Weekly Review October 27-November 2 – Mobile Phones in Africa: Growth, Innovation, and Events

The growing adoption of mobile phones continues to spur innovation throughout Africa.

CCK Sector Statistics Report – 4th Quarter 2012” on iHub
The Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK) releases quarterly reports on the use and growth of information and communication technologies. iHub provides a short summary of the key statistics relating to mobile phone subscriptions and data and internet use. Now 75% of Kenyans have a mobile phone subscription; 36% have Internet access, 99% of which is on a mobile device. Not surprisingly, both the postal service and fixed telephone lines declined compared to the previous quarter.

The Sleeping Giants of African Mobile Payments” by Vanessa Clark on TechCrunch
Despite the size and diversity of Africa, there are common characteristics that resulted in a recipe for mobile payment success: unbanked people, mobile ubiquity, and a “send money home” trend. As workers migrate to urban areas, they frequently need to send remittances to rural family members. In this scenario, mobile phones are the only solution. TechCrunch reviews major mobile payment providers across the continent that are capitalizing on this solution.

Digital revolution lights up Africa with maps, mobiles, money and markets” by David Smith and Toby Shapshak on The Guardian
If necessity is the mother of innovation, mobile is the enabler. Mobile ubiquity has enabled African innovators to develop everything from maps to social networks to money transfer systems from the ground up. Apps for Africa must be built with intimate knowledge of the local market in mind. Events such as Tech4Africa (held this week) and the widespread network of African innovation centers are catalyzing the mobile innovation movement.

Video: VC4Africa Nairobi meetup and the need for Angel Investors in the African startup space” by Bertil van Vugt on VC4Africa
VC4Africa’s DEMO Africa brought 40 of the continent’s best innovators together in Nairobi. Entrepreneurs stepped into the spotlight to perfect their pitches and network with potential partners and investors. Surprisingly, they commented on the lack of angel investors in the region. This comes just one month after an Impact IQ post claiming that there’s too much money in Nairobi.  Where do you stand: is there too much or too little money for startups in Nairobi?

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