We went to the South by Southwest festival recently. Here are a few of our observations:
Scoot, Scoot! They were everywhere! But where are scooters in Africa? Bird, a startup created by former Uber execs that littered the sidewalks of SXSW, is looking at deploying scooters throughout Africa, the Middle East and Europe. Estonian Taxify, a leading app-based taxi-hailing platform across Africa, projects a ten-fold growth of their African business over the next two years. The group launched a new brand of e-scooters in Paris, Bolt, last November. Though they haven’t indicated as yet whether this announcement forecasts an African launch, such an introduction looks ripe for Nairobi residents who have taken to Taxify’s boda boda motorcycle hailing service.
Hashtag There were a lot of weed talks at SXSW and a whole track on opportunities across “cannabusiness”. There is a play for Africa here. Lesotho, South Africa and Ethiopia are looking at the industry from an export market perspective. The cannabis expo held in Pretoria in December highlighted the potential of the business across SSA, despite the lengthy licensing process for cultivation and sale. Lesotho has started issuing permits to grow and export medical marijuana, and Malawi and Zimbabwe appear to be moving in the same direction.
Upcoming Events The World Bank Spring Meetings are coming up in DC the first week of April. Their participant directory and schedule are now available. Along the fringes of the meetings, there will be a number of side events of interest to Africa business such as the US Nigeria Council bi-annual dinner or the Africa Fintech Summit on April 11.
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