The recent visit by President Barack Obama definitely underlined his country’s interest to do business in Africa and has stirred a great conversation.
According to Representative David Cicilline, a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights and International Organizations, these businesses should be backed by technology.
Cicilline used two examples of companies that are making a difference in Africa from the US. “I’m thrilled to see U.S. businesses like Digital Divide Data and eKitabu making investments in Africa that leverage American technology to develop human capital. I am proud that this ongoing work includes a Rhode Island company that is helping to create jobs here in Rhode Island as well as in Africa.”
Digital Divide Data is a company that uses workforce from the unprivileged neighborhoods in Kenya to do data entry.
“DDD opened in Nairobi with the idea that we could employ youth from slum areas to deliver digital services. The reality is that they are more talented than we ever imagined,” Jeremy Hockenstein, CEO said.
eKitabu, also crafted from Digital Divide Data enables publishers to have their content accessed through phones in Africa. The company has attracted investors and this has created jobs in Africa as well as in the US.
“The opportunity in Africa is now and American companies are ready,” said Matthew Utterback, CEO of eKitabu. “Americans are working with Africans as equal partners to build sustainable technology companies. It is time to radically scale up these ventures and we are ready to do that. Growing these business will benefit the US and Africa.”
Both eKitabu and Digital Divide Data use Cisco and Microsoft solutions, which are also American products, to drive business.
“Bringing investment dollars to Africa is important– but investments in people is one of the most critical economic levers for African development.” Ms. Amolo Ng’weno DDD Kenya, said.