Erik Hersman is the co-founder of Ushahidi (which means “testimony” in Swahili), a web application created to map the reported incidents of violence happening during the post-election crisis in Kenya. Currently, he is working with a team of mostly-African programmers to continue development of this new free and open source platform that makes it easier to crowd-source crisis information and visualise data.
“[In Africa] there are a few good success stories, but not enough.”
“Kenya is proving more lucrative per subscriber than South Africa.” – Mobile advertising network
A summary of Erik’s presentation:
- Africa is an untapped market for online business.
- Mobile tech in Africa is far below what upper-class SA techies are used to.
- 40% of mobile users in Kenya do not keep a credit balance on their phone – they rely on others getting in touch with them.
- Entrepreneurs in Africa are creating systems for leveraging the current state of technology that predominates most of Africa. These entrepreneurs have a greater understanding of the context and African culture than most other people, and the systems which they are developing will seldom be used by the upper-class societies in countries like South Africa, for example iYam.mobi
- Rural vs Urban is the main reason for the mobile tech divide rather than Rich vs Poor
- iHub is a hub for corporates to invest in promising tech entrepreneurs
- Conclusion: We are witnessing a rising tide of technology in countries like Kenya, and an even higher rising tide of entrepreneurs to meet that need.
Category: Net Prophet 2010