Digital in Africa

News
© USAID Feed the Future Commodity Production and Marketing Activity

82 percent of the African population use mobile phone connections. This widespread use of mobile phones in Africa has created many opportunities for people, although technology and internet usage are still very unevenly distributed across the continent. The fact that groundbreaking technologies in Africa lead to development rather than to disruption was one of the conclusions of Siemens Southern Africa's "Digitalisation Maturity Report," which is based on a study of Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa. The report also pointed out that so-called "glocalised digitisation", in which global approaches are adapted to local conditions, can be successful in Africa.

Many young Africans see this type of digitisation as offering a welcome opportunity to implement their ideas about development and the future. Through their creativity, enthusiasm and technological knowledge they are producing practicable, future-oriented solutions in their countries and across borders. They are usually very well networked, open-minded and work in an agile manner. Many of them also use the services offered by foundations and international cooperation organisations to build up further specialist knowledge and expand their networks.

 

© USAID Feed the Future Commodity Production and Marketing Activity
"The mentoring sessions were the best part of the programme, besides the network of great and like-minded entrepreneurs around the world. With the mentoring, we have improved our investment pitch and business plan, as well as our strategy." Zilla Mary Arach, Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer, Akorion Company Limited

Zilla Mary Arach, Uganda

Zilla Mary Arach from Uganda is one of these young African women. In September 2014, she and her future business partners took part in an event organised by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to develop ideas for promoting the agricultural sector in Uganda. The result is Akorion Company Limited, a company that digitises agricultural value chains to provide farmers and agricultural companies with access to high-quality production, marketing and financial services via the newly developed EzyAgric platform.

In 2017 Zilla Mary Arach joined the Young Founders Programme of the Westerwelle Foundation. Christoph Rohde, Programme Manager of the foundation, describes what is special about the project: "We support young people from developing and emerging countries who have already successfully founded a startup through coaching, investor contacts, and in particular, through mentoring with carefully selected, experienced entrepreneurs from Germany. In this way, we support in the development and expansion of companies." The numbers for the year 2018 show how popular this programme is among young entrepreneurs: 1,586 applicants from 139 countries applied for 25 places.

The effort has paid off for Akorion and the agricultural sector in Uganda: 60,000 farmers have used the platform in just two years and jobs have been created for 480 young people.

© Sauti Africa Limited, Nathan Siegel
"As part of the accelerator, we gain access to international companies and investors. We are very pleased to be able to support traders in cross-border trade in East African countries more and more effectively in this way". David Orega, Field Operations Manager, Sauti Africa Limited

David Orega, Kenya

Sauti Africa Limited, founded in Kenya in 2016, addresses trade between Kenya and Uganda. Regional trade plays a special role for many African countries, because it creates jobs and contributes to food and energy security. For traders, however, crossing the border is a bureaucratic undertaking, especially because they often know little about the conditions of trade. Corruption, harassment and assaults can be an everyday experience.

David Orega, Fields Operations Manager at Sauti, is committed to helping cross-border traders. He and his team inform the traders about their rights and obligations. They also encourage them to report bribery and other incidents, such as harassment, via the Sauti platform to publicly increase political pressure to solve these problems.

Sauti is supported by the "Make-IT in Africa" programme of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH. The promotional programme "Make-IT Accelerator" helps digital companies like Sauti to improve their products and services. It also gives them better access to finance, markets and skills development. Dr. Jan Schwaab, project manager, describes the motto of the programme as "Inspire, Connect, Develop.” He explains: “With Make-IT we concentrate on young entrepreneurs and founders, who do not only come from the metropolitan regions.”

Sauti has already answered over 10,000 inquiries and provided information on trade and market topics. In total, more than 2,000 dealers have used the platform to date.

© Think.iT
"When the BMW Foundation heard about our idea for Think.iT, they did not hesitate to get big balls rolling and gave us a worldwide platform. Through networks and targeted impact sessions, we found many of our most important training partners and mentors after just a few weeks.” Mehemed Bougsea, Co-Founder and Product Visionary, Think.iT

David Orega, Kenya

Sauti Africa Limited, founded in Kenya in 2016, addresses trade between Kenya and Uganda. Regional trade plays a special role for many African countries, because it creates jobs and contributes to food and energy security. For traders, however, crossing the border is a bureaucratic undertaking, especially because they often know little about the conditions of trade. Corruption, harassment and assaults can be an everyday experience.

David Orega, Fields Operations Manager at Sauti, is committed to helping cross-border traders. He and his team inform the traders about their rights and obligations. They also encourage them to report bribery and other incidents, such as harassment, via the Sauti platform to publicly increase political pressure to solve these problems.

Sauti is supported by the "Make-IT in Africa" programme of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH. The promotional programme "Make-IT Accelerator" helps digital companies like Sauti to improve their products and services. It also gives them better access to finance, markets and skills development. Dr. Jan Schwaab, project manager, describes the motto of the programme as "Inspire, Connect, Develop.” He explains: “With Make-IT we concentrate on young entrepreneurs and founders, who do not only come from the metropolitan regions.”

Sauti has already answered over 10,000 inquiries and provided information on trade and market topics. In total, more than 2,000 dealers have used the platform to date.

Author
Dr. Annette Kleinbrod

EZ-Scout der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH im Auftrag des Bundesministeriums für wirtschaftliche Zusammenarbeit und Entwicklung (BMZ)
Entsandt an: Bundesverband Deutscher Stiftungen

Telefon (030) 89 79 47-0

All articles of Dr. Annette Kleinbrod

Related Content

News

Strong cross-party alliance in European Parliament for easing philanthropy’s work for public good across Europe

MEPs, representatives of the European Commission and the European Economic and Social Committee and relevant stakeholders from philanthropy, civil society and social economy discussed ways to create a truly European space for donors and encourage cross-border generosity, solidarity and civil actions.

More

Romania: fight against the anti-democratic wave

How Romanian philanthropy will look like in the next 10 years? Interview with Rucsandra Pop, Director of the National Development Program for Community Foundations.

More
News

Greater sustainability with voluntary national reports

What do you think of when you hear about the city of Oaxaca in Mexico? For me, it’s the memory of a successful meeting with around 100 people from 30 countries who are committed to sustainable development.

More