This article provides an overview of the AI landscape in Tanzania as well as captures lessons learned from the IdeaLab project carried in Tanzania by AI Commons, Sahara Ventures, and Tanzania AI Lab through the support of The Botnar Foundation.

Background

Last quarter of 2020 when we were working on the report Articifical Intelligence in Tanzania, What’s Happening the second edition, we learned a lot about the potential of AI in developing economies. Beyond academic publications and lab works already we are seeing the technology being adopted across multiple sectors to address complex issues.

Education and Machines Operations

From startups such as Mtabe App and Shule Direct through their product Ticha-Kidevu are using AI in EduTech solutions, to companies such as Mantrac who uses Artificial Intelligence to slash fatigue events and downtime on a mine site in North Mara Tanzania. AI in Tanzania is not “future technology”, it is already being used and adopted across multiple sectors. …


The blue economy has the potential to completely transform Zanzibar’s economy if strategically adopted by the country. Beyond the few sectors that have been identified by the government and key stakeholders in the blue economy ecosystem, there are other areas of huge potential.

Blue Economy

Blue Economy relates to how humans use the ocean, especially in the context of the economic benefit derived from it. The adoption and usage of the ocean for economics is termed as the Blue Economy. …


At the beginning of the year, we were planning to celebrate 5 years of Sahara Ventures with a blast. Most of the startups die in their first few years of operation. We are grateful we are still breathing. If there is such a thing as a “valley of death” in building startups then our valley of death was this year. We came out to the other side of the crisis heavily wounded and we are still recovering. One thing for sure we have learned a lot. We are ready to match forward stronger than never before. We have learned to cut-down waste, to stay focus, to dream big, and to capitalize on technology in everything that we do. COVID19 crisis accelerated some of the issues which were on our to-do list and we were taking them for granted. …


This article is a reflection of the work Sahara Ventures and GAIN Alliance Tanzania are implementing currently. Global Alliance For Improved Nutrition (GAIN) Tanzania and Sahara Ventures are working together to support nutrition-sensitive SMEs in the country to attain technical and investor-readiness support through the Lishe Accelerator Program, a Nutrition-Sensitive SMEs Accelerator program.

It is almost three years now since GAIN Alliance Tanzania started to work with Sahara Ventures to support nutrition-sensitive SMEs in the country. Two circles of accelerator programs have been implemented supporting 20 SMEs to attain investor-readiness status. Throughout the program, the partnership has engaged more than 50 nutrition-sensitive SMEs through outreach support programs and co-creation sessions. Some of the SMEs that benefited from the program include; Mkuza Chicks, East Africa Fruits, AFCO Investment, Organic Food Associates (OFA).


Part of the CENIT@EA program at the Nelson Mandela African Institution of Science and Technology, Sahara Ventures conducted a week-long program on Innovation Promotion at NMAIST to introduce 20 key staff on issues related to in-campus innovation promotion. This article is the reflection and lessons learned from the program.

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This article is a recap of the Fintechs and Banks session that happened during Sahara Sparks 2020 themed Africa Beyond 2020. The session was organized by Sahara Ventures and Tembo Plus, a fintech startup.

There are more than 400 fintech firms across Africa according to the data and insights company Weetracker. The startups offer a range of services enabling payments, funds transfer, wealth management, lending, etc. The potential of fintech is seen across the continents with Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa taking the leading seat. …


Reflection from the stakeholder's meetup during Sahara Sparks 2020 themed Africa Beyond 2020. The meetup was hosted by Sahara Ventures, Kampala International University (KIU), and Tumaini University Dar es Salaam College (TUDARCo).

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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. I got a chance to talk with Dr. Mshinda former Director-General of The Commission for Science and Technology Tanzania, known for his amazing work at both the Commission and Ifakara Health Institute — fighting against Malaria. He is retired now — spending most of his time doing consulting works and mentoring youths. …


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. …

About

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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