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Unlocking eCommerce Growth Through Accelerated Reinvention in the Digital Age



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By Raphael Afaedor

Embracing innovation, and rethinking service capabilities – these are part of a vast realm of possibilities that have been opened across Africa through adoption of e-commerce, and for tech start-up companies, the opportunities are endless.

As African countries increasingly embrace the expansion of digitisation, and products producing more access to the newer Internet of Things (IoT) technologies – one thing is clear, reinvention is possible for any sector.

It isn’t only possible – it may even be necessary for optimization and innovation to thrive, and to solve for developmental challenges through digital solutions.

Investor sentiment is also heavily leaning towards digital offerings that can propel Africa forward in the tech space, and according to reports, around 90% of Africa’s tech investments are won by four countries: Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, and Egypt.

Kenya is seemingly leading the charge as investor sentiment is also crucially being met with the backing of political will, as the country is set to introduce its Start Up Bill this coming year (2023) to further encourage growth and sustainable development and new entrepreneurship in the tech space.

Investor confidence in innovations created by Africans is also birthing more room and opportunities for more players in the ecosystem.

We also can see now how digitisation is already playing a considerable role in optimizing and formalising the informal market sector – particularly mom-and-pop stores. They now have the resources – through platforms such as]– where informal retail traders have more direct access with Fast-moving Consumer Goods (FMCGs) companies and their distributors, thus solving not only historic structural supply chain challenges but also the stock-outs of products too.

Today, the company boasts a database of over 300,000 such outlets in its database across Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, and Nigeria.

However, in a landscape that is ever-evolving and innovating – the question follows, “what’s next?”

According to data released by mobile industry insights company, Global System for Mobile Communications (GSMA), there will be 400 million new mobile subscribers from frontier markets in the Asia Pacific and Sub-Saharan Africa by 2025.

By then, the total number of subscribers is expected to jump to 5.7 billion people, representing 70% of the world’s population.

Technology is certainly more ubiquitous and data is becoming increasingly affordable for many African countries.

Digital companies are now being challenged to not only offer the efficient delivery of services, but also, a broader scope of value-adding products too.

A service offering may begin as one aspect and end up reinventing the entire wheel based on forward thinking innovation and consumer demand.

Solving for delivery efficiencies in the informal retail industry is one step in the chain as an example, but opportunities to create linkages in that chain that creates better value for both businesses and consumers broadens the realm of possibility.

Developers now have the possibility to not only create a direct link between informal retail outlets, FMCGs, and their distributors – but also on the other side of the coin, FMCGS and distributors, also have a clearer picture of their product’s coverage in the market.

Added to that, by working directly with FMCGs and their distributors, platforms such as also have the benefit of being able to aggregate demand. Essentially, this means that the platform is able to buy products at the lowest prices possible and pass on those savings to their clients making them more competitive.

And it doesn’t stop there – with access to actual databases and trading histories, the growth of mom-and-pop stores can be propelled through having solid data on which to approach credit providers for access to working capital loans.

One of the ways is excited to be expanding our own offering, and thus expanding efficiencies for both consumers and businesses – is through making access to micro-insurance products possible.

This is also coupled with our offering of affordable credit solutions for informal traders or rather, dukas, where owners are able to stock products for their stores and pay off their balances later.

Being digitally driven, the proficiencies of the app also enable using recorded data to predict what will sell for dukas and advise owners on what they should stock in order to increase their revenues and profits.

The future for African tech is a growing and exciting space to be in, and what we’re learning is that through shaping our user’s journey, we’re shaping what is possible for the rest of the continent.

Raphael Afaedor is CEO of Digital Services

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Outdated Tech Holding Back Innovation in Organizations



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A new report by a leading global IT infrastructure and services company, NTT DATA has revealed that 80 per cent of organizations have agreed that inadequate or outdated technology is holding back organizational progress and innovation efforts.

In fact, 94 per cent of C-suite executives believe legacy infrastructure is greatly hindering their business agility.

These findings come from NTT DATA’s inaugural Lifecycle Management Report. The report, which leverages 25 years of data-led insights from NTT DATA, explores the challenges and opportunities that exist for organizations as they navigate infrastructure lifecycle management.

The research was conducted over 2022 and 2023, gathering data from over 248 million active assets across 130 countries and supported with responses from up to 1400 senior technology decision makers.

Lifecycle management is a critical enabler of business success. Unfortunately, rapid modernization, and the proliferation of technology consumption models, coupled with an increasingly complicated and fragmented supplier ecosystem, make it difficult for many organisations to adequately maintain their technology infrastructure in a way that fosters business agility and innovation.

Compounding issues, the report finds that more than two thirds (69%) of currently active hardware (with scheduled last day of support) will no longer be supported by 2027.

According to the report, just 51 per cent of enterprises have fully aligned their technology approach to their business strategy needs, while 71 per cent of organizations say their network assets are mostly ageing or obsolete.

Unfortunately, lifecycle management can also have an even more direct impact on operations. Misaligned lifecycle patterns can result in inappropriate coverage levels, laborintensive renewals, extended incident resolution times, security breaches, and even costly license violations and compliance issues.

Gary Middleton, Vice President of Networking GTM at NTT DATA, said: “Infrastructure lifecycles are a critical part of the IT management process. They represent an opportunity and a challenge for leadership, as effective lifecycles can result in huge business benefits – from increased efficiency to fostering greater innovation. “However, inefficient lifecycle management can equally be a meaningful operational blocker, posing numerous risks to security and business continuity.

“Through the Lifecycle Management Report, our aim is to help organizations enhance their infrastructure lifecycle processes and unlock the huge benefits doing so presents.”

It would be recalled that an earlier report by PwC had indicated that in Africa, the tech-ecosystem had experienced impressive growth and is evolving rapidly.

It noted that there was a high level of optimism about the potential that the continent has to offer by harnessing the strength of its largely young, rapidly growing and technology savvy population.

“Nigeria is one of the continent’s more established startup ecosystems, with firms like Interswitch dating as far back as 2002. “Albeit the growing tech-sector in the Nigerian economy and significant private funding secured by African tech start-ups over the years, the tech sector is grossly underrepresented in the Nigerian capital market “ the report said.

It also highlighter that the future of countries, businesses, and individuals would be more dependent than ever on their adoption of technology, adding that economic vibrancy and wealth creation in developed countries had been associated with technological advancements and digital innovation & transformation.

“Today, most of the companies with the world’s largest market capitalizations are tech companies that generate much of their revenue from the digital ecosystems they created. This is a significant change from the early 2000s to this current time,” the report added.


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DisCos’ revenue rose by 17% to N291bn in Q1 2024 – NBS



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National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) has revealed that electricity distribution companies (DisCos) in Nigeria made a total of N291.62 billion in the first quarter (Q1) of 2024.

NBS, in its latest report on electricity for Q1 2024, released on Sunday, June 23 also said there was a decline in electricity supply in the period reviewed.

The revenue by DisCos rose by 17.91 percent compared to the N247.33 billion recorded in Q1 of 2023, the bureau said.

According to the bureau, power supply dropped from 6,432.22 gigawats per hour (Gwh) in Q4 2023 to 5,769.52 (Gwh) in Q1 2024 but on a year-on-year basis, electricity supply decreased by 1.41 percent compared to 5,851.87 (Gwh) reported in Q1 2023, NBS said.

“Revenue collected by the DisCos during the period was N291.62 billion from N294.95 billion in Q4 2023, “the report reads.“On a year-on-year basis, revenue generated in the reference period rose by 17.91% from N247.33 billion recorded in Q1 2023.”

The NBS also said the total number of customers stood at 12.33 million in Q1 — up from 12.12 million in Q4 2023 — representing an increase of 1.78 percent.

“On a year-on-year basis, customer numbers in Q1 2024 rose by 9.47% from 11.27 million reported in Q1 2023,” the bureau said.

“Similarly, metered customers stood at 5.91 million in Q1 2024, indicating a growth of 5.38% from 5.61 million recorded in the preceding quarter.

“On a year-on-year basis, this grew by 11.26% from the figure reported in Q1 2023 which was 5.31 million.”

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NITDA Commits to Deliver NDLF Initiatives Through Innovative Ideas



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In line with the digital literacy campaign of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), the Director General NITDA Kashifu Inuwa CCIE has said the Agency’s committed to achieving 70% digital literacy level by 2025 through innovative approaches in delivering initiatives, continuous collaborations and stakeholder engagement.

Inuwa made this known while receiving representatives from the Afre.lib Academy led by the Executive Director of Operation Mrs Joice Gomina who were on a visit to the Agency’s Corporate Headquarters in Abuja.

The purpose of the visit was to seek NITDA’s partnership as co-host of Afre.lib Academy’s bootcamps in August; 2024 Tech and Career Expo with the theme “Tech for Earth” in September; to have the DG as a Keynote Speaker and sponsorship support for their Tech Challenge Winners.

He said from the digital literacy perspective “We have three key areas, firstly, is the Formal Education where we are working with the minister of education to review curriculum and infuse all these skills in formal education, but we have a lot to do to achieve that in terms of training the teachers, getting the equipment available for them to use and so on.”

“Sencodly, for those outside the formal education (informal), we have an initiative which we call the Digital Literacy for All where we are working on building an Edtech platform (a learning Management System) where people can learn at their own pace. We are looking at translating it to Nigerian Languages, so that people who cannot read and understand English can do so in their own local languages.”

“We are exploring partnering with the National Youth Service Corp (NYSC) as they are in 774 local government areas, to be onboarding people and making the content as simple as possible. So that anybody who listens or watches these contents can pick something from it. We believe going through the NYSC will help use reach the critical mass we are looking at.”

“Finally, we also have the formal workforce, which is to train people working for the government and private sector because the workforce needs to be digitally literate to increase productivity at work.

Inuwa assured the Academy of the Agency’s full support as both organisation share the same vison of fostering IT development and digital literacy.

“We need to review your curriculum to make sure it aligns with the National Digital Literacy Framework (NDLF).”

He added that NITDA is working to have at least one Innovation Hub per state so that when people learn they can have a place to develop there proof of concept.

He stated that both organisations can work together in the aspect of having tech clubs across schools in the country.

The ED Afre.lib Mrs Gomina said that the Academy’s which is a made up of a team of experts’ passionate educators has seen the gap between young children who are digital natives and their teachers who are still using old methods to prepare them for a future that is constantly evolving.

She said the Academy is working on building a platform where these children will be mentored and given a safe space to explore technology within the ethics of morality.

“We want to reduce that entitlement mentality and increase that mentality of citizenship, responsibility, and showing them that they can contribute to nation building using technology,” she said

She mentioned that some of the activities of the Academy includes, bootcamps for children, summer tech challenges teacher training as she appreciated the Agency for its willingness to support and partner with the Academy.

The Academy did a demo of some of the prototype developed by children who have undergone trainings with them.


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