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Africa needs tech tools to develop untapped content

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By Mbugua Njihia

Posted  Wednesday, November 7   2012 at  15:07

In Summary

  • Developing markets and getting them to a stable state where the ecosystem is healthy requires time, money and effort.
  • Stable ecosystems exist where there is good demand, adequate choice and supporting infrastructure that is up to scratch.
  • Identifying the different players and pushing the value these newly created markets present is a huge undertaking.
  • Google is taking the lead having created a forum where key players in the ecosystem are identified and taken through an opportunity matrix and thereafter empowered with tools to exploit the same.

It is said that Africa is the last frontier in many ways, having vast resources, yet untapped or undiscovered. This rings true on many levels when looking at the amount of knowledge inherent in our culture and history.

In this day of increasing access to the Internet and growing numbers of mobile subscribers, an ecosystem that supports the creation, aggregation, distribution and consumption of content has been created.

This newly created markets are heavy consumers of content as shown by research, with many in Africa accessing the Internet for the first time on a mobile device in their quest for content.

It has been unfortunate though that a lot of the content consumed is foreign; using the term loosely to mean not originated from Africa .

Developing markets and getting them to a stable state where the ecosystem is healthy requires time, money and effort. Stable ecosystems exist where there is good demand, adequate choice and supporting infrastructure that is up to scratch.

Identifying the different players and pushing the value these newly created markets present is a huge undertaking. Google is taking the lead having created a forum where key players in the ecosystem are identified and taken through an opportunity matrix and thereafter empowered with tools to exploit the same.

I am impressed by the format adopted by the Google Kenya team at Google Week, that was held at a tricked out StartUp Garage along Kenya’s ‘silicon strip.’

Each day was tailor-made to address the needs and opportunities available for both those interested in and invested in leveraging the potential of Africa’s content.

Those with online properties were shown how to monetise their audiences and use analytics to aid the content creation process by providing information on what flavour is most engaging.

The developer-day was particularly interesting with an alignment to Vision 2030 brought to the fore, with the aim of helping local developers fine-tune their opportunity radar and build solutions that have a better chance of impact.

This is so because they will be modelled on a bigger roadmap that has seen the injection of capital by the government and other development partners.
The C-level programme saw key decision makers exposed to market insights – research, reports and case studies.

Many C-level executives are afraid to innovate or experiment with web and mobile technology as they lack authoritative data on their markets to defend their propositions.

Africa’s content is ripe for discovery and monetisation with the journey to success for brand developers made less daunting with access to tools such as those provided by Google.

Njihia is CEO of Symbiotic. Twitter: @mbuguanjihia