Satisfying the most basic of human needs is a struggle faced constantly in Africa. The sectors that are the least accessible  are education, sanitation, food security and healthcare — to name just the most pressing. But where some people see only problems, young African visionaries are finding solutions,building enterprises and thinking of better ways to deal with crises using what they have at hand. One such chance for change has already arrived — studies carried out by GSMA Intelligence show that mobile penetration in Africa is soaring, with the number of smartphone connections across the continent doubling in the past decade. Operators and developers have begun leveraging the power of mobile networks to transform services in health, agriculture, education, energy and water management. One such developer is Boubacar Youssouf Keita.

The 29-year-old Malian entrepreneur holds a degree in environmental sciences and spatial planning and also specialised in sustainable development and water management. This journey helped him  recognise that his true strength and passion lay in innovation and digital culture. “My experiences allowed me to understand that sustainable development could be perfectly coupled up with technological innovation and have a big impact on society, “Boubacar says.To drive this impact, he founded Aiko Corp, a company with the mandate to make a positive impact in people’s lives through technological innovation. Their flagship service, MEDFAST is predicted to improve the health sector in his country tremendously.

Two thousand laboratory analysis and 14,700 medical consultations are carried out each day in Mali, and many patients have to travel long distances several times to receive their prescriptions or test results. MEDFAST is a convenient and secure system that allows patients and medical institutions to confidentially send and receive medical documents online and via SMS message and USSD. The result: a streamlined service that is fast and convenient for both patients and medical institutions.

Aikio Corp founder Mr Boubacar Keita recieves first prize for MEDFAST at the 2016 Orange Innovation Challenge

Although still in the startup phase, MEDFAST has already managed to win awards from Seedstars (hosted by Impact Hub Bamako), the Orange Innovation challenge and Procej Innovation; and to receive plenty of local and international attention. The founder of “Mali’s best startup” was also one of the very first co-workers at Impact Hub Bamako. This is where Boubacar managed to move his idea into concrete development and he believes that the space has equipped him with a good network that provides him insights and advice about business — vital tools to help him and Aikio Corp make basic human rights like healthcare more accessible.

Aikio Corp contributes to the following UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through its work:

 

Jocelyn Nyaguse

Jocelyn Nyaguse

Communications Assistant: Africa

Jocelyn is a story teller at heart.She believes that storytelling is a critical way to share knowledge which adds value to our communities. Although now based in Harare, Joss has worked in various cities across the globe including Berlin, Leipzig, Durban and Cape Town.