Business

Four exciting startups in East Africa you should know about

Four startups in East Africa you should know

Since the 2000s, Africa Rising has become a term used to describe the rapid economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa. There is so much confidence in its potential that ‘in 2010 the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) described the potential and progress of African economies as “lions on the move”.’

The World Bank’s latest edition of Global Economic Prospects mirrors this confidence in forecasting Ethiopia as the fastest-growing economy in 2017.

The World's Fastest Growing Economies 2017

Ethiopia’s GDP is forecast to grow by 8.3% in 2017. By contrast, global growth is projected to be 2.7%.

It is no secret that the key to Africa unleashing its lofty potential is its youth population. The average age of the African population is 19.4 years. It already makes up 16.41 percent of the total world population and is projected to have the second largest population by 2050.

Africa's youngest populations

The robustness of Africa’s economic prospects creates exciting business opportunities for its young population, and East Africa may well be leading the charge.

From a dozen brilliant startups in East Africa, we have compiled a list of five exciting startups you should be familiar with:

1.) Zipline 

Last year, this automated logistics company based in California, and the Government of Rwanda launched the world’s first national drone delivery service to make on-demand emergency blood deliveries to transfusion clinics across the country.

The drone delivery system ensures that medical personnel can order blood via text and receive it in 30 minutes by parachutes from the drones.

This year, Tanzania announced that it is partnering with Zipline to launch the world’s largest drone delivery service to provide emergency on-demand access to critical and life-saving medicines.

Operations are expected to begin in the first quarter of 2018.

2.) M-Pesa

While smartphone payments gain ground in the U.S., it is very much old news in Kenya. In fact, the majority of the East African country’s population is subscribed to a mobile payment service. And they have been for the last 10 years. [CNN]

M-Pesa (M for mobile, Pesa is Swahili for money) is an electronic wallet service that lets an account holder store, send and receive money right to their mobile phone. [10 things you should know about M-Pesa]

M-Pesa

Source: CNN

3.) Get It

Get It is a food delivery service that delivers fresh farm boxes to your door.

This straightforward startup began out of a need to aggregate grocery lists in a busy Kigali market.

Clients order grocery items either through text messages or social media platforms, and the orders are delivered.

In an interview with Living in Kigali, Lauren, the founder said she ”wanted to create a super easy way to shop that not only solved this problem for people in Kigali, but for anyone in Rwanda.”

Initially, single clients patronized the business. Overtime, it has grown to having businesses patronize it for wholesale deliveries. The Marriot Hotel is one of its biggest clients.

4.) Tugende

In most parts of Africa, capital is hard to come by to kick-start business. In Uganda, some motorcycle drivers rent bikes from individuals for commercial use at a fixed daily price but find it difficult to earn substantial income after all expenses have been paid, including daily rent fee.

Tugende gives a chance to customers generally unable to access traditional credit providers, including most microfinance institutions—often due to a lack of existing collateral.

The startup offers a lease-to-own opportunity to commercial motorcycle drivers by guaranteeing rent payment is towards ownership of the motorcycle.

Tugende has leased out over $5 million worth of motorcycles since its inception. It has financed over 6,000 motorcycles for its clients, and has already created more than 2,500 new owners.

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