287 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
    • 4.2 • 5 Ratings

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.

    Constructive Development Finance Frameworks With Jean Bosco Iyacu

    Constructive Development Finance Frameworks With Jean Bosco Iyacu

    In this conversation with Andile Masuku, Jean Bosco Iyacu thoughtfully interrogates the sustainable impact of progressive development finance versus the sketchy outcomes of foreign aid.

    Jean Bosco is a former banker and fellow of the Harvard Kennedy School. He is the director of programmes at Access to Finance Rwanda, an organisation which promotes financial inclusion for low-income clients. Listen to hear why he's not a fan of foreign aid and explain why a robust development funding market is key to disrupting the systematic issues with the global finance status quo.
    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— a premier gathering of refugees, entrepreneurs, educators, private sector actors, government leaders, academics and NGOs.

    While SPARK 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: Riccardo Annadale

    • 34 min
    Contemplating COVID-19's Impact on Africa's Economic Outlook with Landry Signé & Iginio Gagliardone

    Contemplating COVID-19's Impact on Africa's Economic Outlook with Landry Signé & Iginio Gagliardone

    Professor and Founding Co-Director of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and Globalization 4.0 at Thunderbird School of Global Management Landry Signé joins Andile Masuku and guest co-host Iginio Gagliardone for a heartfelt discussion about how the COVID-19 crisis might alter Africa's economic growth trajectory.

    Landry is a Senior Fellow in the Global Economy and Development Program at the Brookings Institution and his passionate perspectives about the merits of democracy feature heavily in this episode. His views are coloured, in part, by the live policy-making exposure he's gleaned during advisory assignments such as serving on the Global Network on Digital Technologies for Sustainable Urbanization at the appointment of a United Nations Under Secretary-General.

    Using Landry's new book "Unlocking Africa's Business Potential: Trends, Opportunities, Risks, and Strategies" as a springboard for the conversation, the trio interrogates some of the speculation influencing Africa's collective response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Listen in to learn why, despite what's going on right now, Landry is standing by the bullish notions outlined in his book— views which, for the most part, Iginio buys into given the positive progress points the continent was posting before the whole COVID-19 nightmare set in.

    Questions discussed in this episode include:
    1) What immediately pops into Landry, Iginio and Andile's heads when they hear ‘Covid-19 and Africa?' [08:34]
    2) In light of what is happening in his native Italy, what does Iginio view as key learning points for South Africa, where he is currently based? [18:45]
    3) How should 'expert' projections shape Africa's political and economic response to Covid-19? [22:36]
    4) Landry unpacks insights from his new book, Unlocking Africa’s Business Potential: Trends, opportunities, risks and strategies. [42:11]
    5) Why would anybody consider Africa's population growth trajectory as anything but a good thing? [43:52]
    6) How might Africa position to become more competitive in the global economy? [45:30]
    7) Is Landry as bullish on Africa’s potential now as he was before the COVID-19 pandemic hit? [49:10]
    8) Why might Africans do well to be cautiously optimistic about the continent's recovery prospects? [51:00]
    9) What does Landry see as Africa's top unique selling propositions? [58:59]
    10) Apart from the African Continental Free Trade Area agreement, what other evidence might there be of increased regional trade cooperation in Africa? [1:08:05]

    Image credit: Nick Romanov

    • 1 hr 32 min
    Ozow's Mitchan Adams On COVID-19: Well-positioned South African payments players are coining it

    Ozow's Mitchan Adams On COVID-19: Well-positioned South African payments players are coining it

    Ozow Co-founder & Head of R&D, Mitchan Adams, joins Andile Masuku and guest co-host & Lettuce Co-founder Simon Dingle for this beefy flagship episode to discuss the current state-of-play in South Africa's digital payments processing scene.

    Mitch reveals why Ozow is actively recruiting and onboarding new hires right now and explains why the startup is seeing a sharp spike in revenue even as the global COVID-19 crisis continues to unfold.

    Listen in for actionable insight about South Africa's competitive financial services landscape, and learn why both Mitch and Simon hope that the country and some of its neighbours in the region will adopt open banking regulation a la Europe's PSD2 dispensation sooner rather than later.

    Mitch is a software engineer who, prior to co-founding Ozow (formerly i-Pay) in 2014, worked at a stockbroking firm— developing and maintaining software which interfaced with Johannesburg Stock Exchange's futures, stocks and bond markets. He also served a stint at Setcom, where his knack for online and card-based payment streams properly took root.

    To skip all the introductory niceties, head straight to [12:52].

    Questions discussed in this episode include:
    1) How is Ozow coping with the mandatory national COVID-19 shutdown ordered by South African President Cyril Ramaphosa? [12:52]
    2) How might payments processors like Ozow position for long-term success in what is a highly-competitive and increasingly-commoditised digital payments landscape? [23:47]
    3) Can open banking-led fintech innovation offer the kind of platform integrity, financial inclusion and system efficiency decentralised cryptocurrency proponents insist blockchain-based platforms like Bitcoin are best positioned to deliver on? [30:57]
    4) Is the obsession with building and maintaining walled gardens a prevalent dynamic within the South African banking industry? [44:30]
    5) How are mobile telcos shaping fintech innovation in South Africa? [47:28]
    6) What unique challenges and opportunities are presented by open banking regulatory frameworks? [53:04]
    7) Is fintech startup success possible in South Africa without subscribing to VC-backed hyper-scale, hyper-growth strategy? [1:08:44]
    8) In what ways do Mitch and Simon anticipate the world will never be the same again once we recover from COVID-19 crisis? [1:21:05]

    Resources referenced in this episode:
    Coronavirus Stimulus Offered By House Financial Services Committee Creates New Digital Dollar by Jason Brett for Forbes

    Image credit: Ruxipen

    • 1 hr 32 min
    Is The Super-Platform Hype Surrounding Africa's Mobile Gaming Industry Real? feat. Lucy Hoffman

    Is The Super-Platform Hype Surrounding Africa's Mobile Gaming Industry Real? feat. Lucy Hoffman

    In this instalment of the African Tech Roundup podcast, Andile Masuku and Osarumen Osamuyi are joined by Lucy Hoffman, co-founder and head of operations at the Cape Town-based, American mobile content development startup Carry1st.

    Listen in to learn why, as glitzy ecosystem trends like fintech and mobility continue to dominate headlines, Lucy and the rest of her team at Carry1st are quietly bullish on the mobile gaming industry’s low-key commercial case and “super-app/super-platform” potential.

    Lucy is an experienced American business operations specialist who, prior to joining Carry1st, spearheaded operations at impact investment facilitation startup Nexii and the African Leadership Academy. Before that, she interned for the global diversity and inclusion team at Credit Suisse and spent three and a half years embedded at Morgan & Stanley, where she worked on M&A and capital markets transactions for global power and utility companies.

    To skip all the introductory niceties, head straight to [11:52].

    Questions discussed in this episode include:
    1. What three words come to mind for Andile, Lucy and Osarumen when they hear the words “super-app” or “super-platform” and why? [11:52]
    2. Is the hype behind mobile gaming’s super-app potential worth buying into? [16:42]
    3. How are mobile gaming startups navigating the power dynamics of Africa’s mobile telco-controlled landscape in order to monetise? [21:32]
    4. How much time and effort do mobile gaming startups like Carry1st need to spend on solving for infrastructural and capacity-building frictions as opposed to working on actual product development? [39:50]
    5. Why might African mobile telcos do well to take on Google Play in seeking to own a meaningful share of the mobile gaming market? [49:00]
    6. What are the exit aspirations of a mobile gaming startup like Carry1st? [51:08]
    7. What is the difference between mobile gaming and mobile gambling? [58:23]
    8. Are African markets ready to jump on the global e-sports wave? [1:08:47]

    Resources referenced in this episode:
    The Mobile Economy: Sub-Saharan Africa 2019 by GSMA Intelligence

    Image credit: Angelo Moleele

    • 1 hr 14 min
    Vietnamese-style Africa-focused Fintech Innovation With Quan Le of Binkabi

    Vietnamese-style Africa-focused Fintech Innovation With Quan Le of Binkabi

    Andile Masuku catches up with Binkabi CEO, Quan Le to learn how his company is working to lower the world's reliance on the US dollar for imports and exports. Listen in to hear how Quan and his team are cutting out middlemen by turning agricultural commodities into tradable assets and automatically matching inbound and outbound trades which enable farmers to directly participate in global trade networks and retain more profits from their harvest.

    Binkabi is a London-headquartered cross-border physical commodity trading platform which primarily operates in developing countries. They leverage blockchain technology to solve for the complex frictions that characterise international agriculture supply chains.

    Quan is a Vietnamese finance professional who previously worked at PwC London as an auditor and, later, in merger acquisition advisory. During his 16-year-plus tenure at the firm, he worked with leading financial institutions in emerging markets in both Asia and Africa.

    Image Credit: no_one_cares (unsplash.com)

    • 48 min
    Accion's Michael Schlein on Financial Inclusion, Fintech & Impact Investment Sceptics

    Accion's Michael Schlein on Financial Inclusion, Fintech & Impact Investment Sceptics

    Michael Schlein is a huge fintech fan, and as the President and CEO of Accion, one of the world's largest nonprofit impact finance organisations, he's backing startups which seek to advance financial inclusion by giving people financial tools to improve their lives.

    In this candid conversation with Andile Masuku, Michael shares useful context about Accion's origins and makes a case for increased cooperation between legacy financial institutions, governments and impact investment non-profit organisations like Accion to advance global financial inclusion. Listen in to hear him address sceptics who hold that the commercial and social impact incentives of the aforementioned parties are hopelessly misaligned.

    Michael is an MIT graduate who amassed nearly 30 years of international banking, management and public service experience before inhabiting his current role. Prior to joining Accion, he managed Citi’s network of Chief Country Officers as President of Citigroup’s International Franchise Management. He also previously served as Chief of Staff at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in the Clinton administration and served in New York’s City Hall during the Dinkins and Koch administrations.

    Image credit: Eva Blue

    • 39 min

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