Many African start-ups at VivaTech have tackled the transportation issue in Africa, as many cities accelerate their urbanization, it created many transportation issues in the process.
Africa in the spotlight. Of the 45,000 square meters occupied by the Viva Tech Salon in Paris, African start-ups have a great place, thanks to the Afric @ Tech space dedicated to them. Alongside the big names of new technologies, the hundreds of young shoots present does not have to blush. Health, energy, finance, communication …, the multitude of sectors they represent is as diverse as the countries in which they are based.
And from Senegal to South Africa, via Rwanda, a problem has gotten the attention and the efforts of many founders of these start-ups, that of mobility. The accelerated growth of urbanization in recent decades has created mobility problems. At the heart of these big African cities, traffic and circulating is sometimes part of the obstacle course. To solve this, and facilitate the daily lives of many thousands of Africans.
From Morocco: Casky
Of the 1.2 million motorcycles that drive in Morocco, 250,000 are concentrated in Marrakech. Lack of visibility is the main factor in the many accidents that occur on a daily basis. Mohamed Bouamane, a 24-year-old entrepreneur, created Casky, a smart device attached to the driver’s helmet, which transmits information to those around him. The object has two turn signals, and a light that comes on when the bike brakes, like a stop light.
Another peculiarity of Casky, the sensor programmed to detect the shocks, and which transmits the information directly to the close of the driver. A process that was important to the creator of the company. “At 20, I had an accident and found myself thrown into a ditch two meters deep. I waited 90 minutes before someone noticed me and called for help. A traumatic experience, “he says. Sensors that assess the quality of the road have also been developed. In the future, the start-up, which has another founder and three developers, would like to partner with the government to provide them the data which can be helpful in accidents insights and analysis.
From Senegal: Sunubus
“In Dakar, it is chance that chooses whether you can have a ride in a bus or not. And which, in particular, causes delays at work or at university. To overcome this problem, Dahaba Sako, 22, and his other three associates created Sunubus. The concept is simple, but essential if you want to travel by transport in the Senegalese capital: thanks to their application, the user can know the bus schedules, as well as their location in real time. “The goal is to give all this information, to stop wasting time on the various stops,” he says.
Another positive impact highlighted by the young man, car decongestion. “Because of bus delays, people prefer to take their cars, which creates huge traffic jams in the city. And increases the pollution. If Sunubus is present at Vivatech, it is because its founders hope to win the first prize in the contest organized by the RATP, a grant of 25,000 euros. Funds welcome, and that would allow them to develop the application, launched in January. To attract more users – it already have nearly 2,400 downloads in the App and Play Store – Sunubus relies on the sharing spirit of the people of Dakar. Sharing positions and informations about bus schedules, earning points and vouchers. The goal is one: Create a large Sunubus community around the bus in Senegal.
From Tunisia: Smart Taxi
Modernizing the business of yellow taxis in Tunisia, this was the goal of Mondher Mlaouah when he founded Smart Taxi in Tunis. This former employee in charge of electronic maintenance in taxis launched ten years ago, and manufactures itself a new counter, detachable, and add a GPS plotter in it. Geolocation will change everything for the owners of taxi vehicles. They can now track courses remotely, and therefore better manage their schedule. And other novelty of the counter created by the Tunisian entrepreneur, the follow-up of the recipes.
“Receiving all this information in real time has given owners more control over their business, and thus addressed problems they have not measured the consequences,” he says. A year and a half ago, Smart Taxi is developing its booking component. A twinning with E-Taxi allows the creation of a new platform, where customers can book their taxi online, and track their position on a map. A process reminiscent of the Uber company. When asked if the installation of the American firm in Africa scares him, Mondher Mlaouah immediately retorts: “Uber will never enter the Tunisian market. People are too attached to yellow taxis. Meanwhile, Smart Taxi has also moved to Côte d’Ivoire, and intends to expand its business in other countries of the continent.
From Rwanda: Zipline
If mobility is a problem that is expressed directly in the transport of metropolises, it also applies in healthcare. As the transport of medical equipment or drugs can also be complicated, in case of faulty roads or lack of vehicles available. A statement made by the founders of Zipline, a Rwandan start-up based in Muhanga. Their objective: to improve the exchanges between the hospitals, by creating a system of transports of blood by drones.
“We prefer to dedicate this technology to medical concerns, rather than using it to deliver pizzas,” says Abdul Salam Nizeyimana, one of the founders. Doctors can apply directly via WhatsApp, or via the Zipline website. This system, which brings blood much faster than when transported in a van, also helps to avoid the problem of storage. “The blood has an expiry date. If an institution can not keep it properly, he calls on us to join a suitable structure, says the 27-year-old engineer. This avoids throwing a substance that can save lives elsewhere. “