We believe that many of the world's poorest communities are prevented from engaging effectively in trade and building their prosperity by fundamental gaps in the market or breakdowns in value chains.

TechforTrade works at the interface of technology, trade and entrepreneurship. Our Digital Blacksmith initiative is a great example of how TechforTrade is developing innovative technologies and applying them to a trading challenge.   Working with local partners, we are developing the Digital Blacksmith concept into a sustainable social businesses that will create new economic opportunities and improve the lives of the poor.

Bringing fresh thinking to some of the world’s oldest problems.

3D Printing for Development

3D printing could do for distribution what the Internet has done for information

For millions of the world’s poorest people, obtaining basic staple items that we take for granted is simply impossible.  Most developing countries have little local product development or manufacturing capability, while poor infrastructure drives up the cost of imported goods, putting them out of reach.

If a product can be conceived, it can be designed and sent down the wires to a 3D printer anywhere in the world.

Our vision is to release the power of 3D printing by creating a network of sustainable Digital Blacksmith businesses, combining the ethical creation and sale of 3D printing supplies (printers and filament), skills training and, of course, manufacture of goods most needed by their local communities.


Improving the lives of 1 million people within the next 5 years


TechforTrade is building the 3D Printing for Development ecosystem to support this disruptive innovation

These are a couple of our achievements:


The world’s only fully open source 3D printer built in Africa, constructed from e-waste, 3D printed components and parts easily available in developing countries.


A process for manufacturing 3D printer filament from locally sourced waste plastic, using our low cost, open source 'Thunderhead' extruder, designed by TechforTrade.

More about Digital Blacksmiths - Read and download the HackSpace Article, May 2018


Waste to Value, the M-Taka Concept


Waste pickers in developing countries face many health risks when working and living on waste disposal sites. In addition, pickers are unable to earn enough money to improve their livelihood in any meaningful way. Working with a team of volunteers, we have developed a conceptual framework that may eradicate some of these problems.

The framework is supported by a mobile platform that will offer waste pickers the opportunity to collect high-value waste and deliver directly to recycling plants. Not only will this remove them from the hazardous environment of the landfill sites but also give them access to higher-value recyclable materials with knowledge of the type and source of the waste.

We are now seeking support to enable us to establish a field trial to validate the concept.

The trial scope will include:

  • Minimum viable product (MVP) to be tested in a small area of a single market.
  • Platform will have a basic mobile-app for recyclables sources to use (e.g. Embassies).
  • A trial pool of c40 waste collectors will be recruited. Waste collectors to be sent a text message to notify
  • Delivery to existing list of recyclables buyers
  • Trial run in for minimum four month period
  • Focus on signing-up sufficient suppliers (Embassies / hotels/ international company local offices) to ensure demand.

We’re currently seeking a funding partner interested in this innovative waste to value concept.

If you can help, please contact

For general enquiries, please contact us at

TechforTrade has been supported by

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TechforTrade | Charitable Incorporated Organisation No.1137802