By Tom Jackson
Uganda’s BarefootLaw, Ghana’s Farmerline and Kenya’s Kytabu have been named winners of the King Baudouin African Development Prize, taking home EUR75,000 (US$84,000) each in prize money and access to a wide network of stakeholders who will support them as they grow.
This is the first year the King Baudouin Foundation has awarded the prize, which aims to recognise the achievements of young, African tech-entrepreneurs driving social change across the continent.
The three winning startups share the underlying principle of using simple technology to connect people with essential knowledge.
BarefootLaw is the first online legal service in East Africa, offering free-of-charge services that help those who are in need, especially the most vulnerable, to understand and defend their basic rights. Farmerline, meanwhile, connects over 200,000 farmers with market information, peers and larger organisations.
Kytabu has developed an innovative textbook content-leasing app for students, making school-reading accessible to 11 million students in Kenya to break down the high rate of students currently without access to textbooks.
The chair of the King Baudouin Foundation, Thomas Leysen, said by enabling local, creative initiatives focused on social good to grow, the prize aims to promote a culture of self-sufficiency and empowerment, not dependency.
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