Despite lingering stereotypes, Africa has become known as a fertile nesting ground for innovation and technological advances. This had led to the rise of a vast network of incubators and accelerators across the continent, and has caught the interest of some heavy hitters in the global tech scene.
From building better consumer tech products and services to modernizing/enhancing industries like agricultural and fashion, African tech startups are solving a diverse set of problems with their offerings—here are 7 of the best from Benin you need to know about in 2017 and beyond.
Botamp’s AI-backed customer relations chatbot integrates with Facebook Messenger, allowing small businesses to keep customers engaged without having to hire additional staff. The startup was accelerated at TEKXL in Cotonou, the capital of Benin.
Another TEKXL-incubated startup, Chaperone has developed a digital platform for the creation of step-by-step tutorials. The solution—in use by over one thousand clients in 72 countries—also provides analytics and team management capabilities.
Many African cities experience growth and urban sprawl organically, with planning often an afterthought at best. Subsequently, providing a precise address for mail delivery is virtually impossible. Accelerated by Khulatech, Mboni takes advantage of GPS and the country’s huge smartphone penetration to solve this issue, bypassing the reliance on street names and numbers.
Carisowo is the first automotive classifieds website in Benin—users can buy and sell new and second-hand cars, motorbikes, and trucks on the platform. The company also offers a mobile app exclusively for Android users.
If you’re tired of straining your eyes to read mobile credit charging codes or memorizing each GSM network’s USSD code, Skrach may be right for you: the solution enables users to easily recharge credits by scanning their recharge cards. Currently, it works with mobile operators in Benin, Togo, Nigeria, and Italy, with more countries in the works.
In areas of Benin like Sô-Ava, where Venice-like settlements have been thriving for generations—as well as throughout Africa—fishermen rely heavily on local bodies of water for survival. However, their way of life is being threatened by the water hycacinth, an invasive aquatic plant that robs water of its nourishment and oxygen, driving away fish and other aquatic life. Green Keeper Africa transforms the water hyacinth into absorbent fibers used in various industries: transportation, construction, petroleum, cuniculture, and more.
Over 630 million people in Africa do not have access to basic electricity—Power:On was founded to bring electricity to the most remote villages on the continent. For example, the startup helped to bring a power grid in Igbèrè that provides electricity for 3,000 people, five hours every day.
In short, Benin’s tech startup ecosystem may be in its infancy, but the country’s entrepreneurs are using technology to tackle some of the most critical social issues of our times. From platforms for crowdsourcing electricity to apps for coping with uncontrolled urban sprawl, be sure to keep these 7 tech startups in your sights in 2017 and beyond.