Category: Southern Africa

Apps4Africa 2012 Finalist Announcement!

Appfrica and the U.S. Department of State, with the support of the World Bank, would like to extend our congratulations to the 30 final innovations that have been selected from the Apps4Africa 2012 Competition!

Our expert judges are now voting on the innovations that should be invested in this year.  BIG thanks to The U.S. Department of State, The World Bank (Africa), Nic Haralambous, Liz Ngonzi, Loren Treisman, Makhtar Diop, and Wayne Sutton for your participation in the judging process!

The (30) Final Innovations are:
PENYA Financial (Zimbabwe)
TYAN - OpenApp (Zambia)
The Business Planner (Zimbabwe)
Ama Sampo (Zambia)
Ujamaa (Senegal)
Spell Africa (Nigeria)
1School/Oneskool (Nigeria)
AWPN (Nigeria)
Zambianized (Zambia)
Alsvas (Central African Republic)
Ffene (Uganda)
Prowork (Nigeria)
Esaja (Zimbabwe)
Yaalda (Cameroon)
Prep-hub (South Africa)
Youth Village (South Africa)
Intumwa (Rwanda)
Click Tradex (Ghana)
Exportunity (Benin)
SliceBiz (Ghana)
Learnitug (Uganda)
StudyMate (Zambia)
BrainShare (Uganda)
Yeboao/KKYB (Ghana)
MyCareer (Uganda)
Jobs-in-Nigeria (Nigeria)
Miguide (Ghana)
Opportunity Pour Tous (Cote d’Ivoire)
Bloorx/Searchlamp (Nigeria)
XCommodity (Tanzania)

What Happens Next?

Out of these finalists, 3 innovations will be selected and funded with $10,000USD each. Appfrica will continue to engage these innovators, providing mentorship, additional exposure and additional funding opportunities.

Look out for our (3) selections to be funded in the coming weeks!

The Apps4Africa 2012 team: (L to R) Marieme Jamme, Thomas Genton, Barbara Birungi, Jon Gosier, Bahiyah Yasmeen Robinson

Mariéme Jamme on the Africa CEO Forum

Apps4Africa Partner, Marieme Jamme

Sitting at the first Africa CEO Forum this week, in the heart of Geneva, I asked myself if this was the right time to open the debate on Africa’s private sector future. Was Geneva the right place? Critics will rightly argue that this sort of event should have been held in Africa.

Over two intensive days, top African chief executive officers shared with attendees from all over the Africa, Europe and Asia, some latest trends and best practices, discussed the future of the continent’s private sector, and received awards and accolades.

Speakers such as the outspoken Sudanese-born billionaire Mo Ibrahim tried to boost the narratives of Africa’s position compared to China and India but with little solutions to offer. When I asked him why the event was not held in Accra or Johannesburg, Ibrahim replied by stating that the reasons were more infrastructural and logistical than anything else.

Read the Full Article

Nic Haralambous on Finding Funding

Nicholas Haralambous was the CEO and co-founder of Motribe before the company was successfully acquired by Africa’s largest social network, Mxit in August, 2012. In 2009 he featured on GQ’s list of Top 30 Men in Media and was also a finalist in the Men’s Health Best Men Awards in 2010. Prior to its sale, Motribe, was named by Forbes magazine as one of the Top 20 Startups in Africa in 2012. In this essay Nicholas offers advice for African entrepreneurs looking to find funding.

by Nic Haralambous

Finding funding is never easy, don’t let anyone tell you differently. You don’t simply trip and fall into a pile of cash. This is especially true in the emerging markets at present.

Many investors are risk-averse (they don’t want to invest in unproven businesses) and those who are local and not averse to risk don’t have enough money too truly back a long-term startup play. This is the first paradox in the tech-investment space in Africa right now.

There are many investment firms making a move in the right direction in Africa but they are still few and far between.

There are the varying types of investment you can go after; Private equity, angel investment, seed funding, accelerators and Venture Capital. You could also look to family funding as an answer - getting your family to back you in small increments.

I have previously raised fairly substantial seed funding from 4Di Capital in South Africa for my company, Motribe and I lived to tell my story.

In 2011 I was certain that the solution to everything was more funding. I also believed that the money needed to come from abroad.

Here are some problems I ran into:

Move to the US/EU

Many investors were interested in giving me money but wanted me to move the Motribe Headquarters to New York. This was a bad idea but the money was good. We decided against it.

The lesson: The investor needs to be the right fit for you and your business. Not all money is good money or the right money, don’t settle.

Not Enough Revenue

This problem generally comes into play with a fairly young startup in a very dynamic space. It’s often tough to raise funding without revenue in the emerging markets.

The lesson: Make money. You don’t have to make profit, just prove that your business can make money and scale the making of money.

The Wrong Kind of Revenue

Be sure that you have chosen the right revenue model for your product or company. Revenue anywhere is often the advice given but often leads to troubles down the line. Be vicious with your goals and ensure that you go after scalable revenue.

The lesson: Be patient and don’t be greedy. Sometimes turning down revenue is better than getting the wrong revenue.

General Misunderstanding of African Markets

Traveling abroad and pitching to Venture Capital abroad taught me some interesting lessons. One of the main observations I made is that interest in Africa is peaking but knowledge of the market is not. Investors are often loathe to get on a plane and come into deepest darkest Africa and find out for themselves what is happening.

The lesson: You know your market, stick to what you know and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

Open Database of Apps4Africa Winners

We’re frequently asked to share the contact details and other information about the Apps4Africa winners and their various projects. We’ve been offering these details to various interested parties on request but obviously, as demand increases for this information, it gets harder to meet all requests. Today we’re releasing a public listing of all the winners of funding from our competitions to date! Keep checking back as we improve this page by adding details about each project, what the winners are doing now, and what they accomplished post-A4A!

In this archive you’ll find participant email addresses, team participants, names, and descriptions of their various projects.

View the Database

CNN’s African Voices Features Marieme Jamme

Our own Marieme Jamme, who helped to execute Apps4Africa 2011′s West and Southern Africa competitions, was featured on CNN’s African Voices. We’re delighted to see the coverage on such powerful and inspirational individual and friend!

CNN — Senegalese-born Marieme Jamme is at the forefront of the technology revolution that is slowly transforming Africa.

As chief executive of Spot One Global Solutions, a UK-based company that helps information technology organizations gain a foothold in emerging markets, she encourages global investment in African IT infrastructure.
Armed with a strong desire to help Africa realize its potential, Jamme is outspoken about what the continent needs and how she can help.

Read the Article Here

An Interview with Zimbabwe’s UnsApp

Hugh Sado of the Zimbabwean winning team UnsApp was recently interviewed by TechZim offering more insight into their planning and growth plans…

The application is meant to be something that someone with an ordinary phone is able to access. A phone that doesn’t have any internet. We are still thinking of how the technicalities in terms of how this will be possible but basically there will be an interaction between the user and our database so that someone can register and will give them information on what is happening, they can give us information on how much they have if they are farmers, or how much they have even if they are not farmers but they know information. We’re still looking into how exactly the information will move between the different users of that information. But will also distribute via regular desktops, laptops, smartphones and also other media like TV and radio.

Read the Full Interview

Announcing the Apps4Africa Southern Africa Winners

This morning at Africa Gathering London 2012 the winners of the Southern Africa portion of the Apps4Africa competition were announced!

1st $15,000 - myHealth (Botswana) - Donald Taboka Masole, Patricia Motsumi, Mosetsanagape Motlhabane

Helps users take precautions by providing information about weather and diseases related to the weather like diarea and malaria.  Then it helps the user schedule an appointment with a doctor to receive appropriate care.

2nd $7,000 - Service Anti Cyclone (Madagascar) - Andrianomanana Endrehina, Marie Laure Rahaingomalala, Jean Baptiste Paul Joseph Arsène, Fenitra Andrianomanana, Miora Sarobidy, Haingonirina Marie Violette, Faniry Andriamampianina

Alerts users to pending cyclones, which are very common, and cause significant damage to the area.

3rd $3,000 - UnsApp (Zimbabwe) - Hugh Sado, Mercy sado, Tinashe Marshall Sado, Tonderai Marshall Sado

Spreads awareness through a web forum where adaptive management techniques maybe be considered in improving food security in the future.

Honorable Mention - Varimi - Tanaka Mutakwa (Zimbabwean), Chido Warambwa (Zimbabwean), Chanda Pwapwa (Zambian)

Varimi Portal pushes out key farming information to its registered users to help them adapt, for instance weather projections or answers to commonly asked agricultural questions.

Honorable Mention - Oraniq (tie) - Tonderai Shamuyarira

Promotes information about using chemicals to farmers in hopes that they will produce organic foods instead of chemical enhanced crops.

Honorable Mention - AgriLife (tie) - RAMAROSON Rindra Harifidy, RANDRIAMIADANA Derasoa, RASOLOARITAFIKA Mahefa Nirina, RAVELOARISOA Noro Lalao

Urges users to participate in reforestation projects to help locals recover from cyclone damage in Madagascar.

Join the Apps4Africa Hub!

The Apps4Africa Hub is a community for those who participated in a previous Apps4Africa contest, those who have won an A4A contest, or those who wish to participate in future contests. The Hub is also a place where anyone who has an interest can interact with the Apps4Africa participants. Are you looking to interact with local luminaries who tackle Africa’s hardest problems using technology, then join the community!

Start a conversation, share a big idea, or collaborate with software developers from all over the African continent!

Join our vibrant community of African developers at

The Next Green Revolution: Is There An App for That?

This panel discussion was recorded at the Future Tense event: Feeding the World While the Earth Cooks, which was held in Washington, DC on April 12th, 2012

Lynn Roche - @apps4africa, Planning and Coordination Officer, Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Office Bureau of African Affairs, U.S. Department of State

Moderator: Charles Kenny - @charlesjkenny, Bernard L. Schwartz Fellow, New America Foundation, Author “Getting Better: Why Global Development Is Succeeding — And How We Can Improve the World Even More”

When today’s toddlers are parents themselves, they will face an agricultural crisis. The world population will reach 9 billion. A growing global middle class will demand more food. And climate change will leave farmers holding seeds that won’t sprout. By 2050, will our global appetite outgrow our agricultural capacity? We held an event to find out how everyone—growers, technologists, governments, business leaders, and carbon-conscious consumers—will be part of the solution.