in East Africa, Innovation, Mobile apps

Addis Ideas: Where African ideas matter


I am Mitu, Co-Founder of Addis Ideas. This project is based on a mobile application that solely relies on African innovation and crowd sources African development ideas from African nationals and the African diaspora.

Foreign institutions waste billions of dollars every year on failed development initiatives. Most of the foreign investments fail because of an insufficient knowledge of local conditions in Africa or donors who struggle with political and economical issues. These are truisms echoed by the likes of international economist, Dambisa Moyo, and others in the community who realize African development must start with Africans.

My business partner, Tia, and I grew tired of seeing the same cycle of inefficacy repeat itself in our homeland of Ethiopia. A few months ago, we reached a point where we were done talking about stalled development, red tape, and the lack of African voices in African development.

Addis Ideas was born out of that point of frustration. My partner and I are developing a revolutionary mobile application that will be the first, streamlined source of new and necessary African ideas. By the end of last year, an estimated 635 million Africans attained mobile phones. Addis Ideas will empower these African mobile users to become problem solvers in their areas.

Here’s how it works: Users submit ideas (such as constructing solar roof panels in schools) by posting a description of the problem and a proposed solution. Submitted ideas are published to a live feed featuring other popular ideas in the area. Users can also collaborate with each other upon request. Our collaboration chat rooms allow the owner of the idea and approved users to work together and build upon project ideas.

Verified Sponsors — who represent key NGOs, government institutions, and relevant private sector businesses — can use our search feature to locate innovative and scalable projects to invest both professional and financial assistance. With their input, users’ ideas come to life.

We’ll launch the Addis Ideas pilot program in Addis Ababa with the first stable version of our app this fall for free on Google Play. Then, we expect to improve the app, according to our experience in Ethiopia, to launch it throughout Sub Saharan Africa.

Ultimately, Tia and I are thankful for our frustration. We’re thankful for that feeling that kept gnawing at us during endless conversations regarding the lack of African voices in development. Reaching that point built Addis Ideas. Now we’ve created a space where African Ideas finally matter.

For more information, please visit:; and to donate to our Indiegogo campaign, please visit:

Please see the video above to see how our application works!

Mitu Yilma
Addis Ideas

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  1. Fine but how will you make money for yourselves, obviously some one will have to pay the bills ? Most of the problems in Africa arise because of lack of ethical behaviour at every level that I have witnessed first hand. It is like wild west, free for all where you hit and run with your bacon. It is hard to make much progress when might is right and there is no respect for property rights etc.
    It is not easy to walk on swapy ground, we need to know your vision of how you will develop the path ways through them.
    Please let me know–

    • Hi Kicero,

      Governments should reinforce there power. Policies and laws are present but Governments don’t always have the possibility to enforce laws.
      The path is long for a better governance, more transparency and empower citizens but there are tons of initiatives in Africa to build more efficient governments.