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New solutions platform puts African innovation on the world map

The new Global Opportunity Explorer exhibits hundreds of cutting-edge solutions for reaching the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and a good share of them arise from the African continent. Now you can help expand the pool of African innovations on the platform by contributing solutions.

Last month, Sustainia launched the Global Opportunity Explorer – a global platform which highlights the best solutions and market opportunities that make our world better by 2030. Not surprisingly, it features a selection of solutions both developed and deployed on the African continent. From Nigerian Hello Tractor, which provides smallholder farmers with affordable rental tractors, to Ghana Bamboo Bikes Initiative, which offers locals a clean and durable means of transportation, Africa is truly an incubator for the solutions we need to create a more sustainable planet.

Sustainia’s Director of New Opportunities, Marianne Haahr, is particularly excited about the sustainable innovation coming out of Africa:

“I’m amazed to see so many solutions emerge from African countries such as Nigeria, Kenya and Ghana which address multiple Global Goals at the same time. The road to social equality and a healthier planet is winding and bumpy, but if we tackle our core challenges holistically, we can get there a lot faster. Critical issues such as limited access to water and food, farming inefficiency and poor education are all interconnected and interdependent, and the solutions to solve them should be too.”

A good example of the kinds of holistic solutions Marianne praises can be found in Kenyan M-KOPA, which provides pay-as- you-go solar panels for households in rural Kenya. Prices of solar energy are already plunging – according to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), home solar system in the continent provides off-grid households for as little as USD 56 per year, less than the average price of poorer quality energy sources such as kerosene.

M-KOPA not only takes advantage of the low prices, but also addresses systemic problems such as energy poverty and lack of energy infrastructure. The company’s microgrid systems are designed to enable small families to purchase solar energy through daily micropayments, helping them switch away from kerosene – a popular yet unhealthy and polluting power source in the region.

In short, M-KOPA has addressed energy poverty, public health and climate change by offering families clean, cheap and reliable energy without the suffocating bills and unpredictability associated with many energy companies.


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