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Addis Ideas: The app that aims to revolutionize African development

Guest post by Chanty Gbaye and Rabiya Asad

For the last half century, Africa was seen as the continent that lagged behind the rest of the world when it came to development. Given the billions of dollars allocated to ignite and galvanize change, some still view Africa as a place of lost hopes and dreams. Addis Ideas is here to prove that is nowhere close to the truth.

Addis Ideas is the brainchild of lifelong friends Mitu Yilma and Tia Ayele. From their parents meeting and connecting as fellow Ethiopian diaspora at an Atlanta gas station, to graduating from prestigious universities and moving to the same city, Mitu and Tia’s friendship has stood the test of time and has now branched into the business world.

The formation of Addis Ideas began with the duo’s decision to put the power back in the hands of African nationals and the diaspora. The founders set to create an open forum connecting African entrepreneurs, investors and innovators on – and off – the continent to collaborate and realize their hopes for Africa. Since mobile penetration is at an all-time high in the continent, it only made sense that Addis Ideas provided users a mobile-first online platform.

Our users can submit their ideas into a live feed, where they can receive public support and private sponsorship from the Addis Ideas online community. By offering a web application accessible by mobile and desktop, Addis Ideas brings in African users that may have experienced previous barriers to voicing their ideas. Not everyone may have access to influential figures or a broad audience, but nearly everyone has access to a cell phone!

Our startup is currently in its soft launch phase. On April 7, the first iteration of the Addis Ideas mobile app was revealed to a packed crowd at the International Finance Corporation in Washington, D.C., with attendees from across the African diaspora community. In its next phase, Addis Ideas will travel to Ethiopia to launch in Addis Ababa before scaling to other African countries.

As the app is still in its early development stage, the road ahead is long, but nonetheless one that our venture is prepared to traverse. Driven by their motto “African ideas matter,” the Addis Ideas team is here to revolutionize African development as we know it–and it will only be for the better.

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