Why Kenya’s ‘Silicon Savannah’ Is Far From Legit


At the Mobile Web East Africa conference in Nairobi, panelists warned Kenyan entrepreneurs that the region still has a long way to go before matching the innovational infrastructure of Silicon Valley. According to The Next Web, Will Mutua, founder of Afrinnovator, also warned against the prevalence of “copycat” companies, especially those based on apps. Other panelists noted that the region should be called “Digital Savannah,” as the region’s startups are largely based on digital solutions as opposed to manufacturing.

Mutua explained that a true business must have a “vision, plan, and strategy,” and cannot solely be based on an iOS or Android app.

Sounds like a lot of trendy NYC and Silicon Valley “businesses” could use similar advice.

The conference comes on the heels of the start of construction for Konza – a new £9.1bn city south of Nairobi which aims to host 200,000 jobs and a new university by 2030. Major tech firms, including IBM and Google, have built their African headquarters in Nairobi, and numerous Kenyan startups – including M-Farm – have seen huge success locally.