Communications & Technology

Rwanda: "With the Mobile Solar Kiosk we bring electricity and internet to the BoP"

"Henri Nyakarundi is the founder of African Renewable Energy Distributor (ARED). Twenty of their 'Mobile Solar Kiosks' have been operational in Rwanda and now Henri and his team are ready to scale up. As Henri is currently looking for funding via the Inclusive Business Accelerator platform we contacted him (who is explaining the kiosk to IMF boss Christine Lagarde in the picture above) to learn more." Posted by Bertil van Vugt on May 5, 2015.

- What problem are you solving with the Mobile Solar Kiosk?

eMkambo: A Market-driven Agricultural Solution Platform in Zimbabwe

In late 2012, Knowledge Transfer Africa (KTA), an indigenous knowledge systems company launched eMkambo, an interactive electronic knowledge-sharing platform for the agriculture sector in partnership with software developer Afrosoft Holdings.

Having been closely following this development, NewsDay columnist Omen Muza (ND) recently caught up with Charles Dhewa (CD), KTA chief executive officer and eMkambo founder and asked him about eMkambo’s progress so far, its linkages with other key market infrastructure and its prospects.

Inclusive Businesses in Zimbabwe share their experiences at an IB Roundtable held in Harare

For its second major event of this year, the Inclusive Business Forum of Zimbabwe decided to feature the experiences of six of the organisations with whom SNV Zimbabwe has worked in Zimbabwe, providing technical and/or financial assistance in terms of their Inclusive Business Scan and/or Capacity Building Grant facilities. Some organisations have also used the CREATE Fund (progress on which was reported in our March Newsletter).

The IB projects presented included the following:

Zain Group Village Phone Program in Madagascar

Zain Group is a mobile network operator reaching more than 65 million customers in 25 countries in the Middle East and Africa. In Madagascar, Zain is working to extend its reach to consumers who cannot afford their own phones through a Village Phone Program (VPP). The VPP, which has expanded to include more than 6,000 independent phone operators, is part of a broader inclusive business model in which network expansion makes coverage possible in geographically remote areas and economies of scale help keep prices low enough for base of the pyramid customers to afford.

Pésinet: A Health Care Initiative for the Reduction of Infant Mortality in Senegal and Mali

Pésinet, devised in 2002 by Brussels-based Afrique Initiatives, is an early warning method for monitoring the health conditions of children from low-income families. Its concept is simple: mothers subscribe to Pésinet’s services for a nominal fee, and in return a local Pésinet representative weighs her children twice a week. Results are communicated through information and communications technologies to a local doctor, who reviews the weight chart and requests that the mother and child visit if the weight readings are anomalously low and medical treatment might be required.

Esoko Networks: Facilitating Agriculture Through Technology in Ghana

Esoko Networks owns and operates Esoko, a technology-based market information system (MIS) classified as agricultural informatics or e-agriculture. Esoko provides agricultural stakeholders like farmers and traders with market information such as prices, and a platform for advertising and negotiating buy/sell offers. For agricultural institutions like farmer associations, Esoko facilitates direct marketing campaigns using short messaging service (SMS).

Kenya Agricultural Commodity Exchange (KACE): Linking Small-Scale Farmers to National and Regional Markets

KACE is the first and only national agricultural commodity exchange in Kenya, and it differentiates itself by dealing with a variety of commodities of which maize and beans are the most heavily traded. KACE acting as an intermediary further empowers rural farmers with market information and provides capacity enhancement, business training and technical assistance. Prior to the formation of KACE, small scale farmers lacked access to mainstream markets for agricultural produce, leaving them vulnerable to the forces of the market, as well as to exploitation by country buyers.

Celtel and Celpay in the Democratic Republic of Congo

Celtel International, the leading pan-African mobile communications group, with operations in 15 countries, entered the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2000, when the civil war was still raging. It faced a market with widespread insecurity, poverty, depleted human capacity and political and regulatory uncertainty. There was little or no infrastructure and no banking network. The potential customer base seemed very small, with few ways to reach out to them.

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