Tom Jackson

  • Will Kenya’s Konza Techno City Ever Get Off The Ground?

    Konza Techno City By Tom Jackson, 8:35 am AFKI Original

    Fresh from tech achievements M-Pesa, iHub and Ushahidi, Kenya in 2013 launched a $14.5B project to build Konza Techno City, a large tech hub planned outside Nairobi. Four years later, funding for Kenyan tech startups is in freefall. There have been few recent notable tech success stories and Konza City seems further away than ever. Investors have been wary to put up money until they have assurances from the government on reliable low-cost energy, water, plans to limit traffic and prevent slums from being built near Konza.

  • What It’s Like For Startups To Partner With Mobile Operators In Emerging Markets

    Entrepreneurs use digital technology to increase farm productivity By Tom Jackson, 3:26 pm AFKI Original

    Startups innovate much faster than mobile operators but they lack the wide reach — and customers — that more established companies have. Mobile operators and startups in emerging markets should work together because collaboration could be mutually beneficial, according to a new GSMA report — “Opening Doors: A Start-Up’s Guide to Working With Mobile Operators in Emerging Markets.” Some mobile operators are openly listing their API documentation and integration processes, and are willing to listen to startup founders.

  • Why Is East Africa A Global Leader In Mobile Remittances?

    East Africa a global leader in mobile remittances By Tom Jackson, 9:58 pm AFKI Original

    TerraPay is the latest mobile payments platform to enter the crowded East African market with its launch in Tanzania. The challenge for the market lies in navigating regulatory hurdles from one country to the next, an expert said. Interoperability has the potential to unlock intra-African mobile remittances and could be key to promoting cross-border trade. It is expected to overcome challenges to scale and facilitate micro-transfers across borders, a common theme for Africa’s low-income population. Expect to see some consolidation in the market.

  • Opinion: South Africa’s Tech Startups Can Ride Out Junk Ratings Status

    By Tom Jackson, 1:00 am AFKI Original

    South African startups were the most popular in Africa for investment in 2016, with Cape Town and Johannesburg establishing themselves as hubs. Junk status could have a serious impact on this. Michael Jordaan, former CEO of South Africa’s First National Bank, is now an investor in innovative tech startups. The ratings downgrade is bad news for the economy as a whole but startups will be less affected than larger firms, he told AFKInsider. “Startups need to dominate a niche at first and in this sense the macro economy is a very small factor,” he said. “Startups should take comfort that they will survive and thrive if they keep their customers happy.”

  • Why African Banks Are Partnering With Fintech Startup Entrepreneurs

    fintech startup entrepreneurs By Tom Jackson, 12:36 pm AFKI Original

    Across Africa, banks are choosing to work with startups rather than compete against them. Citibank has run mobile challenges in Nairobi, Standard Bank has incubators in South Africa, and Barclays has just selected its second cohort in its Cape Town-based accelerator. Fintech startups are reimagining the concept, delivery and consumption of financial services in ways banks have been unable. However, such companies lack the financial clout and access to customers to ensure mass uptake of their solutions. Banks can offer them this.

  • Why More African Governments Must Commit To Affordable Internet

    Internet Users - African governments commit to affordable internet By Tom Jackson, 11:52 am AFKI Original

    In most of the developed world, reliable internet costs less than 1% of average monthly income. In Africa, it’s 18%. Governments are vital to drive down internet prices in Africa, stakeholders say. When connectivity costs drop to 2% of monthly income, reaserch shows the internet becomes accessible to all. Just five of 27 African countries surveyed have achieved the 2% affordability target. Free internet access is the simplest way to tackle economic inequality, a stakeholder said. “It allows people to find and apply for jobs, start online businesses, and generally engage with the economy around them.”

  • Uber Fighting On All Fronts In Africa As New Competitors Emerge

    Uber Africa new competition By Tom Jackson, 8:48 am AFKI Original

    Uber says there’s enough room in Africa for all types of taxi and ride-hailing services. The US-based tech company headed off early competition on the continent, but new competitiors are rising. Uber hypes up the competition, saying it means more choices that are affordable, reliable, and produce jobs. One new Uber competitior, Africa Ride, offers drivers a share in the business, saying it empowers them more than Uber does. “Drivers will want to log in on the app which they own and have control over,” said Africa Ride founder Thabo Mashale.

  • For Tech Startups, Rwanda Is Becoming The Test Kitchen Of Africa

    Rwanda is becoming the test kitchen of Africa By Tom Jackson, 10:06 am AFKI Original

    Vancouver tech innovator Barrett Nash was drawn to Rwanda for its repuation as an easy place to start a tech business. Rwanda issues entrepreneur visas to foreigners. It’s a lab-like environment where innovations can be cooked up and then brought to other African markets, Nash said. “Many startups try to conquer a market before they’ve mastered a product. A startup needs to grow into markets like Lagos and Nairobi, but getting the product right first is more important. Rwanda has created a continent-leading platform for taking this first pivotal step.”

  • It’s All About Language: Tech Entrepreneurs Suffer Through Cameroon’s Internet Shutdown

    Cameroon’s internet shutdown By Tom Jackson, 11:20 am AFKI Original

    President Paul Biya promised to increase technology jobs by investing in infrastructure, but Cameroon had been slow in its digital transformation. Stakeholders believe investors will be reluctant to back local companies there as a result of the internet shutdown. The government shutdown is expected to damage the many startups that were getting themselves investment ready in the country. By restricting internet access, “the government is sending the wrong messages to investors … they are undermining the future of its people.”

  • ShowMax Growth Shows African Video On Demand Can Go Global

    ShowMax Growth By Tom Jackson, 12:09 pm AFKI Original

    ShowMax’s European launch is proof that its hyper-local video-on-demand concept, pioneered in Africa, has wider application, says ShowMax Africa head Chris Savides. The cost of mobile data may be the biggest factor affecting the uptake of subscription video-on-demand on the continent. A number of services have tried and failed. It’s not an easy business because it’s not just about the technology, but also about understanding customer needs and content. “It may be that your niche isn’t the type of content but how you deliver that content in a way nobody else is doing,” Savides told AFKInsider.