250 episodes

The African Tech Roundup podcast delivers independent Africa-focused technology, digital and innovation insight and analysis.

The show is produced by broadcaster and entrepreneur, Andile Masuku (www.andilemasuku.com), and co-hosted by founder and writer of The Subtext (www.thesubtext.io), Osarumen Osamuyi.

African Tech Roundup African Tech Roundup

    • Technology

The African Tech Roundup podcast delivers independent Africa-focused technology, digital and innovation insight and analysis.

The show is produced by broadcaster and entrepreneur, Andile Masuku (www.andilemasuku.com), and co-hosted by founder and writer of The Subtext (www.thesubtext.io), Osarumen Osamuyi.

    Unpacking Arab Identity & Socio-economic Dynamics with Arab Economies Researcher Salam Said

    Unpacking Arab Identity & Socio-economic Dynamics with Arab Economies Researcher Salam Said

    In this podcast, Andile Masuku chats with Dr Salam Said, a seasoned Middle Eastern economics researcher who specialises in Arab economies, Arab trade policies and the political economy of Syria.

    Andile taps Dr Said's extensive professional and lived experience as he attempts to wrap his mind around some of the ways Arab identity and geopolitical dynamics (past and present) inform the socio-economic policies of nations that tend to dominate the global news cycle for all kinds of complex reasons.

    Listen in to hear Dr Said factor in candidly on how to properly gauge the economic empowerment of everyday citizens, particularly women, of Arab nations.

    Editorial Disclaimer: This podcast is part of a seven-part podcast miniseries interrogating the progress being made in advancing entrepreneurship and job creation in some of the world’s most fragile regions.

    The series was taped at the fringes of SPARK’s 7th Annual IGNITE Conference in Amsterdam (https://spark.ngo/ignite-conference-2019)— a premier gathering of refugees, entrepreneurs, educators, private sector actors, government leaders, academics and NGOs.

    While SPARK (https://spark.ngo) is the presenting sponsor of the series, African Tech Roundup maintains complete editorial oversight. Opinions expressed by the host, Andile Masuku, and his guests, do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the presenting sponsor, SPARK.

    Image credit: Florian Wehde

    • 41 min
    South Sudan: Micro-finance Diaries with Yengi Lokule of Rural Finance Initiative (RUFI)

    South Sudan: Micro-finance Diaries with Yengi Lokule of Rural Finance Initiative (RUFI)

    African Tech Roundup and SPARK (https://spark.ngo) have partnered to produce a seven-part podcast miniseries interrogating the progress being made in advancing entrepreneurship and job creation in some of the world’s most fragile regions.

    The series uncovers pragmatic first-hand insights about the challenges of deploying market-relevant approaches to entrepreneurship, economic policy design and implementation, education interventions and the provision of business support.

    The first episode of the series features a relaxed diary session with Yengi Lokule, Co-founder and CEO of Rural Finance Initiative (RUFI), a South Sudanese microfinance and cross-border remittance firm which serves South Sudanese refugees in Uganda as well as rural and peri-urban residents in his fragile home country. Yengi holds degrees in Agriculture and Development Studies specializing in Micro-finance and has over 20 years’ of professional experience gained in post-conflict environments.

    This thoughtful conversation casually addresses some of the oversimplifications related to promoting financial inclusion in post-conflict environments while offering useful insight into displaced people are defiantly building futures for themselves and others in South Sudan and neighbouring Uganda.

    Editorial Disclaimer: This podcast was taped at the fringes of SPARK’s 7th annual IGNITE Conference in Amsterdam (https://spark.ngo/ignite-conference-2019) and is an independent African Tech Roundup production. The opinions expressed by the host, Andile Masuku, and his guest, do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the presenting sponsor, SPARK.

    Image credit: SPARK

    • 50 min
    African Fintech Signal Check 2019: What Can Africa Learn From India? (Part 2) feat. Arunjay Katakam

    African Fintech Signal Check 2019: What Can Africa Learn From India? (Part 2) feat. Arunjay Katakam

    So, unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ll have noticed that a 'brick' several hundred million dollars heavy has descended on the continent in an unprecedented period of time, most of it venture capital earmarked for fintech startups in Nigeria.

    On this episode, Indian tech founder Arunjay Katakam joins Andile Masuku and Osarumen Osamuyi to extend our conversation about the implications of all the hype surrounding Africa's fintech scene and what the broader implications might be for the continent's tech ecosystem at large.

    We’re still vibing off of our last show, dubbed African Fintech Signal Check 2019: Nigeria's Killing It! (Part 1). That show, which guest featured Wiza Jalakasi, unpacked some of the most pertinent happenings in Africa’s emerging fintech landscape and in the legacy financial services arena over the last couple of months or so. If you haven't listened to that show (Episode 134), do that before you dig into this one.

    Arunjay Katakam is a former EY consultant who has co-founded three startups, exiting two— one of which eventually sold to Twitter. Today Arunjay is co-founder and CEO of a London-based cross-border remittance startup called Yooz and advises founders at DFS Lab. His extensive tech entrepreneurship experience spans work in developing markets in Asia and Africa, as well as developed markets in the Global North.

    To by-pass the pleasantries, head straight to the main discussion: [18:50].

    Topics discussed in this episode include:
    1) Arunjay suggests that there are three major cost factors/points of friction preventing mobile money from enjoying WhatsApp-level ubiquity and mainstream adoption. [18:50]
    2) Can ECOWAS's (Economic Community of West African States) Eco currency plans lay the groundwork for smoother regional money flows? [26:25]
    3) Might the recent $20 million investment close by "credit-as-a-service" startup Migo (formerly Mines.io)— mostly designated for taking on the Brazilian market, spark a new trend towards African/Africa-focussed startups taking on key markets outside the continent? [31:54]
    4) In what ways might the dynamics of engineering fintech startup success in India be comparable with the same in African key markets? [35:53]
    5) Does "a rising tide raise all boats", or will large fintech startups like OPay and PalmPay stifle innovation by smaller players? [51:42]
    6) How might African mobile network operators (MNOs) respond to the prospect of wholesale disruption as "OTT (Over-the-top) Application 2.0" takes hold, and what learnings might they draw from the Chinese and Indian ecosystem experiences to inform their strategies? [57:54]

    Bonus Topics: Can successful startups be built without having to tell lies, even apparently "harmless" ones? + Is RxAll Africa's very own Theranos in the making? [9:13]

    To view resources referenced in this episode, visit https://www.africantechroundup.com/fintech-signal-check-2019-part-2/

    Image credit: Babatunde Olajide

    • 1 hr 13 min
    African Fintech Signal Check 2019: Nigeria's Killing It! (Part 1) feat. Wiza Jalakasi

    African Fintech Signal Check 2019: Nigeria's Killing It! (Part 1) feat. Wiza Jalakasi

    The last couple of months or so have been rather eventful for Africa's fintech scene— particularly in Nigeria where Interswitch notably attained unicorn status in November following Visa acquiring 20% of the company for a reported $200 million.

    Twitter and Square CEO Jack Dorsey's much-publicised visit to Africa last month also did much to put a global spotlight on the continent’s fintech arena, and the subsequent capital raises by OPay (backed by Opera) and PalmPay (backed by Transsion) drew attention to the on-going race for platform dominance in the space.

    In this instalment of the African Tech Roundup podcast, Andile Masuku and The Subtext’s Osarumen Osamuyi are joined by Malawian mobile tech entrepreneur, Wiza Jalakasi, to unpack some of the more pertinent fintech industry signals and discuss their implications for the continent’s tech and innovation ecosystem at large. (To skip the introductory niceties, head straight to [11:58].)

    Wiza is a passionate USSD proponent who formerly headed up business development and international expansion at Africa’s Talking. He is currently the head of strategy and business development at Hover.

    Questions discussed in this episode include:

    1) Is the hype around Jack Dorsey’s recent Africa visit well-deserved? [12:38]
    2) Why might PalmPay’s $40 million seed round be the most significant China-related fintech startup play of late? [25:47]
    3) Are aspiring ‘banks’ like Google and Facebook well-positioned to dominate Africa’s fintech industry? [28:52]
    4) Is there credence to Jack Dorsey’s citing of Bitcoin as a key part of the future of African fintech? [37:55]
    5) How significant is the trend towards digital-first and digital-only banks? [50:46]
    6) Could the Zimbabwean mobile telco NetOne spark a continental trend by making mobile money transactions free? [1:01:57]
    7) How will Google’s new Play Store lending term restrictions for financial services apps impact microlenders on the continent? [1:07:34]

    To view resources referenced in this episode, visit https://www.africantechroundup.com/fintech-signal-check-2019-part-1/

    Image credit: Namnso Ukpanah

    • 1 hr 15 min
    Is The Africa-China/China-Africa Tech & Innovation Dynamic Win-win? feat. Iginio Gagliardone

    Is The Africa-China/China-Africa Tech & Innovation Dynamic Win-win? feat. Iginio Gagliardone

    In this episode of the African Tech Roundup podcast, Andile Masuku and The Subtext’s Osarumen Osamuyi are joined by Iginio Gagliardone for a candid introductory chat about the budding Africa-China/China-Africa tech collaboration dynamic.

    Iginio is an Associate Professor in Media Studies at the University of the Witwatersrand and an Associate Research Fellow in New Media and Human Rights in the Programme in Comparative Media Law and Policy (PCMLP) at the University of Oxford. He is also the author of a new book called China, Africa and the Future of the Internet, which has taken him the better part of ten years to write.

    This context-setting conversation covers a lot of ground. Some of the questions discussed include:

    1) Where big-money moves in tech and innovation sector are concerned, is there an Africa-China or China-Africa dynamic at play? [12:17]
    2) How committed is China to promoting mutual commercial beneficiation in Africa? [15:51]
    3) Is there substance to stereotype of “Everyone has a plan for Africa, except Africa”? [20:13]
    4) Are there any “good guys” left, and if so, is China one of them? [25:02]
    5) Is China’s influence in African “technopolitical” circles inducing a neo-Third World psyche? [30:23]

    The episode is chock-full of fascinating real-world anecdotes, provocative ideas for how things can and should be and even a lively lightning round near the end of the show which elicited reflex takes on Africa-China tech stories that have trended over the last short while.

    To view resources referenced in this episode, visit https://www.africantechroundup.com/africa-china-tech-dynamics/

    Image credit: Kayla Kozlowski

    • 1 hr 14 min
    Dr Shingi Munyeza & Allon Raiz on Entrepreneurial Strategy and Zimbabwe's Commercial Potential

    Dr Shingi Munyeza & Allon Raiz on Entrepreneurial Strategy and Zimbabwe's Commercial Potential

    After hosting of a live panel session at #Leaderex2019 in Sandton, Johannesburg themed, "Accelerating Zimbabwean Entrepreneurial Ventures", Andile Masuku, sat down with Zimbabwean businessman and presidential advisor Dr Shingi Munyeza and South African entrepreneur Allon Raiz for a relaxed podcast taping.

    Before making his mark as an entrepreneur, Dr Munyeza built a storied corporate career that saw him grow from being a clerk at Ernst & Young to a heavy-hitting advertising industry executive, and later, and perhaps most famously, to being the CEO of African Sun, one of Zimbabwe’s leading hospitality groups. Dr Munyeza has since evolved into one of his country's most respected serial entrepreneurs and, on this podcast, he shares his motivation for joining forces with Allon Raiz to launch a business incubator in Zimbabwe.

    Allon Raiz has come to be regarded globally as a pioneer and maverick in the business-incubation industry. An industry which is, for the most part, notorious for being anything but pragmatic and profitable. He is the CEO of Raizcorp, a business which, has provocatively been dubbed by The Economist as “the only genuine incubator in Africa”.

    Listen in for exclusive insight regarding these Dr Shingi and Allon's decidedly different entrepreneurial approaches and for practical wisdom on backing early-stage entrepreneurial progress in Zimbabwe a la Raizcorp Zimbabwe.

    • 1 hr 2 min

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