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Learning from a connected africa


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My lessons learned about doing business in Africa, from African professionals who explained some of the realities of doing business there. Presented at EuroIA16

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Learning from a connected africa

  1. 1. © 2016 Scroll LLP Photo credit, Rahel Anne Bailie Learning from a Connected Africa Lessons in digital marketing for the continent
  2. 2. Starting with the first Digital Marketing Summit in Sudan…
  3. 3. Digital Marketing Summit organisers and volunteers, Khartoum, Sudan
  4. 4. Where is the UX? Design? Content strategy?
  5. 5. People doing business in various African countries explained a few realities…
  6. 6. Mariam Elfadil Digital Marketing Sudan
  7. 7. Resourcefulness to overcome barriers Working around sanctions • Barred from using US marketing tools, no credit cards in Sudan • No access to paid services from US companies (Google, FB, etc) Adapting to cultural contexts • Conservative society – images, clothing, messages • Struggle to reach middle-aged and older markets Access to resources • No curriculum at university level, bringing professors from Singapore • Use workarounds to get access to resources (e.g. Khan Academy)
  8. 8. Resourcefulness to overcome barriers Country of extremes • Access to technology – only minority can afford smart phone • Affordability of bandwidth – under 5MB, no video • 4G = 40USD = 400SD = living expenses for a month • High academic standards vs low literacy rates Country of work-arounds • VPN is used for access to sanctioned services • Contacts living abroad become the de facto ecommerce partner
  9. 9. Real Sufi dancing on Friday evenings
  10. 10. Banan AlKilani Telecomm UAE
  11. 11. Focus on market-specific needs Investing in infrastructure: mobile networks for enterprise apps • LPWAN (low-power, wide-area networks) using LPLR (Low Power, Long Range), GSM, 2G • GSM for large-scale IoT operations (smart meters, light grids) Continent is very price and bandwidth sensitive • Looking at a new frequency (SIGFOX out of France) because hardware is cheaper • Lots of the country still on 2G; must be inexpensive with lots of functionality
  12. 12. Focus on market-specific needs Listen to what the market wants • Keep the principles but overhaul the tactics • Lots of great talent in Africa not being utilised Joint collaboration is the way forward • Bring expertise and work locals to do the development • Need sense of ownership to make it work • They will identify and develop the products that are viable • Products that work in other markets won't work in the African markets
  13. 13. The ubiquitous signs for local telecommunications companies
  14. 14. Kago Kagichiri Education Kenya
  15. 15. Culture, then technology Know your cultures across Africa • In Ghana, appeal to patriotism, but not in Kenya • In Kenya, new telcos all offer bundles but not other countries • Ghana has more smart phone usage because of ads: YouTube, FB, Instagram, all social media Cultural approach to use of technology also matters • Top up mobiles via scratch cards or subscriptions? • Prepare for banked minutes or top up “just in time”? • Can vary by country, by demographic, by generation
  16. 16. Culture, then technology Product configuration matters • Software variants to handle multiple device types • Start basic with “graceful augmentation” Currency fluctuations • Reaction to inflation affects income and internet use • Political atmospheres have noticeable effects on markets Monitor the technology maturity curve by country • Some countries are still in sceptical phase of mobile money • In some countries, can sell exclusively on social media (WhatsApp or Instragram)
  17. 17. Youth involved in traditional dance at the Digital Marketing Summit
  18. 18. Content CurationKaveer Beharee Social intelligence South Africa
  19. 19. Big continent, many consumer groups A market for every solution • A market for every solution, from basic needs to products for the well- heeled, tech-savvy millennials to tech-adverse with purchasing power • Internet growth rates are double that of other global growth rates Lots of untapped sophistication • Develop unique solutions for unique African problems, resulting in first- in-world solutions • South Africa has the most advanced banking sector, in terms of robust legislation, operational, regulatory, and technology innovation
  20. 20. Similarities across nations Similarities in technology advances • Africa has adopted technology as a key to economic growth • Bypassed landline phase, moved direct to cellular • Lack of retail banking infrastructure drove incredible tech advances • Turned telecom providers into banks, with high security features Connectivity and energy • Africans are increasingly connected and easier to reach • Need for cheap energy led to producing cheapest kilowatt in the world
  21. 21. Typical café, shaded by the bridge
  22. 22. Antonio Separovic Fintech SA>UK>Croatia
  23. 23. User-centric with cultural specificity Truly understand the business problems • Really understand what leapfrogging means • Don’t parachute in solutions that solve Western problems • Break problems into market-specific elements Go small or go home • Can bring best practices to third-division markets • Adapting products to infrastructure is a basic principle • Design for most fuel-efficient devices (tablets, mobiles, not desktops)
  24. 24. Huge opportunities for the right investors Green field opportunities • Thinking in new ways brings new apps • Lots of local talent – African-specific development • Elevated entry level, e.g. use the cloud as a starting point Developing a parallel universe • Approaches are unconstrained by conventions of US tech • Can stay outside of US constraints and monitoring • Free of the paradigm of monopolies driving growth
  25. 25. Sali Osman Security and Risk Management USA This speaker? She’s the American.
  26. 26. Questions?
  27. 27. By email: By telephone: UK +44 (0)203 318 1828 (office) UK +44 (0)7869 643 685 (mobile) Social: Twitter: @ScrollUK LinkedIn: Twitter: @rahelab LinkedIn: Services: Training: SCROLL London, UK