Hello Quartz Africa readers,
Today I am reflecting on “trainers and tracksuits” as the CEOs of large African companies met with the founders of startups.
For the first time this year, African startup founders have been included in the Africa CEO Forum program, the continent’s largest gathering of private sector leaders. The 30 founders who joined the event’s “Disrupters Club” collectively raised $ 1 billion since the start of their companies and included the likes of Uche Ogboi of e-logistics platform Lori Systems, Karim Beguir of Tunisian company intelligence firm Instadeep, which recently raised $ 100 million, and Ikenna Nzewi of Releaf and Alloysius Attah of Farmerline, agtech companies founded in Nigeria and Ghana, respectively.
The continent’s innovators have apparently assimilated seamlessly into the crowd of legacy business leaders. A startup founder whispered to me: “I think I’m the only one here in sneakers.” Looking at the sea of mostly black suits and ties, I started thinking about how the business world on the continent will change in the future. Formality, strict hierarchy and bureaucracy are part of the work culture in most large African companies. This is the antithesis of the startup culture everywhere in Africa, which values results above all, with less emphasis on how to get there.
The future will see an increase in partnerships between larger legacy companies looking to harness the benefits of digitalization and innovation, and startups looking to grow their customer base. Jeans and t-shirts, work from home, coffee shop, culture of brainstorming are about to confront a jacket and tie, 8-5, “the top ooge knows best” mentality. It will be interesting to see how this potential clash in working cultures develops when disruptors and more established societies meet as equals. —Ciku Kimeria, publisher of Africa
💡 The opportunity: The growing penetration of the internet and smartphones across Africa is giving rise to an increased reliance on social media for communication and networking. This presents an opportunity for a rapidly growing group of social commerce companies.
🌍 The roadmap: Social commerce startups in African markets are leveraging social media agents to reach wider circles across platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Telegram, WhatsApp and Twitter. These agents bring the goods directly to the interested end users.
🤔 The challenge: Organizing Africa’s informal retail distribution platforms into formal channels is a key opportunity that social commerce and e-commerce companies are pursuing. Expensive and scarce connectivity is also a challenge on a continent that has a sizable portion of its population in underserved rural areas.
💰 Stakeholders: Social media sales agents, e-commerce and social media startups, digital companies, development financiers, international financial institutions, fintech companies and consumers.
Learn more about Brimore, an Egyptian social commerce startup that works almost exclusively with female retailers to sell products through social media on behalf of manufacturers, in the most recent edition of the Quartz Africa Member Brief. To get the Member Brief straight to your inbox, become a member for less than $ 1 a week.
Stories this week
Kenyan hackers hide stolen bitcoin money. Four college students were arrested for stealing money from credit card owners and using it to buy bitcoins. Faustine Ngila tells how Kenya is becoming a cybercrime hotspot in East Africa.
Tanzania wants people to abandon cash forever. The government cut an unpopular tax on mobile money transfers and withdrawals by 43%. According to Faustine Ngila, it may not be enough to restart the country’s mobile economy.
Shein’s donation will not solve the fashion waste problem in Ghana. The Chinese fast fashion retailer has committed $ 15 million to the West African country’s textile waste management. Alexander Onukwue explains why this isn’t the big step Shein thinks it is.
A dark horse joined the Kenyan two-horse presidential race. Roots party leader Professor George Wajackoyah continues to gain followers, promising to lift families out of poverty by legalizing cannabis and growing snakes. Faustine Ngila examines how the unconventional candidate could cause a retaliation in the upcoming presidential election.
South Africa is becoming the coal treasure of Europe. From mid-August, Europe will stop importing coal from Russia. South Africa is already closing the gap, writes Alexander Onukwue.
Track the attractiveness of countries as investment destinations
Cote d’Ivoire is claiming its reputation as a major investment destination in French-speaking Africa and the continent as a whole. This is according to the CEO Barometer Survey 2022 which was recently released at the Africa CEO Forum in Abidjan, the largest annual gathering of the African private sector.
Political stability, favorable business climate reforms and a strong economy are key factors in the West African country’s renewed prominence, reports Ciku Kimeria.
The one who does business
Pan-African Payments Company MFS Africa raised $ 100 million in an extension of its Series C round, bringing total funding to $ 200 million, a mix of debt and equity investments, led by Admaius Capital Partners.
Khazenlya year-old Egyptian startup linking online retailers to warehouses, raised $ 2.5 million in a seed round led by venture capital of ArzanAnd Shorooq partner. adventures of camels And Averroè Ventures also invested.
Jumbaa Kenyan B2B construction technology platform launched in April, raised $ 1 million in a preliminary round led by Enza Capital with the participation of Seedstars International Ventures, Chandaria Capital, Future Africa, Logos Ventures, First Check Africaand angelic investors.
Expensive gasoline is pushing drivers to try electric vehicles (EVs). Gasoline prices in the US broke the $ 5-per-gallon mark last week. While it’s not the highest price ever, it’s still the highest in recent memory.
No wonder that interest in alternatives to gas-intensive engines has also increased. Since the beginning of May, Google searches in the US for “electric car” have increased by half and searches for “EV” have increased by a third.
Increased awareness in electric vehicles may not translate into sales. As the broader automotive market, electric vehicles have been hit by supply chain problems, including disruptions in China. Electric vehicles are also generally more expensive than fossil fuel-powered vehicles, although they tend to be cheaper to own once tax incentives and lifetime cost of fuel and maintenance are taken into account. Luckily for those who’ve Googleed electric vehicles but hesitated at the price, the more affordable models will launch next year.
Other things we liked
Police closed a “baby factory” in Nigeria. The operation freed 35 teenagers who had been kidnapped and kept in a secret house in the state of Anambra where they give birth to children for sale. Ishaq Khalid from the BBC explains how criminal gangs run these facilities.
The veteran Ugandan opposition leader was jailed a few days after his release. Kizza Besigye was charged with offenses related to leading an anti-inflation protest in Kampala. This was reported by Elias Biryabarema of Reuters.
End the violence against the nomadic community of Tanzania. According to Al Jazeera, human rights groups have accused police of forcibly removing Maasai pastoral communities from their ancestral land in Ngorongoro district.
Kenyans sold as slaves in the Middle East are returning home in body bags. Elephant’s Eliud Kibii questions the Kenyan government’s silence on the killing and abuse of Kenyans doing housework in the Gulf countries.
A new book documents the sex life of African women. Ghanaian author Nana Darkoa Sekyiamah boldly opens up a conversation on a continent where talking about sex is still considered taboo. Abdi Latif Dahir of the New York Times reviews it.
Get Google ecommerce training and certification. Small and medium business owners in Kenya can be trained by Google on the latest e-commerce skills and take advantage of emerging trends. (June 21st)
Apply for climate change travel grants. The Earth Journalism Network is sponsoring a scholarship for African journalists to cover the United Nations climate negotiations, November 7-18, in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. (4th July)
🎵 This brief was produced listening to “Royaume Kunga” by Ferre Gola (RDC)
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