Tom Jackson, 6:25 pm AFKI Original
Safaricom is future-proofing its business with innovative new products and an investment in a telecommunications lab, which will streamline innovation and testing at the Kenyan telecoms giant. It has been 10 years since Safaricom launched the M-Pesa mobile money service that is widely attributed to being the catalyst for Africa’s fintech ecosystem and having played a huge part in establishing the company as a market leader.
Tom Jackson, 10:33 pm AFKI Original
The Internet Of Things is already widespread, but people aren’t using the terminology or the platforms that bring greatest value to connectivity between devices, says Arthur Goldstuck, MD of South African tech market research firm World Wide Worx. In Africa, IoT is used primarily in vehicle tracking and telemetry — you might call them the first generation of IoT. There isn’t an industry in Africa that has not been disrupted, a stakeholder said. “All industries are moving into this digital age and are transitioning or transforming their business models. IoT is a key driver for that.”
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.”
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.
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.”