How to encourage innovation in Africa: Khanyi Dhlomo, Ndalo Media Founder & Ashish Thakkar, Mara Group Founder

Khanyi Dhlomo, Founder, Ndalo Media: The biggest enabler for African success is actually not necessarily external: Credit: Red Photographic/WSJ

How is innovation in Africa different from innovation in Silicon Valley? And how can innovation in Africa be encouraged? Dan Keeler, Frontier Markets Editor of The Wall Street Journal, discussed those questions with Khanyi Dhlomo, founder and chief executive of Ndalo Media, a publisher based in South Africa, and Ashish Thakkar, founder of Mara Group, a pan-African investment group with operations in banking, real estate, infrastructure and technology. Edited excerpts follow.

MR. KEELER: What about innovation in Africa? Khanyi, what sort of things are you seeing that are inspiring you?

MS. DHLOMO: There’s a lot of innovation happening in Africa. But it’s not necessarily sexy in sort of the globally expected way. Much of the innovation is around solving problems and meeting real human needs.

For example, Fyodor Biotechnologies has created malaria testing kits designed for the African market. You can use them at home and they are urine-based. The company is producing about two million of them now.

Read more: How to Encourage Innovation in Africa – WSJ