Over the past year, How we made it in Africa interviewed numerous entrepreneurs and business people running successful ventures on the continent. It is interesting to note that two out of the five most-read articles were about entrepreneurs in Ethiopia.
1. Made in Ethiopia: The story of Holland Car
How we made it in Africa looks at the story behind Holland Car, Ethiopia’s first car assembly firm. Read more
2. Young entrepreneur behind Eat Out, Kenya’s dining revolution
Mikul Shah, the co-founder and chief executive of online restaurant guide Eat Out (eatout.co.ke), talks to Regina Ekiru on how he introduced the concept to the Kenyan market. Read more
3. Ethiopian fruit company’s vision is more than a quick buck
We talk to Irish businessman David O’Halloran about his company’s groundbreaking passion fruit business in Ethiopia’s Upper Awash valley. Read more
4. Made in Madagascar: US chocolate company defying the status quo
Although Africa has abundant resources, most of these are exported for processing abroad. A US chocolate manufacturer is, however, following a different path. Read more
5. M-Farm: Boosting Kenya’s agricultural sector, one SMS at a time
Regina Ekiru speaks to the founders of M-Farm, one of Kenya’s most well-known mobile phone based solutions for the agricultural sector. Read more
Thanks to everyone who has shown us support thus far, we appreciate you all for understanding what we are looking to do. If you are interested in joining our team as a blogger, or in any other fashion, please contact us and let us know.
Remember to check out our forum if you have something in mind that you would like to post in the message board and share with others.
I love Africa, it is my foundation. I rejoice in the fact that my roots are not faulty. I delight in knowing this is a solid rock upon which I stand. I find comfort in seeing my people wish me success, and with that same magnitude of innocent intention I wish them favor filled with good fortune. There is a reassurance of survival when I understand that these blessings have been the product of hardship and struggles. But despite these trials I look at Africa and smile, because Africa is my foundation. And for me, all other ground is sinking sand.
African Proverb (via young-simba)
parents’ marriage expectations by Guest
“Many of us might not be around the age to get married tomorrow but the time to find a partner is soon approaching. I always joke around about my parents being upset if I choose to marry a non-Nigerian, they’d be even more upset if I chose to marry a non-African overall.
I know it’s a dilemma that a lot of African kids face whether you’re from the North, South, East or West. Angola, Somalia, Nigeria, Kenya, I’ve heard similar sentiments shared amongst a variety of people. And so I’m wondering if you experience the same expectations? Whether spoken or not. My mom always jokes with me about not bringing home a white person or an akata as a potential spouse or even to date but I question what her reaction would be if I really did.
The idea of me bringing home someone who my parents don’t deem as acceptable bothers me more than it probably should. I wonder if anyone else goes through similar concerns…”
It has been a banner year for the Africa technology scene as the world begins to turn to the continent – theEconomist Africa rising cover story article was for many, a big validation in the future opportunities as well as challenges for Africa. The best follow up post worth reading is by Professor Juma of the Harvard Kennedy School in the UK Guardian blog, both recognize the importance of the technology scene in supporting Africa’s prosperity.
In the spirit of the new year and holidays, I compiled 12 predictions for 2012 based on my experience and trends I am seeing as a Silicon Valley professional, observer and participant within the East African tech startup scene, many inspired from stories we covered here over 2011. Here’s to a great year in Africa Tech. I hope to continue covering this exciting area next year and beyond.
1) Feature phone to Smartphone + a touch of Tablet: Smartphone adoption will grow among Africa’s emerging middle class as entry prices for an unlocked phone continue to dip below $100. Nokia/Microsoft Symbian/Windows Phone and Google/Samsung Android will battle for smartphone dominance- Nokia’s strong brand and feature phone momentum will prove to be an advantage. But affordable Chinese smartphones led by Huawei’s Ideos will continue to tempt Africans to upgrade. Tablet usage will begin growing as prices drop below $200 starting within education sector. Check out the Nigerian tablet from Encipher based on Android, locally designed hardware customized to a big local market like Nigeria is a smart strategy if prices are kept in check. RIM’s Blackberry will continue to be adopted by the elite and corporate circles- one of the last bright spots for RIM’s declining dominance who initially popularized the smartphone category.
The internet user growth in Africa has seen a huge a rise compared to 10 years ago, but the numbers still do the not equal up to the hype around African countries. Kenya, South Africa, and Nigeria have been called the Hub the Africa’s internet community in which many online start-up companies derive from. According to the numbers Nigeria has the largest amount of internet users with a population of 150 million and only 43 million being online shows major growth within the country and also major potential within the next 10 years to double that number. This growth only accrued within the space of 10 years from the year 2000 to 2011 Kenya has not got the same outcome as they have a population of 41 million and only 4 million internet users. This is due to factors such as lack of infrastructure in making telecommunications accessible to the wider population. South Africa has a similar problem with only 7 million internet users out of 49 million people.
This may also come down to the mindset of the African as they may not see any use if the internet yet. Compared to Kenya compared to a country like the UK which has 84% of its population accessing the internet every day. It has become a utility within the western culture which we cannot do without.
The mobile market within Africa in booming with 30% of African’s with a mobile handset. Which might potentially reach 561 million (53.5%) by 2012 mobile application within industries such as banking, agriculture and information have already been developed and successful in places such as Kenya, Nigeria and south Africa. Companies such as M-pesa which grew to 6.5 million subscribers and 2 million daily transactions.
A company such Paga a payment which recently launched in Nigeria which estimates the market to be with 1 billon dollars. Mobile social networks have been developing in South Africa for years with networks such as MIXit which is bigger facebook in South Africa. A country as big as Nigeria still as 100 million users to sign up in addition to that with a growing middle class in Africa e-commerce websites will be more valuable.
African countries should be going into directions similar to countries like Brazil with over 75 million people online out of 194 million. With growing middle class tech entrepreneurs seem to taking up the opportunity and setting up companies within Brazil. Once we see the same middle class growing in Africa and the misconception of African countries as un-investible we will see Africa not only being attractive for its natural resources but its consumers spend.
http://www.internetworldstats.com/stats1.htm ( Internet users)
If there is something on your mind, that’s relevant to African communities and topic matters pertaining to these communities that you would like to bring up and discuss with others, please feel free to visit our forum and enlighten us with your thoughts. Others will be able to respond, and we will also chime in where we feel appropriate. Hopefully this will make for great conversation and be an opportunity to learn from one another.
Africa will rise and shine from the ashes of self destruction. We can and should choose enlightenment but strangely, we continue to loathe ourselves. Rise up Africa, the 21st century belongs to us, let’s rise up to the challenges that face us. Let’s feed our people, lets build our motherland because that … we can do!
OK, so I am about to criticise a Charity Christmas single (just a warning.)
Before I start I will point out that I do understand that the song is not meant to be taken literally and do understand ‘the spirit of it.’ My issue here is that a song should not be seen as brilliant regardless of poor quality simply because it is a Christmas song. The lyrics are somewhat insulting towards the people of Africa in that it makes them out to be uncivilised and continuallyy milks the stereotype of Africa being a barren continent full of people living in straw huts and having no concept with the outside world.Regardless of poverty (which i will mention) this is an insult and extremely insensitive like saying all Arabs ride Camels, are called Ahmed and travel the desert in a trading caravan.
This really annoys me, it never picks up on the natural beauty of Africa or but tells the listener “they are all poor and going to be sad because of you” when the vast majority of people from nations such as Ethiopia and Eritrea (where the charity was sending the money” are always smiling and happy no matter what the world throws at them. I know that how because it is a Charity song it should be above criticism (etc.. etc…) but seriously, it was written by someone with an awful sense of Georgraphy and no knowledge of Africa at all outside of watching Oxfam videos and perhaps Indiana Jones.
Let’s look at 3 examples in the lyrics.
“Do they know it’s Christmas time at all?”
This is the key line of the song, written about people suffering in the Ethipoian Famine. The short answer is Yes. According to the 2007 National Census, Christians make up 62.8% of the Ethiopian population. Every one of these know it is Christmas and anyone that has contact with them will be the same. As for outside of Ethiopia, close to 25% of the African population are Christian so it is safe to presume that a large number (All Christians, peple that know them or people that have TV or contact with anyone from abroad) know it is Christmas.
“No rain or rivers flow…”
Wikipedia lists 94 major rivers in Africa including the Longest and deepest rivers in the world. Whoever wrote this is shockingly igniorant of the existence of the Nile and Congo or is willing to lie about basic geography to gain sympathy and sales for his song. Though charity is a noble cause I do not think that such a disregard for these great natural wonders in Africa, or lying about them is an acceptable way to make people give money to charity.
“And there won’ be snow in Africa this Christmas time…. whooooooaaaaa!”
“…except for a constant white cap of it on mount Kilimanjaro…ooooooooooooo!”
Yup. There is snow there. As for elsewhere, let’s put it simply. There are 53 countries in Africa, each with its distinct geographic features affecting weather patterns, to claim that there is not snow in any of these is ridicuous. There are many Ski resports in Morocco, yes! That desert place! In 1979 it even snowed in the Sahara Desert itself and that lasted for an hour. Countries such as Ghana even have ski teams entering the winter Olympics. Lesotho has one of the lowest points on Earth, so as you imagine, it is cold there. This song presumes that Africa is always roasting and has a general, vast, singular weather pattern. This is a harsh generalisation which probably greatly damages the business in the Ski Resorts and therefore causes less income to reach the people there.
All in all, charity is an important part of my life but I cannot stand charities lying to get sympathy. If people want to promote Africa and get more money there they should show the beautiful things. When there is a disaster they should say it as it is and not depend on Celebrity endorsements, unless there celebrities want to go out there and give their millions themselves instead of sitting in a million pound studio and sing a factually inaccurate song for a day before jet setting to a stadium and charging £50 a ticket for people to see them do it again.
CAPE TOWN. After 28 years of silently tolerating it, a group of unemployed local musicians have joined forces to release a Christmas single, entitled ‘Yes we do,’ in response to the Bob Geldof inspired Band Aid song, ‘Do they know it’s Christmas?’.
Speaking at the launch of their song, the musicians praised Geldof’s relentless quest for an answer and said they hoped their collaboration would free the Irishman and his friends to start looking for solutions to new and more important questions.
“Like Do they know about climate change in America? Or did Kim Jong-il have time to write down the abort codes for the nukes before he died? Or perhaps he can revert to the time-honoured classic – ‘Tell me why I don’t like Mondays.”
Speaking at the launch of the single, whose proceeds will go towards teaching discipline, literacy and contraception at British schools, composer and singer Boomtown Gundane said that for years he had been irked by Geldof’s assumption that hungry Africans were also stupid.
“Or was he just saying that Africans were stupid? Of course we knew it was Christmas.”
When asked why the ensemble of African musicians, who have called themselves Plaster Cast, had taken so long to come up with a response to the Band Aid song Gundane said it had taken a while for them to realise that it wasn’t actually an elaborate joke.
“We kept waiting for them to laugh,” he said, “But the punch-line never arrived.”
Gundane said he hoped that his involvement with the song would turn him into an expert on British politics and economics in the same way ‘Do they know it’s Christmas’ had turned Geldof and Bono into the world’s leading experts on Africa.
“If I’m not sharing a platform with the Queen and David Cameron by this time next year; or headlining at Glastonbury, then I will have done something very wrong,” said Gundane.
- You are the only sugar in my tea, the only cockroach in my cupboard.
- I love you, oya talk your own
- I want to know you berra sweetie
- I want to harvest you
- It seems like I have seen you somewhere before
- My pastor said I would meet the woman of my dreams today, praise the lord he is correct.
- Shey you believe in love at first sight abi make I waka pass again?
We were gone for a little while but now we’ve returned full throttle. We just wanted to thank everyone for the support that we’ve received thus far. Although the pace is slow and steady, we’re progressing as a new organization and appreciate the love coming our way.
We’ve re-designed our website so if you have time, check out www.africaisdonesuffering.com and let us know what you think! We’ve included a new discussion section where various matters, topics, and issues will be addressed. If you have something in mind that you would like to see discussed, just let us know. Thanks!
Thank you! Yes, a shirt can be delivered to you in the UK. Just visit africaisdonesuffering.com to order one.