Wednesday, December 2

Trends

Africa’s Technology Hub Rises in a Congested Lagos Neighborhood
Trends, West Africa

Africa’s Technology Hub Rises in a Congested Lagos Neighborhood

The fading facades of century-old buildings in a neighborhood of the Nigerian megacity of Lagos house a vibrant technology cluster that’s caught the eye of Facebook Inc. and Alphabet Inc.’s Google. The Yaba area, home to the Yaba College of Technology and the University of Lagos, is an emerging technology ecosystem -- from fewer than 10 startups in 2013 to more than 60 today, including businesses like booking site Hotels.ng. It also hosts digital labs for Nigeria’s oldest bank, First Bank of Nigeria Ltd., and Stanbic IBTC, the local subsidiary of Africa’s largest lender. “Lagos, like other major cities such as Nairobi and Accra, is at the height of this exciting expansion in innovation across tech, with Yaba quickly finding itself at the center,” said Chimdindu A...
Diving deep into Africa’s blossoming tech scene
Trends

Diving deep into Africa’s blossoming tech scene

Jumia may be the first startup you’ve heard of from Africa. But the e-commerce venture that recently listed on the NYSE is definitely not the first or last word in African tech. The continent has an expansive digital innovation scene, the components of which are intersecting rapidly across Africa’s 54 countries and 1.2 billion people. When measured by monetary values, Africa’s tech ecosystem is tiny by Shenzen or Silicon Valley standards. But when you look at volumes and year over year expansion in VC, startup formation, and tech hubs, it’s one of the fastest growing tech markets in the world. In 2017, the continent also saw the largest global increase in internet users—20 percent. If you’re a VC or founder in London, Bangalore, or San Francisco, you’ll likely i...
IT Professionals Leaving South Africa Cite Political and Economic Concerns
Southern Africa, Trends

IT Professionals Leaving South Africa Cite Political and Economic Concerns

President Cyril Ramaphosa recently called on young white South Africans not to leave the country in a pre-election campaign drive in Stellenbosch. He said that the fears that many white South Africans have of not being wanted, “is entirely not true”. “There is a place, there is room for all of us,” the president said. The problem of professionals leaving South Africa, however, extends far beyond the young white population. Many qualified people are leaving the country in search for a better future for themselves and their families. IT professionals leaving South Africa MyBroadband’s 2019 IT Salary Survey revealed that 46% of IT professionals in South Africa are planning to leave South Africa permanently, or work abroad, in the near future. The survey was conducted in Apr...
South Africa Ranked Top Startup Ecosystem in Africa, But Drops in World Rankings
Southern Africa, Trends

South Africa Ranked Top Startup Ecosystem in Africa, But Drops in World Rankings

South Africa may still have the highest ranked startup ecosystem for an African country, but it is no longer in the top 50 club, after dropping 13 spots, a new ranking shows. The ranking — developed by StartupBlink, a global startup ecosystem map with tens of thousands of registered startups, coworking spaces and accelerators — was released last week. It ranks 100 countries and 1000 cities for 2018. Startup Blink draws its data from what it claims is an algorithm that analyses tens of thousands of data points on registered startups, accelerators and coworking spaces listed on the StartupBlink global startup ecosystem map, as well as data received from its global partners such as Crunchbase and SimilarWeb. The report puts South Africa just behind Malaysia, Slovakia, Slovenia and C...
The Rapid Growth of Digital Business in Africa
Trends

The Rapid Growth of Digital Business in Africa

The latest technology firm to list on the New York Stock Exchange is not from Silicon Valley but from Africa. Jumia, an e-commerce platform with over 4 million customers in 14 African countries, saw its shares jump by around 70% on its NYSE debut day on April 12th. That put the company’s market capitalization at close to $2 billion, cementing its status as Africa’s first technology unicorn. Jumia’s successful NYSE listing is a timely reminder of Africa’s rapid digitization — a trend that has been hidden from the view of many global investors and executives. Africa already has 122 million active users of mobile financial services, more than half the global total. Its number of smartphone connections is forecast to double from 315 million in 2015 to 636 million in 2022 — twice the projec...
Africa’s startup ecosystems are at a major turning point
ecommerce, Trends

Africa’s startup ecosystems are at a major turning point

It isn’t hyperbole to describe last week as a turning point for the African startup ecosystem. The obvious reason: The successful initial public offering of Jumia. Yet it’s bigger than the e-commerce company, and it’s a tide that had started to turn since the second half of 2018. Jumia, now listed on the New York Stock Exchange, may not represent the greatest of financial boons for a majority of African investors (though South Africa’s MTN is still its largest shareholder—for now). Getting the IPO—Africa’s largest e-commerce service, operating in 14 countries—off the ground represented a coming of age for a sector the world’s biggest capital markets and investors often have portrayed as a well-intentioned but fanciful dream. That was particularly clear for anyone with a perspective dr...
The New Tech Era: job-killer or job-creator?
Trends

The New Tech Era: job-killer or job-creator?

At a time when Jumia, Africa’s biggest e-commerce company, is preparing to raise several hundred million dollars on the New York Stock Exchange, and the Mauritius-based IHS Towers communications giant is doing the same, it seems beside the point to ask whether “Tech” is good for the continent. Like Kenya-based Safaricom and the pioneering M-Pesa mobile money service, these companies are at the vanguard of Africa’s technological revolution. They are making money for their shareholders but more importantly they – and a generation of start-ups across the continent – are putting African engineers, innovators and mathematicians on the world stage, showcasing ideas and systems that other regions are rushing to copy. Norway is trying to keep up with Kenya in the mobile-money stakes. Ye...
Are We Grooming Women Leaders in Africa’s Technology Ecosystem?
Opinion, Trends

Are We Grooming Women Leaders in Africa’s Technology Ecosystem?

Women in technology in Africa do not have the same leadership opportunities as their male counterparts. While there has been an increase in the number of women stepping into technology careers as a result of several training and mentorship initiatives, they are finding it difficult to rise through the ranks. Only three out of ten senior managers in the telecoms, media and technology industry in Africa are women, according to a 2016 report by McKinsey & Company. According to the report, women are less likely to get a promotion. Only about four in ten promotions in private businesses go to women across Africa. There are fewer women as one moves from non-management roles to senior management roles. Women across Africa are defying the odds and taking a seat at the table in the b...
Uber launches UberASSIST to help elderly and disabled riders in Nairobi
Apps, Central Africa, East Africa, Trends

Uber launches UberASSIST to help elderly and disabled riders in Nairobi

Uber in Kenya has announced the launch of a new product; UberASSIST a platform that caters for senior riders and riders with access needs in the wake of World Disability Day last week. Drivers driving on UberASSIST have attended dedicated information sessions and are better equipped to help senior riders and those with access needs to travel more effectively and more frequently thus enabling them to enjoy the freedom they deserve. “Everyone deserves an opportunity to travel freely within their own city, and with UberASSIST, we are able to provide reliable transportation to senior citizens and riders with access needs,” says Loic Amando, General Manager of Uber in East Africa. Continue reading Photo: Laura Dale / AAP
Apps, Trends

Here’s how tech is revolutionising transport for low-income communities in urban Africa

The transport and mobility sector have undergone significant change in recent years. Disruptive technology and the sharing economy have completely transformed the mobility space, creating new markets with a more on-demand, consumer-centric model. Taxi apps like Uber and Lyft have revolutionised notions of accessibility, convenience and predictability in public transport. But in South Africa, approximately 42.4 million people still rely on traditional modes of public transport. In the Western Cape province, 52 percent of households use minibus taxis (unscheduled privately-operated minibus services carrying passengers), while almost 22 percent of households use trains. Historically, the previous apartheid regime segregated South Africans by racial group and assigned specific race grou...