Climatisé en Mali

Our good friend Forsty sent in the following picture of a “climatised” bus he took in Mopti, Mali the other day:


While it may not be the perfect example of an AfriGadget, it still helps to illustrate how people make do with what is available.

For some folks this may just be an unroadworthy vehicle, for others it’s a comfortable bus that will take you from A to B. Hey, and did we mention it’s air-conditioned? 🙂

Car Batteries and LEDs in Mali

Matt Berg has put together a wonderful photo montage on how LEDs and 12v batteries are changing the face of connectivity and cheap lighting in Mali. Reproduced here with his permission are the images from the (large) PDF.

“The mass market solution (LED + small rechargeable battery + 1 W solar panel) that will really make a difference will be Chinese and at a price that will encourage extremely fast adoption rates.”




“Used car batteries you can see are the “power lines” in a lot of African villages that form the basis of distributed power distribution.”





Bamako’s Digital Multimedia Bookshop

In downtown Bamako, Mali an entrepreneurial bookshop owner, Mamadou Coulibaly, has been attracting an ever-increasing number of clients and curious onlookers since the owner set up an odd-looking computer. “The Source” is a handmade computer box that acts as an offline distributor of online multimedia material. Anyone can step up to the kiosk and pick up anything from Wikipedia pages to local music. Their most popular requests: the Koran and Malian music.

[video link]

“Our goal is to give people a wider access to educational and cultural material, so this can help to trigger their desire to learn and expand their knowledge.”

This type of innovation really brings home the slow, or expensive, capacity of local internet connections. Bypassing internet cafes (slow) for local, or more static content, can be done through local-only internet hosting too. However, what’s ingenious here is the idea that most people in Bamako don’t need the internet connection at all. That by acting as a simple distribution node for dynamic information and media (the web) they are successfully filling the needs of the local population.

It’s always good to see local-level entrepreneurs benefiting from taking outside ideas and making them work for their needs in Africa. Many times a completely new solution isn’t needed, just a culturally relevant one.

[More on “The Source“]