Uchaguzi is live and mapping the 2010 Tanzanian elections!
The platform is building off the early success of Uchaguzi Kenya. Learning from this experience the team is now set up in Tanzania. The local team now includes 2,000 monitors and links into a network of 30,000 trusted sources. Not to mention the platform is open to messages from the crowd. Its this combination of official monitoring networks, trusted networks and citizens based approach that makes the difference. Uchaguzi.tz shortcode is 15540 and already the team has received a considerable number of messages. You can see the Uchaguzi instance and follow progress in real time.
Uchaguzi.tz is a joint project of Ushahidi and Sodnet from Kenya, as well as TACCEO, which is comprised of a number of local Tanzanian organizations and led by the Legal and Human Rights Centre (LHRC) from Tanzania. The project is supported by Hivos.
The team asks you to get involved!
We are relying on volunteers from Tanzania, Kenya, and globally to help us map the incoming reports, and because of the large volume of messages we expect to receive, we are currently in need of volunteers – in Tanzania, Kenya, and remotely – with basic tech knowledge or with previous with Ushahidi to help us map and respond to reports. If you are interested and able to volunteer with us on election day, October 31st, sign up using this Google Spreadsheet!
While we’ve had a wonderful media team working to spread the word about Uchaguzi TZ in Tanzania, we can also use your help in letting your friends and family know to text 15540 with any information about the Tanzanian elections.
We read about entrepreneurs and their projects every day. Only last week we had a list of inspiring winners from the Apps4Africa competition. See iCow takes first place at the ‘Apps 4 Africa’ contest. But only a lucky few walked away with a cash prize. What happens to the rest of these entrepreneurs and their ideas? Without some financial support, mentorship and guidence we risk wasting this potential.
One example of a project I would like to see take shape is Fogs Funeral Announcements developed by Alex Gitonga. This is an application for generating death and funeral announcements via text message. Radio and newspaper are costly in the region. Fog will allow users to cheaply and easily draft, edit and send these types of messages to ensure they reach friends, family, former schoolmates and colleagues – an important Kenyan custom. Funerals can be a heavy financial burden on a small family and using a tool like this frees up disposable income for school fees or other costs. To me this is a powerful application that potentially serves millions of customers. And I can imagine there are some regional expansion opportunities too.
It’s only a matter of time before investors recognize the opportunities and step forward to show their support. In this interview, Richard Bell, CEO at East Africa Capital Partners, takes a look at the rise of Venture Capital in the East African ICT sector. Early days in a process that will hopefully see many individuals like Alex Gitonga realize their ideas.
See an overview of some of the VC firms now active in this space:
1. Fanisi Venture Capital Fund
Fanisi Venture Capital Fund is a venture capital fund established in Luxembourg to work with competitive and sustainable East African businesses, whose ambitions are to grow and run their operations to global best practice standards. They invest in high growth businesses, including start ups and early stage companies, and are committed to working with East African entrepreneurs to build world class businesses with significant development impact on the economies in the region.
Investment range: USD 0.5 million – USD 3 million
Investor stake : equity
Fee : n/a
Web : http://www.fanisi.com
2. Africa Media Venture Fund
Africa Media Ventures Fund mobilizes capital and experience in the Netherlands to invest in entrepreneurs in the media sector and small and medium sized African media companies. They offer a combination of venture capital and business development support, involving knowledge, experience, access to proven business concepts/applications and network.
Investment range: EUR 15,000 – EUR 100,000
Investor stake: minor equity, seat on board
Web : http://www.amvf.nl
3. eVA Fund
eVA Fund is dedicated to mobilize capital and experience in the Netherlands/Europe to invest in small and medium sized African internet related companies. eVA Fund focuses on development in terms of capital and business development support, i.e. knowledge, experience, access to proven business concepts/applications, and network.
Investment range: EUR 25,000 – EUR 250,000
Investor stake :
Fee : n/a
Web : http://www.eva-fund.com
4. Open Capital Fund
Open Capital Advisors is a financial intermediary focused on increasing investment in small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in East Africa. They provide advisory and brokerage services required by SMEs and investors, thereby enabling SMEs to access capital and achieve growth, innovation and social impact
Investment range: USD 200,000 – USD 2,000,000
Investor stake : equity, quasi-equity (i.e. straight debt with revenue participation), or debt financing from a non-bank investor(s)
Fee : generally based on success and charged as a percentage of capital raised and only payable when clients receive financing
Web : http://www.opencapitaladvisors.com
5. Aureos Capital
Aureos is a specialist emerging market private equity firm, providing growth capital and expertise to help build the next generation of sustainable businesses. Returns are maximized and risk mitigated by focusing on earnings growth and operational efficiency..
Investor stake: equity
Web : http://www.aureos.com
GroFin is a multi-national specialist SME finance and development company offering an innovative combination of risk capital and business development assistance to viable enterprises. GroFin is committed to assisting small and medium enterprises (SMEs) achieve sustainable profitability, believing that growth in this sector is vital for socio-economic development in emerging markets. They invest in viable businesses across Africa with a unique combination of money and mentoring assisting entrepreneurs maximise profitability and encourages sustainability and success.
Investment range: USD 50,000 – USD 1,000,000
Investor stake: equity
Funding is one of the critical factors in the development of entrepreneurial and SME enterprises in Africa. J. Skyler Fernandes, Chief Operating Officer of the South African Chamber of Commerce in America (SACCA), joins AfribizTalk to discuss what is happening with a particular segment of SME finance in Africa – that between microfinance and venture capital.
This segment of finance happens to lack a cohesive industry, so it’s known as the “Missing Middle.” The “Missing Middle” includes finance between $20,000 and $3,000,000. Fernandes says that this segment of SME finance is the next wave of innovation after microfinance. In fact, he shares that while a young industry, SME funds have grown 80% in the last few years.
This also has practical applications for both entrepreneurs and investors involved in Africa. As more funds appear on the horizon, access to funding will become more widely available. But what SME funds typically look for are “polished” entrepreneurs, according to Fernandes. “Polished” entrepreneurs are
those who have delivered a proof of concept, implemented operations, and/or proved there is a demand for their products or services. So, we discuss a few tips to help entrepreneurs better position themselves to tap into funding.