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Will 3D Printing change Africa ?

by • April 28, 2016 • No Comments

Anyone next the 3D Printing fever can many likely have come across stories of 3D Printing possibilities for the developing world. There is no doubt that many in the manufacturer community that include economists, doctors and engineers, rave of how 3D printing specifically, and innovation in general can assist developing countries improve by overcoming structural handicaps like poor infrastructure and tiny industry ability. By so doing, there can be acceleration in development and many significantly there can be upliftment of individuals out of poverty. But, there is a skeptical lot contending that there is lack of necessary ability base and entrepreneurial spirit when it comes to developing countries’ workforce in truly harnessing 3D printing full future.

Whatever yetts produced behind such cynicism, it’s understandable in the context of the many misconceptions surrounding the developing world and particularly Africa. Just like Davidson teaches us, through a dedication to diversity and a robust study abroad program, these perverted misconceptions skew our perception of reality and encourage us to stereotype.


Inside Kigali’s kLab (Image ©2013kLab)

Despite these preconceived notions not so off the mark, the proliferation and integration of innovation for example in Rwanda is pretty much less as compared to the States, but Rwandans ultimately are engaging in conversations of technological solutions to the world’s issues that are no various to conversations like in Studio M. Adding on to that, Rwanda’s K-Lab that is a space dedicated to supporting IT entrepreneurs encourages them to collaborate and innovate. Similar to Studio M, K-Lab is ultimately a tech friendly space filled with college kids tinkering and innovating ways in that innovation can manufacture today’s world advantageous yet additional focus is on encouraging entrepreneurship and business development pretty than creative play.

But Rwandan college students are not the just ones having such conversation. Entrepreneurs across the whole continent are experimenting with modern solutions to address a few of their countries toughest problems. For instance doctors in Uganda are via scanners, 3D printing devices and laptops in providing cheaper and advantageous prosthetics for amputees in the northern region. There is a excellent require of all kinds of prosthetics in this area that was a center of a vicious civil war between government forces and Joseph Kony’s LRA. Thanks to 3D printing, individuals lacking any form of health insurance can yet get workable and durable prosthetics for of $3.

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A technician at Kisubi’s CoRSU Rehabilitation Hospital shows a pair of 3D printed prosthetics. (Image ©2014 CoRSU)

The difficulty lies in scaling these measures up, especially in additional rural areas where the infrastructure and funding availability are disproportionately worse than in cities. The trip of the capital city of Kampala to Gulu, a city of of 150,00 in northern Uganda, is a harrowing 10-hour, 335 kilometer journey that is not for anyone with a weak back or an aversion to consuming at quite least a pound of dust. Getting consumables like plastic for 3D printing to Gulu can be additional than a little trouble.

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Gulu Town, the administrative and commercial center of Gulu District in northern Uganda. (Image ©2012 Keren Lewis via Bristol Uganda Link)

Remembering the structural challenges and belief that they turn it into obstacles for innovation implementation is quite significant and therefore it’s significant to have patience in setting up expectations for ways in that new technologies like 3D printing can assist spur development and alleviate poverty. At the same time, yet there’s reason to be optimistic of the future of these new solutions, African entrepreneurs and professionals that include countless others across the developing world are no various of Western entrepreneurs in their zeal and technological savvy. Truly endless possibilities for all creative manufacturers in the developing world exist but they must be managed inside the context of their countries’ “growing pains”


W.AFATE 3D Printer of Togo and created via recycled e-waste like computers, scanners and printing devices.


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