TechCabal Daily: The African Connectivity Hustle

Hey there! Here’s everything interesting in African technology today. Not subscribed? Click here to get this goodness in your mailbox every day at 7am (GMT + 1).

Good morning.

1. What sacrifice did you make to be online today? If you’re like most people reading this, you’re probably asking ‘LOL ah, sacrifice?’ but according to this Facebook Insight, most Africans do a lot of soul-searching – should I remain offline and take a bus to work, or pay for data and trek?’ – before they can decide if data is a luxury they can afford. Rejoice, you privileged aristocrat.

+ It may seem commonplace now, but the Africans before us (where ‘us’ = Millennials, the sexiest demographic on the internet) had fewer women online compared to men. Yay feminism?


2. Major key for people doing digital marketing in Africa:  The sheer dynamics of languages, cultures, social classes and the technological gradient in Africa means you most certainly cannot import Western marketing techniques as-is, and you probably should rethink the idea of homogeneous marketing. Localize for impact, baby!


3. If the foundation be destroyed, what can the righteous do? What’s the go-to plan when you’re saddled with the task of pivoting a legacy system with an unsavory reputation into the 21st century? The answer, as it turns out, is ALAT. Philip Ese’s multi-part Medium post gives an insider view to the creation of Alat, and promises more juice.

+ After consulting with the ‘brightest minds’ around Nigeria, and choosing to name the product ‘ALAT’ (out of 100+ possible names), Alat is designed to first solve the problems of basic digital banking (starting with opening an account straight from your phone) before bringing you the good stuff.

+ Speaking of good stuff, did you know that Alat has a savings plan that gives you 10% interest? And, no, it isn’t a promotional interest rate – it’s 10% forever, (which is 3x the normal bank rate, apparently). How about that for an incentive to give it a spin?

+ Meanwhile, we wait for the story behind the name ‘Alat.’ Dear God, please let it be good….


4. In other FinTechy news, Marcello Schermer writes that there’s more to African Fintech than ‘mobile money and remittances.’ This graph shows that Africa has the most unbanked adults in the world, because…of course. There is a lot to be done – credit scores for one, which would help define the path to core financial services like loans. Also – yes – there’s that oft-discussed need for collaboration between the spry Fintech startups and the skin-in-the-game corporates. Ah, synergy.


5. Trekking? That’s so 2016 When elephants start fighting, it’s the grass that says ‘wawu!’ Taxify dropped their rates by 30%, Uber responded with a 40% slash and now everybody’s taking a cab from the veranda to the bathroom. But wait – what’s that? Yep, but an individual, an Uber driver (not to be mistaken with Uber’s official Twitter account) on Twitter, is reporting a strike.

+ According to the individual, the real victims of the Uber/Taxify price war are the drivers.

+ The handle also believes that the smarter strategy for Uber would have been to maintain their original price – essentially luring Taxify drivers back to Uber.


6. These pics take a peek at the Epic Tower – Sorry about that, but these photos of Andela’s new HQ (dubbed the ‘Epic Tower’) are just….epic .  YOU ABSOLUTELY HAVE TO CHECK OUT THE DEVELOPERS’ WING. (Unrelated: why do developers have all the nice things? Why?!!)

+ ICYMI: Andela’s departure from the Yabacon conclave dealt another blow to the ‘structural integrity’ of the argument for Yaba as the centre of all things tech. Oluwatosin attempts to tell that particular story here. Good luck with that.

Innovators working on justice and legal issues worldwide can apply for up to 20,000 EUR in equity-free grant money as part of the HiiL Justice Accelerator’s Innovating Justice Challenge here. The Call for Applications, which opened March 1 and remains open until June 30, encourages two types of application: first, startups with an idea and team may apply for funding in the Call for Innovations; second, individuals without a team or idea can apply for the Call for Talent.

Interesting brain-ticklers…

+ How well do you know your Twitter timeline? Timigod and FatherMerry challenge you to put your money where your mouth is in this curiously addictive game. Link.

+ Have you ever wondered about the the disconcerting brilliance of Archillect? I know I have. Here’s the intro to algorithmic curation you didn’t ask for. Link

+ Context is everything. (Spoiler alert: this is about that annoying trend from 2015). Link

+ The Laravel community is alive and growing, thanks for asking. Link

+ Meet the Africans finding solutions for African problems on the Quartz Africa Innovators 2017 list. Link

+ If you’re smart and (but?) lazy, this will leave you triggered. Willpower is more important than IQ. Link

+ A (potentially) different way to look at social media marketing? You decide. Link

+ Can Facebook fix its own worst bug? Link.

+ Mark Essien has an ‘experimental project’ he needs irreverent writers for. Time to dust up that blog post you wrote that one time you were feeling edgy, effendi! Link

+ This BBC article will have you begging Elon Musk, in tears, to hurry up with the space program. Oh God. Link

+ Emmanuel Macron, without having held prior political office, just became France’s president at 39. But don’t let this distract you from the fact that J Cole went double platinum without any features. Link

Building Things for NG is a social event focused on bringing like-minded people together that are focused on building products/services for Nigeria (in general). This event is for Makers, Entrepreneurs, Product Engineers, Product Visionaries, Investors and people who are interested in building things but are yet to start. Register here.

Upcoming events

Zimbabwe: Digital Future Conference, May 11th. Link

Lagos: Founder’s Conference, May 11th. Link

London: Building Things for NG, May 12th. Link

California: Africa Business Forum, May 13th. Link

Want to see your event in here? Add your event

That’s all, folks!

No, thank you for reading.