These Two Apps Are Transforming Africa – Says Uber

By Gavin Serkin | 5 April 2017
Gavin Serkin
United Kingdom (UK)

OnFrontiers Editorial Director and a seasoned expert in everything to do with media in frontier and emerging markets

Gavin hosts OnFrontiers’ #ExpertChat series, which connects emerging market leaders to audiences in live online discussions. He previously led the Eme...

Blog authors are Gavin Serkin, the Editorial Director for OnFrontiers and the Founder and Managing Editor of the Frontier Funds Consultancy, and Stacey Mattish.

It’s the app that revolutionized journeys. But which apps most impress Uber?

Two stand out for transforming, and even saving lives, says Alon Lits, Uber’s head of Sub-Saharan Africa.

Alon speaks from experience. He spent much of his previous career in private equity and leverage finance for African focused institutions like Investec Bank and the “profit with purpose” investor, LeapFrog Investments.

In our debut #ExpertChat online discussion this week, we asked Alon which other innovations or apps are out there that excite him right now for the continent:

“I’m going to talk to two right now. I was chatting with one of the partners from LeapFrog last week when I was in Nairobi. It’s a company called Jumo.“They do nano loans – not micro loans. The largest market is Tanzania where it’s growing at an extremely rapid rate.

What’s extremely interesting about their business model is that they’re doing nano loans to entrepreneurs and traders, and what you see is that these loans are happening very early in the morning – 3am or 4 am. Most of these loans are paid back later that day.


“Through technology and through data points, they are looking at everything. They are giving entrepreneurs access to capital, which is helping them mold and scale their businesses.

That’s a business that I see as really exciting and not necessarily about finance in the traditional sense, but about data and really using that data to empower entrepreneurs.

Nano nano!

“Another one would be Aerobotics.

“It’s operating in a completely different space – in agrispace – software technology that is connected to drones.

“The drone goes up over farmland. They then analyze the farmland and tell the farmer what land is arable and where your crops are going to grow best, and where your issues are, and what you can do to address it.

“So there’s a lot of exciting stuff going on in the tech world across Africa. A lot of this innovation is coming out of necessity – and that’s where a lot of the most exciting innovation happens.”

 

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Featured image taken by David Rosen.

OnFrontiers Editorial Director and a seasoned expert in everything to do with media in frontier and emerging markets
United Kingdom (UK)
Editorial Director, OnFrontiers

Gavin hosts OnFrontiers’ #ExpertChat series, which connects emerging market leaders to audiences in live online discussions. He previously led the Emerging Markets news team for Bloomberg. He has been recognized by the Society of American Business Editors & Writers and the Society of Professional Journalists. Gavin wrote "Frontier: Exploring the Top Ten Emerging Markets of Tomorrow" and has been a commentator on frontier markets for two decades. He also manages Frontier Funds Consultancy.