Rhapta (Ancient Greek: Ῥάπτα) was a marketplace said to be on the coast of Southeast Africa — Wikipedia. It is also the name of one of the earliest projects to develop a technology city in Dar es Salaam. This was the same time Kenya started to talk about Konza City and the smart cities movement was booming in Africa. …

It’s my sixth year running a company with my core team. I have learned a thing or two about keeping a team together. The most difficult thing about running a business is managing people — you can always pivot a business idea or change your execution strategy — you can’t get it right twice with the team. Many of the startups die not because they lack good ideas but they lack great teams to execute the ideas. So, what have I learned overtime on keeping your cofounder and the core team?

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Photo Courtesy | Shannon Rewies — Unsplash

Control Your Ego

Special appearances, accolades, media mentions, fancy dinners, and punditry opportunities might make you feel you are “the person” and nobody can tell you nothing. It can easily make you forget about your “Sidemen” and the hustle you put in together to build what you have now. There is nothing wrong to be visible, sometimes it’s good for business. As the VCP rule says, you have to be visible to attain credibility, and eventually being able to create leads and generate profit. But what happens when your visibility changes you? It’s like cancer it’s slowly pushing away those who matter and attract new experts in your life. …

Starting my day listening to Daniel Susskind, Author of “A World Without Work”, giving a keynote at The Oxford Martin School — while the fear of technology taking over jobs is widely reflected, my worry is mainly on the influence of technology in political space in Africa. I remain optimistic that technology will create more jobs than the one it will take. It has been that way for years. The question is, what else will it take or create?

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Photo Courtesy | Tobi Oshinnaike — Unsplash

When you have decentralized social movements against the government coordinated by people from across the world you immediately realized Twitter is not just a digital platform it’s a nation. It works well when the agenda is right like what we are seeing with the #EndSARS movement but what happens when the agenda is wrong? How do you control it? Are we ready for this? My main fear is that even those who have created these platforms don’t have control over them. 10 hours ago Instagram apologizes after its algorithm incorrectly flagged posts in support of #EndSARS, Nigeria’s anti-police brutality movement, as false information. …

A few days ago I was honored to be part of the leader's panel to reflect on the digital economy strategy for Tanzania. The sessions were co-organized by the ICT Commission Tanzania and Financial Sector Deepening Trust Tanzania (FSDT) part of the Annual National ICT Conference. It was a great opportunity to discuss this important topic for our nation and I’m glad I was part of the lead conversant.

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The Panel to Discuss Digital Economy in Tanzania.

The Pillars of The Digital Economy

Different organizations have different opinions on what are the pillars of the digital economy but there are things they agree in principle they should be part of any digital economy strategy; digital infrastructure, digital skills or human capital, enabling environment or digital regulations, and enabling technologies or digital platforms. …

The Machine, The People, and The Facts — The Africa AI Story.

We are soon to publish our second report on AI in Tanzania. We did publish one last year — I was in Geneva for the AI for Good Conference giving free copies of the report to different people showcasing what is happening in my country on future tech adoption — some faces looked shocked to hear there is anything happening AI-related in this part of the world.

While the algorithms of YouTube and Netflix are feeding our minds with leisure content for money — Our academic institutions are struggling to prepare us for what is coming. The demon, Cambridge Analytica, they play with the minds of our people to elect political leaders we haven’t selected and pushing us to swallow values which are not of our own. If technology can mess up with the election of the mighty USA who is safe. Are we witnessing the last days of political dominance over technology? …

The Global Innovation Index 2020 report is out. This year's report focuses on innovation financing themed “ Who Will Finance Innovation”. The report is used to produce key insights into local, regional, and global innovation ecosystems, analyzing trends, and providing recommendations. Tanzania is among the countries that have been ranked in the past few years.

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The GII report 2020 comes with a piece of good news to Tanzania’s innovation ecosystem. In the top 3 innovation economies by region, in Sub-Saharan Africa, the country ranks 3rd just behind South Africa/Mauritius (1st) and Kenya (2nd). …

Sahara Accelerator started in 2017 as a Corporate-Sponsored and Venture-Backed Accelerator program looking to support post-revenue businesses in Africa as well as working with corporate companies and international organizations to adopt entrepreneurial solutions to address complex societal problems. The definition and focus of Sahara Accelerator have been evolving over time with respect to lessons we learned from the needs of the entrepreneurs we support and market demands.

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Photo Courtesy | Unsplash — Daria Nepriakhina

The First Two Years

In the first two years of operations, we primarily focused on impact-centered acceleration programs. Some of the notable programs include; Amua Accelerator, Inspire100, e-Kilimo Accelerator, etc. The impact-centered approach of the accelerator program was highly inspired by the work we did with Human Development Innovation Fund (HDIF), Tanzania Bora Initiative (TBI), and Tanzania Medical Students Association (TAMSA) to nurture health-related solutions from medical and allied sciences students in the project called Mawazo Challenge. I can say without a doubt this program completely transform how medical students and doctors engage with the innovation ecosystem. …

Africa countries are making commitments to digitalize and to embrace the digital economy what are the best practices to do it? Quoting Prof. Benno Ndulu during the high-level workshop to reflect on the opportunities for digitalization in Tanzania, the former Governor said, “African countries need to adopt digitalization approach that works for them”. The digitalization process that addresses key issues facing our economies.

For the past two years, Sahara Ventures has been studying what digitalization approaches will work for Africa. We have gone through ideas, frameworks, and designs proposed by the like of the World Bank, World Economic Forum, The Next Einstein Program, Pathways Commission, Africa Telecom Union, etc. …

“The world “Joint-Venture” is missing in your business dictionary that is why most of the youths these days are struggling to build great businesses”. Those were the words of a man who over the years was able to build a successful construction company out of nothing who also appeared to be my mentor and father. It really made me reflect on what’s wrong with our generation. Why strategic partnerships don’t work?

In the past five years of running Sahara Ventures, I have tried to build partnerships that encourage the growth of us and our partners, especially those whom we are at the same growth stage with the abundance mindset. Believing there is a lot of opportunities and room for us to grow together and succeed. Most of the time it doesn’t turn out well. Always our partners are desperate to grab it all and run away or try to replicate what we do and if they fail the turn out to become our enemies. …

There are different tools out there that can help you to map ecosystem players for different reasons. My favorite tools are the ITU Digital Ecosystem Assessment Canvas and Startup Commons Startup Ecosystem Map. I was also recently fascinated to read the article about the innovation ecosystem maturity which shows different aspects of ecosystem growth. All these tools are very helpful for someone who wants to study and understand ecosystems; startup, innovation, and digital ecosystems.

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Team Working on The — Sahara Ventures Innovation Ecosystem Canvas

Some of these tools have been adopted at the national level to help countries plan and strategize for their ecosystems. Smart Rwanda initiative under the Ministry of Youths and ICT of Rwanda adopted the ITU Digital Ecosystem Assessment Canvas to look for gaps and potential areas of improvement in their digital ecosystem. World Bank Tanzania adopted the ecosystem maturity tool to assess the stage of growth of the Dar es Salaam Startup Ecosystem. It might not be the same tool I read in the article I have shared but the context is the same. When we (Sahara Ventures) were mapping the Dar es Salaam Digital Entrepreneurship ecosystem we adopted the Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Diagnostic Toolkit to prepare the Silicon Dar report. …


Jumanne Rajabu Mtambalike

Entrepreneur, TZ Patriot, Loves Tech, Founder saharaventures.com, Project Management Consulting firm, Co-Founded saharasparks.com and Sahara Accelerator.

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