WhatsApp Business: a powerful weapon for startups in emerging markets

It seems that all dreams came through for WhatsApp users in emerging markets. WhatsApp Business, a stand-alone app different from the usual WhatsApp, was rolled out in a few countries in February 2018. What was WhatsApp really for? Messaging? Well, people in emerging economies countries – specially small and medium businesses – took WhatsApp one step further. About two years ago I wrote the article – “WhatsApp for business: the secret weapon of Brazil” – telling about how Brazilian businesses are using WhatsApp to build a rapport with their customers…

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Why eCommerce in Africa hasn’t caught on and what webshops can do about that

I have attended several tech events where they invite so-called gurus and experts to explain the digital landscape in Africa, but I have never been satisfied with any of their answers as to why e-commerce has not caught on. It turns out the reason why a click on a user’s web browser doesn’t exactly translate into an actual sale is really simple — the shipping and billing information form. It seems to me that most African online shopping stores just Xerox existing templates that have worked in developed economies where the physical…

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A Focus on Ageing in Emerging Markets

The developed nations in the West are often described as ageing and trying to focus on solutions for the challenges that come with it, while emerging nations are characterized as young, energetic and full of opportunity for the youthful population. Rapid advances in wealth, healthcare, nutrition and less physically intensive labour also impacts longevity. More people are living longer in developing countries and this is definitely a reason to celebrate, however this new reality also brings challenges that will need to be addressed. According to Helpage and The World Bank,…

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Rwanda: The Challenges of Social Innovation Delivery in Emerging Markets

Recently, I attended a startup accelerator pitch competition in Kigali where 10 teams pitched business solutions to sexual and reproductive health (SRH) challenges faced by Rwandan youth. The top four teams received funding to further develop their ideas. In a country with a young population – 77% of the population is under 25 – and one of the highest fertility rates in Africa – 4.6 children born to every woman – youth SRH interventions are needed, and a pitch competition that encourages local youth to design these solutions is welcome.…

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The 5 Most Visited Social Media Sites in Uganda Today

Guest post by Stephen Obeli Someday Poor citizens, right?, yes; youth unemployment is over seventy percent and half of the population is below the age of 18 but, more Ugandans ‘afford’ to stream videos on YouTube every single day than read news or gossip as the US based social site floors all local sites in traffic! In fact, overall it is only Google andFacebook that receive more visitors than YouTube in Uganda. The most recent search rankings by Alexa, a global internet traffic monitoring company owned by Amazon shows a…

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How Brazil missed its golden South-South co-operation moment

Guest post by Lídia Cabral, Institute of Development Studies Compared to China or India, Brazil is a relatively small player in development aid. Yet it has managed to make a mark in Africa and globally, especially under the leadership of charismatic Lula da Silva. From 2003 to 2010 Lula led an unprecedented shift in the country’s foreign policy towards the global South. He also helped elevate Brazil to the status of a global player. Back in 2010 the outlook was promising yet cautious. Brazil’s aid programme was dubbed a “global model…

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Ugandan women: rights & achievements against all odds

Guest Post by Agnes N. Bravo Leave alone the well-known Feminine characters like first Lady Janet Museveni; Buganda queen Sylvia Nnaginda Nabagereka, Minister Amelia Kyambadde, and the speaker of parliament Rebecca Kadaga; being a woman in Uganda is a different profession altogether. A Ugandan woman plays a great role in the society. She is a 24 hours watchdog working from sunrise to sunrise. A fragile stature with immeasurable strength. She wakes up in the morning and prepares her homestead, prepares her children and her husband too, then she may proceed…

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Africa: When mobile money means business

Guest post and main photo by Anna Patton I recently interviewed the founders of Ugandan fintech venture Beyonic, a finalist at this year’s Sankalp Africa Awards for sustainable enterprises. Launched in 2013, they aim to eliminate dependency on cash by helping businesses quickly set up and manage mobile money payments. Cash doesn’t allow people to become part of the formal economy; it’s also insecure and costly, explained cofounder Luke Kyohere. And while mobile money for person-to-person payments has massively taken off, businesses have yet to exploit their full potential. That’s where Beyonic comes in: making it easy for a business…

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Uganda: How social media is re-shaping everyday life

Gmail is indisputably the greatest mailing service that happened to Uganda since the Post Office. Its sister service Google+ thus comes out as more widely known than any other social media name only to emerge as the one with the highest number of dormant accounts too: A bunch of Gmail users actually see ‘Plus’ whenever they login to their email but have no idea it’s a social network, comparable in behavior and nature to Facebook. Facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter are the most commonly used social media platforms, with LinkedIn, YouTube,…

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