Did You Know this South African tech ends used car salesman?

Did You Know this South African tech ends used car salesman?

Buying a car can be a pain! And so can selling one. The shifty used car salesman, in his strange coloured suit, smarmy and with the gift of the gab, informing each clients on exaggerated positives on a clapped out old banger that just about meets your budget. All over the world, some of the best salesmen are working in car yards, up selling cars to the the clueless public, or even buying cars from the public and selling them on. Of course, I generalise a little with the stereotypical used car salesman analogy, and many are honest and sincere, but it can’t hide the face that many of us have no idea about how much to buy a car for, or what we are getting.

car sales man

A lot of trust put in the car salesman, who generally has the power within the transaction. This is the same in many sectors. For example, in the African agricultural sector the middleman, who travels round from farm to farm collecting produce, controls the price that he pays and may not give a fair price compared to what it will sell on in the markets. The farmer has no idea of the going rate that day, and relies upon the middleman to transport their produce. But there are some innovative solutions in Africa that are putting more power in the hands of the farmers, who can now find out with ease what price they should be selling at.

African technology is also enabling an equalisation of power in the used car business. HiCarByeCar, a South African used car business are enabling a more simple process for  selling or buying a vehicle. In order to sell a vehicle, the seller inputs the details about Continue reading “Did You Know this South African tech ends used car salesman?”


Did You Know African Women are inspiring African innovators?

Did You Know African Women are inspiring African innovators?

International Women’s Day is today, and organisations, companies and individuals across the world are celebrating the achievements of women. Equality is a well discussed topic throughout the world, yet still now, in many industries women are under represented, and not paid equally. The technology and innovation sector seems to be attempting to close the divide of the sexes. Traditionally only few women have taking up computer engineering roles, and working on innovation, and therefore the aim of achieving parity between the sexes needs a lot of work.


In much of Africa, traditional social values, and education of the girl child is not a priority for many families and this has had a great impact on the amount of women in professional roles, especially in technology. The democratisation of information, especially with the increasing spread of the internet and mobile devices, means that there are now other ways for anyone to empower themselves. There has also been a huge effort put into getting more young girls into school, to give them more choice in the future.

During the last two years writing about African innovation, I have had the pleasure of reading about many inspirational women, who are coming up with innovative ideas and creating businesses. In many households across the continent it is women that have the responsibility of finding solutions to make ends meet within the family. Creativity takes practice, and the need to come up with solutions makes women very well placed to innovate for a better Africa.

Below are couple of the women that have stood out to us whilst producing Inventive Africa.

Hawawu Mustapha Yaajalal and her innovation MyDoc Ghana were the subject of the most viewed post on Inventive Africa. I met Hawawu at iSpace Ghana, a technology hub that gives many the tools to develop their own businesses. I asked whether anyone would be willing to stand in front of camera briefly for a short interview spontaneously Continue reading “Did You Know African Women are inspiring African innovators?”

Did You Know iono.fm offers a podcast service tailored to Africa?

Did You Know iono.fm offers a podcast service tailored to Africa?

The media has been changing significantly over the last decade. From a media landscape where populations consumed their news and entertainment in newspapers and on radio and television, we now have very different consuming habits. The internet and mobile devices have enabled us to get on demand news and entertainment wherever we are, and whenever we want. In Europe and America, print media is struggling against the strength of mobile internet, and social media habits have meant that people want to access their news in short easy to manage parts, often with less substance. (They are used to flicking through information very quickly on Facebook and Twitter)

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On demand access to information has created new opportunities for producers of news, information and entertainment. Radio found a solution to this problem by offering podcast material, which can be downloaded, or live streamed at any time, on the go. People can access any kind of information or any topic, and follow their favourite presenters. With a world of podcasts being produced, there is no end to content. TV has not quite been able to replicate this system, but there are some country specific on demand platforms available, but with the BBC for example, it is not easy to access that content oversees.

Across much of Africa, due to many still having limited access to mobile internet, the newspapers, radio and TV stations still have prominence, but this is beginning to change. It may be a small percentage, comparably, of internet and mobile internet users in Africa, but a small percentage of a large number is still a large number! And therefore, media consumption is also changing. The internet is becoming a large source of information for many, and others are keeping up with international content on Youtube.


Now, in South Africa, a company called iono.fm is offering a podcast service tailor made fo Africa. With 15 million unique users in the 12 months of 2017, they already have a substantial user base, which means that they are able to effectively monetise podcasts by offering Continue reading “Did You Know iono.fm offers a podcast service tailored to Africa?”

Did You Know Nairobi is showcasing 100 innovative Start-ups?

Did You Know Nairobi is showcasing 100 innovative Start-ups?

You may remember that during my trip to Kenya I paid a visit to the Nairobi Innovation Week (NIW) offices to speak to Dr Omwansa about the event and his thoughts on the future of innovation. (If you have not seen the video you can check it out here. It is very interesting) Now we have seamlessly slipped into March, with the year running away from us already, but, no fear this is a good month. The NIW will jump into action on the 5th of March and will showcase the future innovators that will drive Kenya forward. Kenya is hellbent on taking an innovative lead in Africa, and this event is part of that process.

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A couple of days ago the NIW announced a shortlist of 100 start-ups shortlist of 100 start ups that would be featured during the course of the week. With over 350 entries it must have been hard work whittling them down, and that hard work is not over. Each start-up will pitch, and will again be cut down to the 15 most promising. As usual, we will pick a few that have caught our attention and feature them here.

The Usalama Application

During my time in Kenya, I was often warned that I shouldn’t go to certain places because of safety concerns. Of course, because of curiosity, I tried my best to go to most of those places or events despite the risk. (It is no fun to just sit in a sterilised hotel room!) But of course, safety is a real concern for many, and not just in Kenya! Major Continue reading “Did You Know Nairobi is showcasing 100 innovative Start-ups?”