Connecting Africa is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 3099067.

Emerging Tech

Connecting Africa Podcast: S3 Ep. 1 Trending topics in 2024

Article Image
The Connecting Africa Podcast is back for season three.

Hosts Tobi Lafinhan, Paula Gilbert and Matshepo Sehloho are delving into more African tech topics and speaking to key figures adding to the continent's digital revolution.

On the first podcast of the season, the team got back together to discuss some of the interesting trends that have caught our eye and some of the startups and companies making their mark in key industries.

Social commerce

First up, we talk about the rise of social commerce companies that are selling products through social media and how tech startups are developing tools to help social commerce players grow their businesses.

We discussed startups like Tushop, which allows group-buying of grocery orders within communities, in Kenya and Brimore, which connects emerging brands with a network of individual distributors, in Egypt.

We also look into Nigeria's Bumpa, which helps businesses build their websites, issue invoices, record sales, receive financial reports and manage all business operations via an app; and Kenyan startup Marketforce, which has built a business-to-business (B2B) commerce and fintech marketplace for informal merchants.

Artificial intelligence

The next discussion topic was around artificial intelligence (AI) and the world's current obsession with it, with a number of African startups working with AI for very different applications.

AI is changing how companies do business – from South African digital identity startup iiDENTIFii's AI-powered face authentication technology, to South African business-focused AI chatbot solution GotBot and Kenya's AIfluence, which uses advanced algorithms to identify micro and nano influencers on social media and match them with companies looking for influencer marketing.

Smartphone affordability

Another important discussion was about smartphone affordability and the rising trend of solutions and startups that are working to make devices more affordable to bring more Africans online.

There have been a number of smartphone financing programs from telcos like MTN, Airtel and Safaricom and a surge in buy now, pay later (BNPL) startups, which allow consumers to purchase smartphones via a deferred payment plan.

We talk about some BNPL companies like Nigerian Zilla, Kenyan Lipa Later and South African platforms Payflex and PayJustNow, which offer digital lay-bys for gadgets, as well as Kenya-based Badili, which sells pre-owned smartphones.

There has been a rise in BNPL startups, which are helping more Africans own smartphones and other tech gadgets via deferred payment plans.   (Source: on Freepik)
There has been a rise in BNPL startups, which are helping more Africans own smartphones and other tech gadgets via deferred payment plans.
(Source: on Freepik)

There are also companies – like Lagos-based Intelligra, which offers a mobile financing solution that integrates with device manufacturers, banks and mobile network operators; and KaiOS, creator of a "smart feature phone" mobile operating system – that are helping solve device affordability issues in Africa.

Climate tech

Next, we dive into the murky waters of climate tech and share our confusion over what exactly classifies a company as climate tech.

We discuss the rise in funding for "planet positive" startups and how this trend is pushing startups to classify themselves in this space.

Climate tech often refers to companies that are working in agritech, like Cameroon's Agrix Tech, or green energy, like Tanzania's Waga and Ghana's Easy Solar, but it is also hard to define.

The hosts agree that focusing on climate-improving solutions is important for the world in general, but also question whether this space is really designed for startups.

We also ponder the criteria used for startups from major accelerator funds like Catalyst Fund, which has a climate resilience portfolio including insurance companies and emergency medical services alongside agritech and recycling businesses.

Want to find more Connecting Africa Podcasts check out our Podcast Archive here.

Coming up in season three of the podcast, we will speak to more startup founders and interesting personalities in Africa's tech ecosystem so stay tuned for new episodes dropping soon.

If you want to catch up on all the previous episodes, you can find the podcast on Apple Podcasts; Spotify; Google Podcasts; or find other podcast platform options on our main page on Spotify for Podcasters.

You can also find the podcast hosts online here:

Paula Gilbert (@paulajgilbert)

Tobi Lafinhan (@TobiLafinhan)

Matshepo Sehloho (@tsokamatshepo)

Related posts:

Paula Gilbert, Editor, Connecting Africa

Innovation hub


Four agritech startups to watch in 2024

Connecting Africa has compiled a list of four agritech startups that are making a difference in the communities they serve.


Paymentology looks to strengthen its African roots

Global issuer-processor Paymentology's CEO Jeff Parker spoke to Connecting Africa about the company's African roots and aspirations to work with more banks, fintechs and enterprises both on the continent and globally.

More Innovation hub

Latest video

More videos

Partner perspectives

All Partner Perspectives

Sponsored video

More videos

Industry announcements

More Industry announcements

Upcoming events

Africa Tech Festival 2024
November 11-14, 2024
Cape Town, South Africa
More Upcoming events

Africa Tech Perspectives


Uber's Marjorie Saint-Lot on inclusion and sustainability in Africa

Uber's Country Manager for Ghana and Cote d'Ivoire, Marjorie Saint-Lot, shares how the ride-hailing company is approaching public-private partnerships, environmentally friendly initiatives and gender inclusion in Africa.


The 100 most influential African leaders in 2023

A new report from Africa Tech Festival and Connecting Africa puts a spotlight on the top 100 African leaders in the telecoms and technology sector in 2023.


Deep dive into East Africa's tech startup ecosystem

New survey reveals a lack of access to investors, reliance on international VCs and global recession trends as the biggest barriers for East African tech startups to access funds.

More Africa Tech perspectives

Guest Perspectives


Omdia View: February 2024

By Omdia Analysts

Highlights in February 2024 in the Middle East and Africa included 5G launches in Senegal and 5G trials in Egypt as well as Kenya's first 5G MVNO. Airtel also launched a new wholesale connectivity business while MTN and Huawei are planning a joint Innovation Technology Lab in South Africa – that and more in this month's Omdia View.


Omdia View: January 2024

By Omdia Analysts

Highlights in January 2024 in the Middle East and Africa included a $200 million fintech deal between MTN and Mastercard as well as 5G network trials by Telecom Egypt – that and more in this month's Omdia View.

More Guest Perspectives

Like us on Facebook

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign Up
Tag id test-002