustainability.
Some of the creators of the eco-solution ideas shared their ideas with Trek Africa Newspaper. The team lead for Samclef Youth Initiative, Adebayo Samuel said: ‘I am here to pitch my idea to create a climate WhatsApp chatbot called Ayika which gives people access to their environment and gives people advice on how they can provide eco-solution daily and send environmental reports they have. With our platform, people will be able to use AI and VR together to predict weather in the location where they are, participate in environmental e-commerce platform where they can buy eco-friendly products. It also help them in encouraging behavior in recycling, reducing carbon footprint, and also keeping environment safe.’
The Lead of the youth initiative which is a social venture that advocates for sustainable environment using media and tech to promote climate action, Adebayo added: ‘We are focusing on youths providing entertainment that talks about environment. Imagine you listen to music talking about environment, watch comedy talking about environment, a game on environment, and using an app that you can earn from when you reduce your carbon footprint. We are looking at raising 5000 US dollars that could create an AI to help do this because there is limit to what we can do with WhatsApp.’
The President, Women Empowerment for Grassroots Development Initiative, William Dare pitched his Dry Card innovation. ‘We are passionate about the agriculture sector especially post-harvest losses, food waste, food storage and safety. The problem we have in Nigeria is that we don’t know how to store our foods which comes with hazards. We want to see how to prevent that and that is why we came up with this Dry Card innovation whereby our food can be stored for a longer period of time and it can even be stored for exports.’
‘The Dry Card is an indicator that tells you that your food is dried and immediately you will store it in air tight containers which will make it last longer. We want to take it across all 36 states so that no state will be left behind. USAID, UC Davis lab are giving us technical support and are subsidizing the card for us. This is why the card can go for as low as 2 dollars. We have approached state governments for support.’
Also pitching his idea, Diudome who is the Director of Dmax biodigester shared: ‘With the biodigester, the remains of food, waste from poultry, and vegetables are digested under anaerobic conditions to convert them to gas to be used for cooking. It is non-flammable and cost-effective.’
‘We are looking for 10,000 US dollars to scale up so that we can go to rural communities where for as low as N20,000 we can give them the biodigester and they gradually pay us. The thing will last as long as you keep feeding it biowastes. The waste you get from the biodigester can be used for crop improvement as it is an organic fertilizer.’
The founder/CEO of CONALLI, Samuel Sawyer told Trek Africa Newspaper, ‘I am a video producer but a lot of people had challenges producing ads for their brands during the lockdown. So in 2021, I started something that could solve the problem. CONALLI is a content marketing platform. It makes it easy for clients to get contents for their businesses. We have about 8200 contents and 87 creators on the platform who are ready to donate their contents. There was one person who reached out to me last week who had 387 contents ready to put on the platform.’
‘This is what we are talking about. Creators can also upload their contents on CONALLI and sell and make money because what happens when the fashion designers and other clients do not call you to take pictures and videos, you still have to make money. We want to create more diversified, more inclusive content for Africans spread all over the world. We want to raise money to do more.’
A judge at the pitch competition, Abiona Toluwalase Peace told Trek Africa Newspaper, ‘GDDF 2023 is to bridge the gap between emerging technologies and SDGs. We want to make sure that emerging technologies will play a role in the goals set for 2030. There were 7 major contents – sustainability, originality, business model, technology used, creativity involved, design and implementation, and social impact.
Youth being part of the digital system is very important because we will be here for a very long time and we will also pass it on to our children. We need the support of government. It can’t be done by NGO alone. We need the understanding of the government.’
The social entrepreneur added: ‘We had wonderful ideas pitched today about the issue. Seven persons pitched their ideas. We need more female innovators to come out with their ideas. All the 7 today were males. We have to make conscious effort to push our ladies. SDG 5 talks about gender equality. We want marginalized communities to participate, we want women, young ones, and older persons to participate. We had an older person participate here today and he was even the winner of the prize.’
An ICT 4d expert who is also a speaker and a judge, Israel Olatunji shared: ‘Global Digital Development Forum 2023 is happening in 7 other countries across Africa. It is a hybrid event. Young Nigerians are leveraging emerging technologies to create solutions to address climate change. I have seen passion and dedication towards what people do. They have also known that it is a different thing to have the digital solution and another to have the digital skills. They have been told where they can learn more about these resources to bridge the digital skill gap.’
‘For tech people, you don’t need to look for a white collar job because you will not enjoy yourself, so you should look into creating jobs and become captains of industry. The Dry Card innovation stands out for me because in Nigeria and Africa, we are agricultural producing and we have challenges with storage so food processing is important. The government must have the political will to do what is right not just for the elites but for the common man’, he told Trek Africa Newspaper.
Another judge, Alabi Gbenga Ayodele who is an agriculturist remarked: ‘I am so glad to be part of this programme. I was able to learn and network and meet others. I have gotten insights and clearer view about how to use AI to miligate climate action. AI is now taking the position of humans. I am also thinking of bringing my project soon for sustainable change. I like the fact that you can now use chatbox to mitigate climate change. It is participatory, it is interactive, and it is usable both in the urban and rural areas.’