By Sam Ancer
5 Green Tech Trends in Africa
Africa has the challenge of meeting the industrialised needs of its people while also confronting the realities of a climate crisis it contributes very little towards. Providing water, sanitation, and electricity to millions of people is no easy feat. Fortunately many African tech companies have risen to the challenge and have begun developing ways to meet the challenges of Africa with Green technology. Green technology is any form of technology that aims to reduce environmental impact or is sustainable in the long and short term.
Solar has often been looked to as the future of Green energy. Considering the abundance of solar energy available in Africa, it has been the goal of many African countries to create a solar grid. One of the biggest roadblocks in solar development has been the cost of developing panels. However, due to recent innovations in the technology, this problem has been reduced significantly. Nigeria has recently been looking to expand its solar capabilities in an attempt to address the deficit in its electrical grid. If successful the country could begin providing millions of Nigerians with cheap, renewable energy. Not to be outdone, South Africa has also stepped up its development of solar power, in order to address the problems that exist within its electric grid, that lead to rolling blackouts known as load shedding. One such instance is the new 10 MegaWatt Solar Wheeling plant that aims to provide the South African branch of Amazon with its power needs. Solar wheeling is the process of connecting a solar generator to the existing grid. Solar works so well in Africa due to its hot climate, which means that there is plenty of energy to be harnessed.
Artificial Intelligence or AI is intelligence that is demonstrated by machines, as opposed to natural intelligence which is shown by living creatures. In the world of Green technology, AI offers promising opportunities for Green development. Artificial Intelligence can make exact measurements in production, reducing waste that may come from human error. Beyond that the ability to be completely precise every single time means that production can be maintained without delay, reducing resource waste and ensuring maximum value. These are just a few ways Artificial Intelligence benefits the principles of Green technology. Africa has begun using AI to benefit its emerging production and development. One example is the recent Nestle factory in Pretoria using AI to reduce its emissions, a world first. It works by capturing CO2 emissions as well as recycling water waste. One example is Risk Insights, a South African-based company that uses AI to measure and report the environmental impact of businesses. This means that businesses can be held accountable for their environmental impact, by both consumers and governments. Risk Insights and Nestle pushing the forefront of the technology, it is clear that AI is going to be instrumental in the Green development of Africa.
Africa and China Partnerships
It is no secret that the global economic giant China has been looking for investments in Africa. The rich resources and massive potential returns on investment make Africa an exciting prospect when it comes to development, and the Chinese government and businesses have made it a significant part of their global goals to develop Africa for their benefit. One such example is the new declaration made by China and several African countries to tackle the climate crisis. China has been at the forefront of green technology development and has provided African countries with meteorological assessments to help them plan for environmental disasters such as tornadoes, hurricanes, and flooding. Another thing China has provided assistance with is the development of the Great Green Wall, an initiative to help tackle some of the associated problems with the climate crisis.
Green food is an important part of green technology and environmental sustainability. Approximately 14% of all CO2 emissions are produced from meat production. If we are going to come up with a holistic challenge to the ongoing climate crisis then it is important that we find answers to the meat industry. One African company trying to reduce meat consumption is VeggieVictory. VeggieVictory is a Nigerian-based company that provides meat replacements in order to reduce meat consumption and provide a more sustainable alternative. The company has a variety of products available in stores across Nigeria and is now moving to open up restaurants in order to bring vegetarian solutions to the forefront of meat consumption. The goal is to provide African consumers with a meat alternative that they would feel comfortable using in their traditional dishes. They also aim to ensure that no proteins or amino acids are missing, making sure that people can eat green while staying healthy.
African companies have been approaching the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic responsibly. As such, they have been embracing the necessity of working from home, despite the challenges that countries in Africa face. In a similar vein, there is the Nigerian start-up Aajoh who has created an AI that helps people list their symptoms and send them to their doctor. This allows people to seek medical help without having to leave their homes, reducing energy and fuel consumption, and helping save the environment. It also helps deal with the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic wherein people are able to see a doctor without risk of catching or spreading the virus.
5 Green Tech Trends in Africa
Africa now has to face its existing challenges while also addressing the climate crisis, which is largely impacting the continent despite it not contributing as much as other continents like Europe, America, or Asia. However, tech companies have risen to the occasion and addressed the challenges associated with the climate crisis.