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Where are the innovators? Here in Africa.

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• A local, slice-of-life story from a Monitor correspondent.

Imagine being able to start your car from wherever you are, no matter the distance, with just a text from your cellphone. Peterson Mwangi, a young innovator from Nyeri, Kenya, has developed a tool that can deliver on that concept. His is just one innovation featured on AfriGadget.com, a website that highlights African innovators and their creations from the practical to the artistic to the outright quirky.

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You can find handmade bark paper in Madagascar, cellphone and laptop cases made from bamboo in Cameroon, a boat made from discarded drinking water bottles in Kenya, and a robotic porridge-cooking machine in Malawi.

AfriGadget was created by Erik Hersman, a Swede who grew up in Kenya and Sudan and who now blogs about technology from Nairobi, Kenya. Editors and bloggers from around the African continent, or who have African connections, seek out innovators and contribute content and pictures of their work. Afrigadget aims to show how microentrepreneurs in Africa have used their high- and low-tech ingenuity to develop simple, sustainable inventions.

Mr. Hersman is also an organizer for Maker Faire Africa, an innovation fair that has attracted participants from seven countries on the continent.


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