You are here
Home > Africa > Africa’s Talking at 12 Interviews | Prof. Bitange Ndemo

Africa’s Talking at 12 Interviews | Prof. Bitange Ndemo

Dr. Bitange Ndemo with the New Normal
  1. It’s been 12 years since AT launched. What are your thoughts on the growth journey? AT has done well in simplifying the telecommunications sector and enabling startups to connect through APIs.
  2. What initially interested you in supporting AT? The idea that Kenyans wanted to exploit emerging technology opportunities. I wanted to start production of the micro computer that you gave me. Instead JKUAT and Multimedia University produced 10,000 desk tops for the Government before tenderpreneurs killed the idea.
  3. What’s on your wishlist for AT in the next 12 years? You started your journey in Web 2.0, You now need to simplify that which needs to be done in Web 3.0. Ordinary people may never understand technological changes and how they can benefit humanity. This is the bridge you must continue to build.
  4. What is your vision for a connected Africa? It brings the continent closer to the expected unity. It also means that a Single Digital Market is possible for African startups to scale across the continent.
  5. 70% of Africa still rides on 2G. Is there still room for growth with 2G given AT APIs are built on this? It is inevitable that the entire continent will be 4G (Rwanda and Kenya are closer to 100% and many other countries are at 40%) within two years and some countries will have 5G. What keeps organizations moving is innovation. By now AT should be playing with all these new technologies to wade off competitors.
  6. What’s your take on developer engagement in Africa? The continent has only 700 thousand developers but needs ten time what it has now. Universities must understand the demand pattern and respond with appropriate supply. This was the subject of my last week’s article. I am involved in trying to get scholarships to scale up training.
  7. How far until we can have a sustainable engine for employment in tech in Africa? We are not too far. We have young people like no other part of the world. We simply need to arm them with the right education. The rest they can take care of.
  8. Have we done enough for the startup ecosystem? No. We are relying heavily on foreign VCs. The Government must set aside funds or develop a bank the equivalent of Small Business Administration to provide funding to startups at pre seed and seed level.
Dr. Bitange Ndemo with South aFrican President Thabo Mbeki
  • 9. Is ICT hand-ons skills sufficient training at all youth education institutions? We need several applied sciences universities and mandate the universities to switch from theory based to skill based training.
  • 10. Do we have funding pipelines for startups and how can the ecosystem generate that AT? See response to question 8. African governments must invest first to make many of the startups attractive to investors. If the idea is good, they will always recover the money.
  • 11. AT has run a start up lab in the last 2-3 years. How can such initiatives be locally supported? You need mentorships and willingness for people to try the product. Entrepreneurship is never taught. It is mostly learnt while doing it.
  • 12. Are we ready for the 4th Industrial revolution as Africa – data driven economies? We need to massively train people in AI and Data Analytics. We are behind. See my article.
  • 13. What can be said about the local data protection laws? They are adequate but we need to test them. They have to be flexible to allow use of data.
  • 14. What motivates you everyday? Hard working people in spite of challenges.

*Dr. Bitange Ndemo is the new Kenyan Ambassador to the Kingdom of Belgium. He will be speaking today, Tuesday, May 31st at the Africa’s Talking HQ, 23 Apple Cross Rd, Lavington, Nairobi on the topic ‘A Connected Africa’, with the subtitle ‘Future of Technology solutions in Africa with Amb. Prof. Bitange Ndemo.

Similar Articles

Leave a Reply