A UK university spin-out has developed a bacteria-powered battery which harvests energy from microorganisms in the soil to recharge itself, with a prototype already rolled out in Brazil. Demand is rising around the world for agricultural sensors and Internet of Things devices that provide real-time data.
Esther Kimani, a Kenyan, has been named the winner of Africa’s biggest engineering prize, the Royal Academy of Engineering’s Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation. The solar-powered tool uses computer vision algorithms and advanced machine learning to detect and identify crop pests, pathogens or diseases, as well as the nature of the infection.
Cooking with solar energy has a long history and involves many solutions—from can cookers to solar concentrators. However, these solutions have never really taken off. The reasons behind this are many, but one major challenge is that some solutions require access to solar energy exactly when you need it.
The IEA’s latest report into the progress on achieving universal energy access shows global population growth is outpacing energy access growth, with 10 million more people without access in 2022 than 2021. And, initial data gathered for 2023 indicates that the number of people globally without access to electricity is back on a downward trend.
Since 2000, access to electricity has increased across the globe. But having access means little when the power is not working, is unreliable, or is too costly to use.For too many around the world, newly gained connections to electricity services have not resulted in meaningful benefits to their daily lives.
Africa can become less dependent on resource-based economies and build more resilient economic systems. Unfortunately, some African cities have been slow to adopt the startup trend. Kisumu, Kenya ranks number 1 on this list and 985th globally.
The initiative, jointly launched by the UNECA in partnership with the Global Energy Interconnection Development and Cooperation Organization (GEIDCO), and the Association of Power Utilities of Africa (APUA), envisages providing training on EVs and energy storage technologies for Africa’s sustainable development.
Building a startup nation requires more than just rhetoric and promises; it demands tangible action and investment in the right assets: technical infrastructure, political stability, administrative efficiency, and talent development. Only then can countries truly harness the potential of their digital-native population.

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