ADS2021: Day Eight


UNDP Africa Exhibition of 50 Homegrown African Innovations Tackling COVID-19

Africa is an innovative continent and COVID-19 created an opportunity for that potential to be unleashed. In 2020, numerous COVID-19 innovations came from Africans, with youths being at the forefront in this creative response to the pandemic.

This exhibition, based on the inaugural Africa Innovates Magazine, an initiative by UNDP Africa, showcases 50 homegrown African innovations tackling COVID-19. 

The broad range of innovations encompasses drones, robots, contact tracing apps, non-invasive testing kits, portable hands-free sanitation chambers, oxygen-making machines, genome sequencing, AI-powered healthcare chat bots and much more, reflecting Africa’s boundless ingenuity and untapped potential. 

This list is neither exhaustive nor a ranking but is a selection of 50 innovators based on criteria that took into account the following: The projects had to be made in Africa, scalable, problem-solvers, impactful, inspirational, applicable, safe and encompass a disruptor factor.


Conversation with African innovators

Conversation with African innovators

Africa is a teeming with creative, resourceful and innovative people, as this conversation with three innovators reveals. Faced with challenges that threatened their communities, these innovators and disruptors did not cower, but rather, used their creativity and resourcefulness to develop practical solutions to local problems. The innovations are also scalable and can be used across the continent.  

The innovations range from educational mobile applications aimed at preserving African languages, to non-rinsing ecological soap developed to fight against COVID-19 and environmentally friendly, automated solar-powered handwashing stations with 3-in-1 basins that dispense soap, water and blows out hot air to dry the hands in auto sequence in response to COVID-19. Although the eco-friendly soap and handwashing stations were triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic, they help to fight other diseases. 

The innovators also discuss what is required to create a conducive environment to nurture a culture of innovation, even in the absence of crises such as COVID-19.  


Ancestors, Spirits and God - History Of Africa with Zeinab Badawi [Episode 8]

Ancestors, Spirits and God - History Of Africa with Zeinab Badawi [Episode 8]

In this episode Zeinab Badawi examines religion in Africa. First the enduring presence of Africa’s indigenous religions, to which millions of people on the continent still adhere.

She travels to Zimbabwe to find out more about a remote community that follows traditional African religion. In Senegal she meets a Muslim man who, like so many others in the continent, blends Islamic beliefs with his ancestral ones and enjoys talking to trees!

She also charts the impact of Judaism and early Christianity in Africa and how Africans in particular made significant contributions to Christian thinking and practice through influential figures such as St Augustine who lived in what is today Algeria.



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ADS2021 Public Policy Forum