Tom Jackson

  • 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.

  • How African Tech Firms Export Their Innovations: It’s All About Storytelling

    How African tech firms export their innovations By Tom Jackson, 12:55 pm AFKI Original

    U.S. firms are suspicious of non-homegrown products, whereas Germany had a more positive view of Africa, says a South African fintech manager. “No technology product, no matter how cool, sells itself,” she said. The CEO of an African blockchain startup hopes to start doing business in Hollywood and Bollywood. He encourages new startups expanding internationally to “develop the narrative around their product, unique value proposition, back story, and successes.”

  • Mobile Money Not As Useful As Expected For Banking Poorer, Rural Africans

    rural Africans Mobile money By Tom Jackson, 2:19 pm AFKI Original

    Just 2% of retail transactions in Africa are electronic. Cash is still king and small transactions — less than $2 — have hindered the growth of mobile money outside of its Kenyan heartland. The value of M-Pesa and similar services is questionable for Africans living on just a few dollars a day. The average M-Pesa transaction value is closer to US$30. It’s unsustainable for agents to serve lower-income segments. They can’t afford to get down to the level of very small transactions, limiting the effect of mobile money on the bottom of the pyramid.

  • The Lights Are Still On In Nigerian E-Commerce Space

    Nigerian e-commerce - cashless e-commerce By Tom Jackson, 12:35 pm AFKI Original

    Despite the hype, profitability is still an unattainable ideal for Nigerian online shopping giants Konga and Jumia. Believers say e-commerce in Africa is “absolutely a long-term play.” They expect the short- and medium-term to be challenging. Players are still working on fast and easy payments and refunds, and trouble-free deliveries and returns. “It takes a long time for consumers to become comfortable shopping online, and it’s hard and expensive to accelerate this,” a stakeholder said. Investors aren’t all put off though. The potential prizes are too great.

  • Why African Education Is Ripe For A Digital Revolution

    African education is ripe for a digital revolution By Tom Jackson, 11:29 am AFKI Original

    From digital educational materials for school children to the Uberisation of tutoring, tech is finding new ways of improving access to quality learning in Africa. But it isn’t happening fast enough for some people. Data is expensive, and many areas still have little or no connectivity. African governments have spent a lot of money to enable e-learning, but have not yet seen the results. Still, it’s an attractive sector to investors. Africa’s e-learning market doubled in size from 2011 to 2016.

  • Africans Don’t Trust Elections. Here’s How Tech Could Help

    Africans don’t trust elections By Tom Jackson, 7:55 am AFKI Original

    As tech becomes more widespread in Africa, democratic processes will become more accessible. Internet and mobile technologies can reach remote areas and give voice to many. Rashaad Alli is a manager at South African nonprofit People’s Assembly, which supports websites that make parliamentary information more accessible to ordinary people. “Access to information is a great enabler to effect social change and deepen democracy,” Alli said. “Tech tools help increase transparency, expose corruption, strengthen democracy and hold governments to account.”

  • Help Wanted: 1000s Of Unfilled Software Jobs On A Continent Plagued By Unemployment

    unfilled software jobs in Africa By Tom Jackson, 10:02 am AFKI Original

    Africa is outsourcing great tech jobs to skilled workers on other continents. There are tens of thousands of unfilled software jobs on a continent plagued by unemployment, especially among its digitally savvy youth. Digital skills training is vital to Africa’s future, says the co-founder of CodeX, one of many companies in Africa trying to address the shorfall. Many of the continent’s challenges can be solved with tech solutions, but ultimately they must be solved by the people who understand the problems intimately – Africans themselves. Help is on the way. Here are some of the companies offering skills training in Africa.