Addis Ideas: Bringing African Ideas to Life

By Chanty Gbaye, Marketing Fellow at Addis IdeasAddis Ideas

At Addis Ideas, we believe that the best development solutions for Africa come from within African communities. After decades of work and trillions of dollars spent, traditional Western models of development are still not working. The primary reason traditional development efforts fail is an insufficient understanding of local African conditions, largely due to a failure to include African voices. We know that sustainable change starts from the bottom up, not from the top down.

The Addis Ideas online application is Africa’s first “ideas engine,” a platform for crowdsourcing development innovations from African nationals and diaspora. Through the App, we are disrupting the cycle of ineffective development campaigns by providing a space for users to voice problems, propose solutions, collaborate with others in their communities and potentially seek outside sponsorship.

The App works by allowing users to submit their development ideas to a live feed where others may view, ‘like,’ or ask to collaborate on their projects. Users are linked to others in their communities as well as to Verified Sponsor profiles, which include key NGOs, government institutions, universities, and relevant businesses. The Verified Sponsors also benefit by having a clean, up-to-date database of the best solutions and entrepreneurs in communities where they are looking to invest.

Addis Crowd

Audience Members at the April 7 Launch Event

On April 7, we launched the Addis Ideas App to a sold-out crowd at the International Finance Corporation in downtown Washington, D.C. Strong, positive feedback from the event has reinforced our belief that African nationals and diaspora want to be the agents of change for development in their communities.

The Launch Event was the start of our soft launch phase, during which we will continue testing the application with African diaspora communities in the D.C., Maryland and Virginia region – an area with a high concentration of African diaspora.

If you are a member of the African diaspora, we would love to have your help to fine tune the application. Please send your feedback regarding the App to our Co-Founders, Mitu Yilma ( and Tia Ayele ( Stay tuned to IdEA’s Facebook and Twitter channels for updates about future in-person events in the DC area.

Following the soft launch phase, Addis Ideas will launch in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. We hope that Addis Ideas will one day be a household name that is recognizable throughout the continent and African diaspora communities.