Silicon Savannah?

‘“I really believe that if you’ve got an optimistic view of technology trends and the way they’re going, both in off-grid energy and data connectivity and financial services”, he says, “we can see Africa in general [and] east Africa in particular as a great hotbed for leapfrogging.”‘


In Africa, which sets the bar globally for entrepreneurial spirit, connectivity is the single most democratising grassroots force at work today. Mobile phones are revolutionising financial inclusion, health-care, political participation and education. For every 10% of mobile penetration, a country’s GDP increases by around 0.7%. But too often this energy is squandered by poor infrastructure, under-resourcing, and corruption.


The FT recently showcased the innovations of M-Kopa – providing Kenyans with an affordable solar-powered system able to charge two lights, a torch and a radio (all provided by the company) and, crucially, a mobile phone, harnessing the equally revolutionary M-Pesa mobile payment system.


Founders Jesse Moore and Nick Hughes ‘”didn’t see any trade-off in the pursuit of building a really strong commercial business and making lives better”’. Purpose driving profit is Good Business at its best, putting opportunity back in the hands of the African people – and leapfrogging the West while they’re at it.

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