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Africa - Page 5

5 mins read

23 African Startups to Keep an Eye On

African startups are are taking the continent by storm. This new generation of entrepreneurs is not satisfied with sitting back and hoping someone will give them a job or create the goods or services they want and need. They are doing it themselves and the world is taking notice. Last year, African tech startups received over $185M in funding from sources within and outside the continent.

Here are some of the startups to keep an eye on:

African Startups

54artistry is a Nigeria-based company that empowers thousands of creative Africans by leveraging technology to connect creatives to paying clients (vice-versa).

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Eat.gm gives you an authentic local Gambia Experience by connecting you to local Gambian families that will cook for you and host you for home-cooked food.

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Paystack helps Nigerian businesses accept payments via credit card, debit card, money transfer and mobile money on their websites or mobile apps.

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NerveFlo , a Nigerian startup, allows digital content creators to rapidly distribute their work to the ever-growing African market. Here you can find anything from short films to music to comics, lectures and e-books.

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RoundBob is an online travel agency created in Uganda to provide varied travel content built across key demanded  areas such as sports, health, leisure and education.

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Abacus is a Kenyan startup that builds web and mobile software to help investors across the globe access African financial markets.

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Hotels.ng is the largest online hotel booking agency in Nigeria, with over 7000 hotels registered on their platform.

Screen Shot 2016-06-27 at 10.22.24 PMogaVenue.com.ng” solves the problem of venue booking: by aggregating variety of event venues, making it easy to search, check availability and book venues for weddings, meetings and other events online.Screen Shot 2016-06-27 at 10.33.07 PM

Farms.ng helps Nigerian farmers get a good price for their produce and, at the same time, to allow buyers get fresh produce from the farmers.

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Codulab is a talent matching platform from Nigeria that connects projects to talent and expertise. Their aim is to facilitate a smooth working process, while ensuring great creative output.

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RecycloBekia is an electronic waste recycling company based in Egypt and serving the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.

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MeQasa is one of Ghana’s leading online real estate classifieds businesses. It provides a free service that helps property seekers, brokers and landlords conduct business efficiently online.

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MedRX app was created in Ghana. It connects users to health personnel from various fields of practice including hospital, pharmacy, laboratory and academia.

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CaringHand is a Ghanaian company that provides health and non health homecare services for the elderly and patients with immediate needs.

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Coliba is a waste recycle company that began in Côte d’Ivoire. It was built with the purpose of solving African waste and sanitation challenges as well as providing employment and an alternative source of income for waste collectors.

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Talking Bookz is a publisher and an online retailer of audiobooks that allows its customers to download books in digital format for use on their laptops and portable devices with focus on unique African content and other international bestsellers.

Video Moja is an online platform where you can watch your favorite Nollywood movies for free and also stay updated on the new and latest releases.

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DIYlaw.ng makes the registration processes and legal services more efficient and available to entrepreneurs seeking to do business in Nigeria.

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Kiro’o Games, also known as Kiro’o Studios, is a Cameroonian video game, animation, development and publishing company.

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Slatecube is a Nigerian startup that helps job seekers develop industry-relevant skills, gain work experience, and land well paying jobs through world-class up-skilling courses and virtual internships.

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Flippy campus out of Ghana, puts your entire campus experience in your pocket. The app allows users to connect with friends on campus as well as friends in other schools.

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Gamsole is a Nigerian mobile game production company. Their goal is to “make games that are fun to play; plain and simple.”

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Kadi Energy of Ghana is the producer of the Kadi Mobile Charger, a portable, solar-powered charger designed to deliver reliable and affordable access to energy.

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Tony Oluwatoyin Lawson

1 min read

Black Owned Businesses in Paris You Should Know

We’re back at it with another guide to shopping Black in the Diaspora. This time, we’re highlighting Black owned businesses in Paris.  Let’s show some love to our brothers and sisters in the “City of Light”.

Black Owned Businesses in Paris

Café Dapper by Chef Loïc Dablé  is located a stone’s throw from Champs Elysées. The restaurant Café Dapper Loïc Dablé is set in Dapper Museum, a place dedicated to Sub-Saharan Africa, the Caribbean, and its diasporas. black owned businesses in paris

FASHION

Natasha Baco

black owned businesses in paris

Sakina M’sa

black owned businesses in paris

Adama Paris

black owned businesses in paris

BaZara’pagne

black owned businesses in paris

Nefer 

black owned businesses in parisHOME DECOR

Myriam Maxo tells a story through fabrics with abstract patterns and wax that provide a touch of fantasy with contemporary design.

black owned businesses in paris

TRAVEL

Visiter L’Afrique or “Visiting Africa” ​​is an interactive digital platform dedicated to tourism and culture on the African continent.

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Présence Africaine is a pan-African quarterly cultural, political, and literary magazine, founded by Seneglese-born Alioune Diop in 1947.

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 ART

Alexis Peskine is a Parisian resident who is renowned for his work on race and identity issues in France.

black owned businesses in paris

 


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5 mins read

Black Owned Ethical Fashion Brands from Across the Globe

A growing number of consumers worldwide are becoming more conscious of which businesses they spend their money with.

Whether it’s with a Black owned business, an eco-friendly business or a business that creates jobs in developing countries, consumers want to create positive change by supporting brands that know how to “act right”.

This practice is commonly referred to as conscious consumerism, social consumerism or ethical consumerism.

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Ninety percent of U.S. consumers say they would switch brands to one associated with a cause, given comparable price and quality.

Forty-two percent of North American consumers reported they would pay extra for products and services from companies committed to positive social and environmental impact.

One third of U.K. consumers claim to be very concerned about issues regarding the origin of products.

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One organization that is committed to the creation of jobs, ethical products, and profits is The Ethical Fashion Initiative. Through their network, fashion brands can manufacture ethical fashion items produced by some of the most talented artisans in the world.

According to the EEFI, “Artisans are the key to a fashion industry that has ethics and aesthetics. Sweatshops and workers trapped in an endless cycle of creating cheap fast-fashion is not true fashion.”

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Artisans

“If you’re looking for innovative ways to help developing countries flourish, artisans are a terrific place to begin,” stated U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.

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Although the artisan industry is not recognized as a major influencer on economic growth, artisan activity is the second largest employer in the developing world, only behind agriculture.

Globally, artisan production is a $34 billion industry. Even during the 2008 economic crisis, when most markets fell, the demand for artisan crafts continued to grow.

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Supporting these craftsmen and craftswomen is a proven way to create employment opportunities and pull families out of poverty.

Our support also provides them with the means to educate and feed their children. It can revive entire communities by stabilizing local economies.

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There are several Black owned businesses that use artisans to create dope products. Here are a few that are based across East Africa, West Africa, the U.S. and the U.K.

Black owned ethical fashion brands

Brother Vellies is based in Brooklyn. Aurora James created the brand with the goal of creating artisanal jobs within Africa while introducing the rest of the world to her favorite traditional African footwear.

Black owned ethical fashion brands

Sole rebels was created by Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu. This is a sustainable footwear company that offers ethical, eco-friendly & vegan shoes handcrafted by Ethiopian artisans.

Black owned ethical fashion brands

FOMI was created by Afomia Tesfayeo. They offer handbags and shoes that are handcrafted in Ethiopia.

Black owned ethical fashion brands

A A K S is a Ghana and U.K. based brand created by Akosua Afriyie-Kumi. The pieces incorporate the use of raffia and leather to create bags hand crafted by the best artisanal local weavers in Ghana.

Black owned ethical fashion brands

Coins were used as jewelry in ancient times. They were passed from generation to generation as a special memory from loved ones. The Coins Shop is a family owned business in Zanzibar, Tanzania.

Black owned ethical fashion brands

Sindiso Khumalo founded her fashion label with a  focus on creating modern sustainable textiles.  Sustainability, craft and empowerment lie at the heart of the label.

Black owned ethical fashion brands

 

Alaffia’s goal is to alleviate poverty and encourage gender equality. Their Empowerment Projects include several Education-Based Projects, Maternal Health, Eyeglasses and Reforestation.

Black owned ethical fashion brands

Lemlem offers hand-woven cotton scarves, women’s clothing and children’s dresses made by traditional artisans in Ethiopia.

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Kenya-based Adèle Dejak creates handmade luxury fashion accessories for the modern woman.

Adèle’s collection expresses her appreciation for African-made fabrics and a dedication to using recycled materials including rice and cement sacks, brass, and glass.

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There you have it. 10 Black Owned Ethical Fashion Brands. Get your Shoppe on!

 

-Tony Oluwatoyin Lawson (IG @thebusyafrican)

7 mins read

What Africa Needs: Trade Not Aid

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“Trade Not Aid” is a popular phrase used by proponents of the idea that instead of giving ‘free money’ to Africa to fight poverty and hunger, donors should support job and business creation through foreign direct investment. Don’t get me wrong, not all aid is bad. I am not referring to emergency aid given in situations like a natural disaster.

Nor am I referring to donations given to help a child go to school or clothe an orphan. My sister actually runs an NGO, Change A Life Africa (www.changealifeafrica.org) whose focus is providing disadvantaged children with a quality education. While some NGOS are also guilty of exploitation themselves, I have seen the difference such organizations can make and applaud and support their efforts.

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The type  of aid I am referring to is government to government aid. It’s time we recognize that this type of assistance is not only the least effective in terms of poverty reduction but is also destructive. It is stunting the growth of an African middle class that is needed to spur economic growth. Zambian-born economist and author of the best seller, Dead Aid, Damiso Moyo states that “Over the past 60 years at least $1 trillion of development-related aid has been transferred from rich countries to Africa.

Yet, real per-capita income today is lower than it was in the 1970s, and more than 50% of the population live on less than a dollar a day, a figure that has nearly doubled in two decades.”  If this economic development model is CLEARLY not working, why is it still being imposed? Why is it being used in Africa only?

China moved 300 million people out of poverty in 30 yrs. India has approximately 300 million people in its middle class. They did not achieve this by relying on aid to the extent that the entire continent of Africa does today and has for the past half century plus.

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A serious issue is that African governments are now relying on this aid  as a source of income like a welfare recipient waiting on their monthly check, instead of looking for alternative means of revenue generation. Some say that aid promotes government corruption because the funds are just moved to private accounts abroad.

I’m certain that this happens a lot of the time. However, that is not the only issue. Even where there is no corruption involved, you have a situation where African governments are relying on western countries to provide their people with goods and services that they should be providing e.g. education, healthcare, infrastructure etc.

Who will respect a leader that does not care for his own people? That’s partially the reason why many African ‘leaders’ get zero respect in the global community. They are perceived as beggars. They are sitting on priceless natural resources that can be traded, begging for money from countries that are in actuality, broke themselves. But I digress…

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Another issue is that aid does not create a meaningful amount of jobs or opportunities to start and grow a business in Africa. Aid also comes in the form of goods donated. Why not invest in local producers of these goods or invest in a manufacturing plant to produce the goods that are currently being shipped to Africa?

This is a sure way to spur job creation and invest in a local business instead of flooding the market of charity goods that will put local producers out of business. There is no way to reduce poverty if there are no jobs or means for individuals to pursue entrepreneurial endeavors as a means to increase their income and start to create wealth for themselves.

Therefore, if there is no middle class to drive the economy you are left with a situation similar to that in Nigeria where there exists the extremely wealthy and extremely poor with a few middle class citizens sprinkled in the middle. I’m sure you can see how this would also lead increased crime, whether it’s the latest 419 scheme or good old fashioned armed robbery.

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The good news is that in recent years due to the slowed economic growth in Western countries, the amount given in aid is now gradually reducing. Now, more than ever, the focus has turned to Africa, not just as a poor desperate continent in need of help, but as a place where Western and Eastern countries need to do business in order to not only stay competitive in the global marketplace, but to survive.

This in addition to business friendly policies that have been implemented in several African countries  have led to economic growth in different regions of the continent over the last few years.

Trade Not Aid

The aforementioned to me is proof that we do not need handouts. What we do need, however, is to be taken seriously as players in the global trade market. We have the resources, we have the talent and we have the potential. What we need to do now is phase out aid and increase the amount of trade deals and investments that help move the Continent in the right direction.

– Tony Oluwatoyin Lawson

1 min read

Nigerian Billionaire, Tony Elumelu announces the 2nd Round of his $100m Entrepreneurship Programme

Last year, Tony Elumelu, a philanthropist and one of Africa's most successful businessmen, announced the creation of the Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Programme (TEEP) for emerging African entrepreneurs. The goal of the program is to help up to 10,000 African entrepreneurs develop their ideas into sustainable businesses.   In 2015, TEEP empowered 1,000 African entrepreneurs, selected from over 20,000 applicants, with start-up investment, active mentoring, business training, an entrepreneurship boot camp and regional networking across Africa. The foundation invested a total of $4,860,000, including $1,405,000 in agriculture; $410,000 in education and training; and $365,000 in manufacturing.  The program funded start-ups across

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