How’s this for an innovative startup: four African girls — the eldest of which is just fifteen years old — have worked together to invent a generator that’s powered by urine. The group presented their creation at this year’s Maker Faire Africa, and it’s so freaking brilliant it makes me want travel back in time and punch 15-year-old me right in the solar plexus.
For all his star power, though, Damon is more than just the pretty face of Water.org. He has turned himself into a development expert. This would seem like an obvious and necessary first step for someone embracing the global water crisis as a personal mission. But, in fact, it’s highly unusual for a celebrity to dive this deep into a problem this daunting. Whether talking microfinance strategy with rural bankers, giving detailed reports from the field at the annual Clinton Global Initiative, or personally thanking donors like PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi, Damon has quietly developed the cred of a program geek.
Africa may often be seen as a lost continent, but a new study reveals a completely different image. Africans are becoming increasingly wealthy—at a faster pace than most assume. The growth spurt started in 1995 and is increasing at a constant rate. “Africa is reducing poverty, and doing it much faster than we thought,” write American National Bureau of Economic Research economists Xavier Sala-i-Martin and Maxim Pinkovskiy.