11 start-ups from Africa have been selected to participate in the first edition of the Africa Artificial Intelligence Accelerator taking place in Ghana.
About Africa AI Accelerator
In June of this year, Ghana Tech Lab partnered Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and IBM to establish and run an AI-focused accelerator. The program was designed with an aim to promote local innovations in the field of artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and data usage. It is structured to identify entrepreneurs with innovative high growth AI solutions that are commercially viable, socially driven and can be scaled through an acceleration program. The accelerator is for passionate teams with post-idea and early stage solutions that demonstrate market relevance, commercial viability and early traction.
After a competitive application process, 11 innovation-driven and AI based startups from Ghana, South Africa, Rwanda and Uganda have been selected to take part in the accelerator. These start-ups leverage AI and machine learning in their operations to help solve problems ranging from financial freedom, healthcare, transportation, agriculture, and software development.
The selected start-ups will participate in a structured five-month programme. They will work closely with technical mentors from IBM and business development consultants to help build their AI ideas into feasible solutions. Due to COVID-19, the programme will combine the virtual and the physical reality as the startups will take part in video meetups early on and then a bootcamp in the latter stages of the accelerator.
The program has been structured to holistically support AI and ML start-ups for sustainable and inclusive development in Africa. Its approach anchors on strengthening the business and technical capacity of participating startups. The participating startups will receive adequate support to meet clear growth aspirations through setting measurable targets. The first cohort of the Africa AI Accelerator program is expected to run from August to December 2020.
The 11 selected African startups
Diagnosify is a health startup that uses AI to diagnose skin diseases in Ghana. Through AI, the start-up predicts the name of the disease, gives its severity level and assigns patients to pharmaceutical services or dermatologists. It seeks to bridge the gap between dermatologists and users. Diagnosify ensures Ghanaians with skin conditions do not resort to self-diagnosis, that may end up being fatal, through its AI powered system. Additionally, patients can access various health tips on the app and a feature that will help doctors monitor a patient’s recovery process.
The idea for Diagnosify was conceived by Samuel Abbey and Michael Asante while participating in a free AI training program at the Ghana Tech Lab in Accra, Ghana.
According to Michael Asante, the startup has secured partnerships with clinics, pharmacies, and dermatologists in order to come on board and aid with the treatment of skin diseases.
“There are a lot of patients with unknown skin conditions that suffer at large. The lack of proper diagnosis and reach to the required dermatologist and pharmacies have basically fueled the risk of suffering.” Samuel Abbey expressed.
Team: Michael Asante and Samuel Abbey
Kwanso provides a solution to prevent, track and monitor road traffic accidents by offering passengers, drivers and regulators a platform for identifying accident locations and monitoring speed. In addition, Kwanso enables value-added services in digital finance and digital health to enhance profitability, health and finance in the transport sector.
Ghana based Kwanso enhances customer experience and democratizes occupational health and safety. Its AI tool integrates into CCTV systems to objectively assess congestion, overcrowding and spacing to produce the innovative physical distancing index (PDI) actionable self-assessment report for corporations and business owners.
Kwanso Queue Management system reduces waiting time of customers. It provides automated prompts to managers to deploy more staff in shopping malls, banking halls, restaurants, hospital out-patients-departments, and transport terminals to improve the customer experience. Staff and customers may access digital health and fintech channels embedded on the Kwanso platform which utilizes Machine Learning (ML) and Internet of Things (IoT) technology in addition to A.I. B2B, B2C and B2B2C models with or without white label API deals available online and via a mobile app.
Team: Dr. Elvis Kuma Forson and Divine Doe Anyigbah
Xpendly provides personal finance management services for young Africans. It enables them to manage their spending across multiple accounts, save and invest, build credit profiles. They gain access to financial education and information about their creditworthiness and receive tailored financial products from accredited institutions based on their financial behaviour.
Based in Ghana, Xpendly helps users organise their money by helping them create customised budgets, enabling them to track income and expenses and delivering insights on their overall financial activities. It collects data to sketch out a profile of users’ credit rating, rather than using traditional sources of data such as historical credit purchases, which its users typically don’t have. With most users lacking formal financial records, social media and employment information is used as a means of credit assessment and assessing ratings. The app also pulls data from the user’s transaction history, including data from cash inflow, expenses, and other user behaviour to update credit ratings. The app further integrates users’ bank cards and accounts which feeds the app’s capacity to track and analyse user activity.
Elorm Axolu, founder of Xpendly, said, “Accessing credit in order to economically progress, whether personally or in business, is a massive challenge for the large majority of Ghana’s population who participate in its economy informally. This is steadily beginning to change as more and more people use digital means of payments and to access a range of services. We believe that there are more innovative ways to ensure that the largely unbanked millennials of the Ghanaian population are more adequately served.”
Team: Elorm Axolu
Congretype is a green project developer and consulting company in the field of energy and
environment. Its mission is to enable users to harness untapped resources, processes and technological solutions in generating cleaner, more affordable energy. The South Africa based start-up provides societal-based solutions in renewable energy, ICT for development, and climate-smart agriculture.
Congretype has three main business activities: advisory and consulting, project development, and climate change activities. It focuses on the Three S Principle:
- Ecological Sustainability – Reduction of Carbon Emissions
- Economic Sustainability – Creation of Local Jobs
- Social Sustainability – Bringing production facilities to Townships
It manages insect pests and to minimizes the risk of incidental pest activity by researching and developing proactive approaches that use mechanical, physical and biological controls for pest treatments. It aims to deliver effective, eco-friendly, global standard pest control services through research and innovation. Congretype is developing a proactive pest management programme to target a wide range of pests, which have an impact on food production yields and health.
Its active participation in the agriculture sector has won accelerator awards and funding for Biotechnology and Artificial Intelligence Research. As AI and IoT-technologies are still at a nascent-stage in Africa, it is attempting to get the attention of African-governments to embrace ML and Neural-Networks as the hub and spoke of their ambitious 2030 medium income strategies.
Team: Tendani Madondo
South Africa based Openbanking is a new and secure way for consumers, like small businesses, to share information. This allows new and existing companies to offer super-fast payment methods and innovative banking products. It has the power to revolutionize the way Africans manage and make more money. Openbanking improves payments capabilities, consent protections for customers. In addition, it also develops premium APIs and bridges the mobile payments markets.
Team: Lavina Ramkissoon and Harshit Saraswat
Aqua Safi was set up to provide underprivileged across the developing world with access to safe drinking water while opening up employment and micro-entrepreneurship avenues.
To kick start the mission, the start-up chose the state of Karnataka, India. A survey revealed that 60% of sources tested exceeded 1 ppm of fluoride, 20% of sources tested positive for nitrate contamination, while 38% had bacteriological contamination. With its proprietary RO technology, Aqua Safi has established state-of-the-art water purification units across several villages in Karnataka. It has partnered with an NGO, SKDRDP and the local Panchayat. It plans to expand its campaign to other states.
According to research done by Aqua Safi, 880 million people around the world and 154 million people in India do not have access to clean, potable water. In developing countries like India, people get their drinking water from unsafe sources. Therefore, they suffer from more than a billion episodes of gastroenteritis annually due to poor water quality. Consequently, 1.7M die every year from waterborne illnesses like diarrhea.
In addition, AquaSafi helps fish farmers to improve fish productivity by giving them a system for checking water quality, fish feeding and getting the best practices in fisheries yield. Rwanda based AquaSafi is an aquaculture start-up.
Team: Eric Safari and Fiston Munyampeta
Data Systems is a software company that focuses on building software as a service application for the corporate market and edutech. The company has a BPO marketplace called Giraict and an e-learning and marketplace platform for education content called eshuri. Based in Rwanda, Data Systems is a SaaS Platform.
Team: Nadia Uwamahoro and Marcel Nyirinkindi
Tabiri Analytics Inc. is a cyber security company that is building the first affordable, comprehensive and automated cyber security-as-a-service solution for enterprises in underserved markets using machine learning and an operational base in Rwanda. By combining signature and behavior-based detection with machine learning, Tabiri can automate the human analysis of security logs gathered from customer environments. Together with the use of low-cost hardware, cloud-based computing to collect and analyse system logs and network telemetry for indicators of compromise, Tabiri is uniquely positioned to provide a novel cyber security service to organisations in Africa, US and around the world.
Team: Victor Kagimu and Nancy Lubalo
Chil AI Group
Chil Artificial Intelligence Lab Group of Companies utilize ML and AI to offer breast and cervical oncology services. These services include automated consultation, referral, interpretation of laboratory results, medicine delivery. It offers an AI Powered Healthcare smart saving scheme to over 36,000 women in 7 countries of Africa. The group of companies are formed by women, led by women with women as its major customers. The technology driven e-health start-up is determined to lead the transformation of women on the continent. Based in Uganda, Chil AI Group aims to become the leading provider of technology guided essential needs in women healthcare, agriculture and fintech in Africa.
It continues to sustain and improve market leadership in tele-health, solar powered cold chain and smart saving for healthcare.
Team: Shamim Nabuuma Kaliisa and Agaba Peter
Global Auto Systems
Global Auto Systems Ltd aims to revolutionize the health care system in Uganda through using AI and Cloud Computing technologies to improve patient outcomes, while reducing the total cost of care. The startup is also involved in research and development in robotics, business solutions, and waste management. In addition, the startup also offers AI & Data science training.
Founded in 2017, the startup is dedicated to conduct research, and provide wide range automation through developing systems. Initially, the startups provided automation day to day activities within offices, transport, microfinance. However, it has expanded to hotels, colleges, and research facilities. In Uganda, it supplies specialized computer services like software, backup, data and system analytics, cloud services, security systems, managed-packaged hosting and domain registration. It also provides cellular products of colleges, schools, hospitals, ministries, companies, and the general public. Global Auto Systems has 1,000 employees across its locations and generates US$ 266.30M in sales.
Team: Dr. William Wasswa
Wekebere is a Uganda based health social enterprise striving to engineer innovative healthcare solutions that give expectant mothers in low-resource settings the healthy lives they deserve. It combines wearable devices with data analytics to increase access to care, provide personalized feedback to mothers, and help doctors earlier predict and manage pregnancy complications. At the center of its solution is a prenatal wearable that tracks critical health parameters of maternal and fetal health. Wekebere aims to ensure every family gets a healthy start by simply addressing modifiable risk factors, detecting abnormalities, and predicting adverse events.
Uganda has high maternal mortality ratio at 343 per 100,000 live births. The startup’s ultimate goal is to reduce maternal mortality but also to reduce the number of infant deaths related to pregnancy. It aims to contribute to a healthy community by integrating preventive and diagnostic service delivery in order to complete the health management system for vulnerable rural women and children.
Its mission is to be the leading producer of fetal monitoring devices in Africa at affordable prices, where quality and safety are a constant.
Some of its objectives are promote the provision of quality health care services, strengthen the health care system, increase access to quality palliative care and cancer services for women, and advocate for rural women and children health rights.
Team: Tashobya Stephen and Kiconco Benadine
Investocracy, a company focused on connecting startups from emerging markets with Japanese investors, produced this article.
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