Nigeria is Africa's troubled giant. Although it is the continent's largest economy, the country still grapples with the challenges of abject poverty, compromised economic growth, and civil discord.
Nigeria by-the-numbers is both promising and disheartening.
Nigeria isn't a poor nation so it is hard to fathom why so many Nigerians go hungry everyday. A new breed of entrepreneurs are aiming to solve this challenge and they are using tech as a way to bridge the gap created by social and economic disenfranchisement. Oscar Ekponimo happens to be one of them. The software engineer turned entrepreneur founded Chowberry, an app that connects grocery markets to NGOs and charities, putting leftover food to good use. Chowberry aims to provide a simple solution to a complex problem.
Here's how it works:
"The app initiates discounts that grow larger the longer the products remain unsold. Local aid groups and other selected nonprofits are alerted about these discounts and also when supermarkets are giving food away for free. Food that would otherwise have gone in the trash is instead distributed to orphanages and needy families." (Time, March 2017)
As with anything and everything that happens in any part of Africa, progress is slow. But such obstacles mean nothing when matched by grit and determination.
“Our system helped [orphanages] cut down on their spending by more than 70%,” he says. Although every small retailer Ekponimo has approached in Nigeria has embraced Chowberry, he says, larger companies have been slow to adopt the technology, mainly because of red tape. “That’s been my biggest challenge.” (Time, March 2017)
Despite the red tape, the startup isn't deterred.
Video courtesy of AJ+.