African startups are building apps for mobile users without smartphones

Posted on August 1st, 2016

How to come up with a billion-dollar app idea in Africa
African developers are building apps to cater for the hundreds of millions of people without smart phone. According to Times Live developers are focusing on “no-frills, text-based apps” that keep data consumption down.

One example is Orange SA which, according to the publication, recently set up a development lab in Cameroon after opening similar hubs in Ivory Coast and Senegal in the past year.

“Africa isn’t a lagging copycat market to the US or Europe,” said Bénédicte David, who heads strategy in the region for Orange.

“What works here won’t necessarily fit there. There are specific local needs and opportunities.”

Non-smartphone apps include a text message service for soccer scores, one that provides agricultural data and an SMS service that uses back and forth text messages to manage hospital drug stocks. (Times Live)

SA fintech startup is helping farm workers to save
A Stellenbosch-based startup has come up with an innovative saving option for low income earners, with a particular focus on farm workers, reports Bizcommunity.

Picsa allows users to earn inflation-beating returns with a range of financial products and services based on the workings of a stokvel, and the aggregated savings among workers are then invested into exchange traded funds.

The funds deducted from the farm workers are invested as a collective in an exchange traded fund such as SATRIX/Sygnia which offers investors easy, cost-effective access to the markets through a wide range of investment products.

Farmworkers can now invest for as little as R25 a month. “Over a period of just two years, members of the Picsa saving solution has managed to save over R1,1m,” says Paul Kim, CEO of Picsa.

One of the early adopters was the Adama Workers Trust on the Bosman Family Vineyards in Wellington. Chair, Rita Andreas, says: “In the beginning there was some suspicion among workers. But after seeing how their investment has grown, it has inspired them to save even more.” (Bizcommunity)

Sage commits to helping African entrepreneurs
Sage, a the cloud accounting software company used its global Sage Summit 2016, held this week in Chicago, to outline its strong commitment to future technologies, with a focus on new and existing initiatives that power business growth.

At the world’s largest gathering of entrepreneurs and business builders, Sage CEO Stephen Kelly spoke about how Sage is levelling the playing field for entrepreneurs – and it’s just the start of the technology revolution all entrepreneurs and business builders of all sizes need to be a part of to compete and grow.

Following the investment of £139m on research and development during FY15, the Sage CEO used the keynote as a platform to set out how all Sage products will now be connected to the cloud, with new mobile, social, chatbot and the Internet of Things offerings in the pipeline for the entire portfolio.

“In a time of seismic technological change and digital invention, our smart people are using the smartest technology to reinvent and simplify business accounting,” says Anton Van Heerden, EVP and Managing Director, Sage South and Southern Africa.

“Our research teams are working on making concepts like the Internet of Things, machine learning, blockchain and data sciences into a reality for African businesses, accountants and partners. We are committed to helping African entrepreneurs exploit these game-changing technologies to win and grow.”