Problems of access to clean water, unemployment, access to healthcare are common issues among many African countries, but there are a few individuals who are passionate about bringing a difference to their communities by creating innovative products and services that are beneficial.
Ten of these great minds have been shortlisted for the very first Africa Netprenuer Prize Initiative (ANPI) founded by Jack Ma where they have a chance to claim a share of USD $1 million on 16 November 2019 in Accra, Ghana.
Speaking prior to the event to be held at the Accra international Conference Centre on 16 November 2016, Christelle Kwizera, said that growing up in abject poverty in Rwanda, she did not have access to clean water and that is what inspired her to start her business, Water Access Rwanda.
“I didn’t grow up rich, I grew up poor, I knew what fetching water was like so during that time my family and I did not have access to piped water until we moved to the city,” she says.
According to Christelle, 2.1 billion of the global population does not have access to safe drinking water which means that they are more susceptible to diseases.
“When you think that you don’t have access to water, your days are counted, you will die without it, it’s a big emergency that we call the water crisis but I don’t think the world is treating it like a crisis,” says Christelle.
Her company reclaims broken boreholes and transforms them into state-of-the-art solar-powered water kiosks and pipelines. Through her initiative, 47,612 people are able to access water daily.
Christelle has also been able to construct 71 water points, offset carbon emissions and save trees just providing clean water.
“We have offset 41,000 carbon tonnes every year and we also created 48 new jobs, the company has grown from myself and four others to 63 people in the whole company,” she says, speaking of the achievements Water Access Rwanda has gained.
But, it is not just about providing water to the community, the ANPI looks at entrepreneurs from different fields, for example, Moulaye Tabouré from Cote d’Ivoire is the brains behind Afrikrea.com, the market place for any seller of African inspired fashion, art, beauty and fashion.
According to Moulaye, “Anyone who wants to sell African culture to the world is allowed and encouraged to come to our platform”.
Afrikea has processed more than $4 million in sales across 101 countries, and Moulaye attributes this success to the inclusive nature of his business. He welcomes business men from any African country who would be interested to sell their merchandise through his platform.
“We have no filtering in Afrikrea.com, we have 1,000 new designs and 15 new designers every week, so we are always growing. Our idea is that we have the tech but we also have to allow everyone to come in,”
“Contrary to most businesses where its only one country in Africa, we are trying to show that Africa can inspire people from all over the world,” he adds.
8 other finalists – Ayodeji Arikawe (Nigeria), Chibuzo Opara (Nigeria), Dr Tosan Joseph (Nigeria), Mahmus Johnson (Liberia), Kevine Kagirimpundu (Rwanda), Omar Shoukry Sakr (Egypt), Temie Giwa-Tubosun (Nigeria) and Waleed Abd El Rahman (Egypt) – will pitch before four judges during a televised finale event called ‘Africa’s Business Heroes’’.