Start-up in Africa: a disruption called Rwanda
In Rwanda, the technological revolution is taking place on earth and in the air. This small landlocked country of more than 12 million people wants to play a driving role in Africa, thanks to digital technology. Samir Abdelkrim, entrepreneur, founder of StartupBRICS.com * and hunter of African technological nuggets presents us with several of these Rwandan start-ups, crossed on the ground in Kigali. Since 2014, he has been crisscrossing Africa for innovation from which he will draw a book, in preparation and which will be entitled “Startup Lions”.
In the hilly streets of Kigali, the mototaxis that crisscross the cluster roads day and night continue to hold the upper hand, despite frequent accidents. Popular and inexpensive, this means of transport very popular with Rwandan citizens could nevertheless be “disrupted” in the coming months due to the return of public transport buses thanks to version 2.0. Since the start of 2016, Rwandan travelers have been able to surf the 4G network for free for the entire duration of their journey. The objective? Allow any Rwandan citizen to have free access to the internet.
The world’s first drone-port
The idea that germinated in the minds of Rwandan leaders in 2015, and in particular in that of the Rwandan Minister of ICT, Jean-Philbert Nsengimana, who was responsible for its application. A few months later, the first buses in the capital were equipped with free internet connection – just under 500 vehicles benefit from it to date. An impeccable execution, which illustrates the will of this small landlocked country (with more than 12 million inhabitants) to play a driving role in Africa, thanks and through digital. This technological revolution is also well on the way to gain momentum on land but also in the air since the country of the Thousand Hills decided to reform its legislation to allow the creation on its soil of the first drone-port in the world. Blood bags, medicines and even food packages could soon be delivered by civilian drones to Rwandans living in mountainous and remote areas of the country. About fifteen flying machines will enter service before the end of 2016.
A disruptive state of mind supported and encouraged by the public policies of the Rwandan government, which comes in the process of digitizing the entire public administration through the ramp-up of the IREMBO initiative. For their part, Rwandan entrepreneurs are not to be outdone: in the Fintech sector via health, more and more young talents are innovating to provide global solutions starting from properly African problems. Back on three of them.
Scattered around the world, the Rwandan diaspora is impressive. Several times a month, diaspora workers help their families left behind by sending them small sums, the famous “remittances”. These little “extras” which, on the spot, help to feed the family, finance the purchase of medicines, supplement the parents’ small pension… Historical intermediaries, the behemoths of the transfer of funds, Western Union in mind, collect in passing their tithe, modestly called service charges. 12% on average for each transaction.
Entrepreneur based in Kigali, Louis-Antoine Muhire sought to solve this problem by developing Mergims, an application that allows the Rwandan diaspora to cut transfer fees and obtain reinforced control over the use of transferred funds. . With transfer fees limited to 5% only. Thus, “a Rwandan expatriate living in Canada or in France can directly take care of a large number of invoices directly from our application, such as paying the electricity bills of the parents or taking care of the school fees of the nephews. One of the most popular options is buying phone credit. ” In 2015, Mergims successfully raised $ 50,000 from local business angels to expand and improve its service offering. Thus, month after month, the start-up managed to assemble a large network of traders in Kigali. “We are moving towards the creation of a virtual store, through which our users can directly assume all the food costs of their loved one,” explains Louis-Antoine Muhire.
Antifreeze in cough syrup, aspirin pills stuffed with toxic excipients … All over the world and especially in emerging countries, the juicy business of counterfeit drugs thrives and kills. A global crime, in full expansion already weighing several hundred billion dollars, with its share of deaths. In 2013, 700,000 people died. On the front line facing the drug mafias, Africa. In April, several hundred thousand fake tablets from Asia were seized by Senegalese customs. Faced with this health scourge, the Rwandan social entrepreneur Aphrodice Mutangana began to develop NapTeker, a pan-African directory gathering all the useful information (dosages, side effects, etc.) on the most used medicines in 39 African countries. The platform notably educates illiterate users about the dangers of fake medicines through a system of pre-recorded voice messages (under development). Among the planned functions, the establishment of private “chats” with pharmacists, available 24 hours a day, especially on the issue of counterfeits. While the drug inventory is still being implemented, NapTeker is still at a very early stage, and must continue to prove itself to convince a future investor.
Find out more at: https://business.lesechos.fr/entrepreneurs/internationaliser-exporter/une-disruption-nommee-rwanda-211285.php