Africa, the startup that sells Ai for farms to the United States

Africa, the startup that sells Ai for farms to the United States


Matera - Vittorio is allergic to flour, but despite this he made bread for seventy years in San Leo, a hilltop village in the province of Rimini. To work every night, he is forced to wear a mask. When, in 2018, the time comes to quit, for the country it means losing a daily habit. Thus, a cooperative, Appennino l'Hub, decides to put the old oven back into operation. He collects three hundred thousand euros, obtains the necessary authorizations, contacts the suppliers again. But nobody wants to work until dawn, every day, to bake fresh bread. “The solution was simple: instead of a gas oven, we bought a programmable electric one that can also be controlled from home with a mobile phone or a computer”, says Andrea Zanzini, who has followed the project from the very beginning. The nights are safe, and today five people work in the bakery, two of whom are residents of San Leo.

The story told by Zanzini is one of the many heard at the Social Enterprise Open Camp, which has just closed the third edition in Matera. In the city, reborn for some years around the events after having been the European Capital of Culture in 2019, operators from the third sector, entrepreneurs, investors, Italian and international philanthropists met. The organization was part of the CGM consortium, the largest Italian network of cooperatives and social enterprises, and of Opes, an impact fund specialized in supporting projects aimed at low-income people and vulnerable sections of the population. Patient capitals, they call them, almost an oxymoron.

Code for Africa and the others

We talk about finance but there are few jackets, and no ties, in the rooms of the Sant'Anna institute that have hosted good quality panels and parade young and old. Passion here rhymes with mission, but also with welfare, social inclusion, community creation. The real center of gravity this year, however, has been technology, declined in stories that escape the story of the mainstream media, sometimes even those of the sector.

As Jacopo Ottaviani, Roman, director of the data program of Code for Africa, impact accelerator born ten years ago on the continent, knows well. “We are a federation of civic initiatives based on open data and data journalism - he says to -. Primum movens, spreading digital democracy and IT skills "in a territory that started from the end, where it is not uncommon to meet fintech unicorns, but which is confronted with a disorderly and unrestrained urbanization, extreme inequalities, political instability. And which is still profoundly present. rural.

Ottaviani, who in a parallel life is an attentive journalist, presented African Drone together with co-founder Cristian Onyando. "We are a non-profit network that supports drone pioneers across the continent - has explained Onyando - because we believe that these aircraft, on land, in the air or at sea, are able to provide citizens with new and powerful means to understand their world and improve the responsibility of public administrators. "African Drone aims to be a network of self-help: we get together to find funding, share resources and training, even through a collaborative database, but also to get mig prices liori for equipment when making group purchases. And to offer the services of local professionals, often crushed by international companies, for example when it comes to journalism.

A rural continent

But if the press, especially the data-based one, can improve the quality of democratic life, it must be borne in mind that they are avant-garde. Africa remains a continent in which the primary sector counts a lot. As in Uganda, forty-seven million inhabitants and fourteen million farmers. In Kampala, the capital, Ronald Katamba helps herders reduce cattle mortality, theft, and access the market thanks to a microchip implanted behind the ear that allows them to monitor the position and a range of vital signs of the herds. Artificial intelligence expert Katamba trains the machine learning system to try to predict digestive disorders, fertility, lameness. The data collected in rural areas - where veterinarians hardly arrive - can also be shared with the government, to improve fundamental epidemiological prevention plans.

Ronald Katamba on the stage of SEOC 2022 in Matera (photo: Antonio Piemontese)

With studies in America and a career as a national level golfer, Katamba certainly belongs to an elite in able to lead the modernization of the country. Today, he declares, his company already generates revenues of over a million dollars, and sells as far as Ohio, where the American Midwest begins. Indeed, he specifies. "We are not the ones selling: they are the ones who come to us", he lets slip, with a touch of pride, before inviting us to go and see for himself. urban innovation, but the basic political instability does not help. The trip to Italy is an opportunity to look for financiers and industrial partners: the entrepreneur is convinced that his solution could have a market also in Europe. notice the anomalous temperature. "It seems to be in my country. Are you sure you have winter?"

The difference between novelty and innovation

As shown by the reported stories, in the three days Materana, the reflection went beyond techno-optimism. Even with the voice of some unsuspected ones. Like Mario Calderini, Professor of Business and Strategic Decisions at the School of Management of the Politecnico di Milano. "Technology and innovation have certainly been very useful - he said - but sometimes the consequences have not been considered ”. There is no doubt that "technology helps us to live better - continued the academic - but so much of innovation is meaningless. We have to rethink it, and give a market to the future ”. Also because, he remarked, "the opportunity gap is growing impressively." Gig economy, tourist platforms, social media have drawn the present: but the giants of the web, even those who cloak themselves in persuasive narratives, are ultimately aiming for quarterly The synthesis? "We must call innovation only that which considers all the effects of the technological transition". The rest is just news.

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