In this communications-themed episode, we trace the roots of Africa’s Communications Revolution to learn how two game-changing technologies – mobile calling and the internet – have changed the lives of millions of people across sub-Saharan Africa.

Russell Southwood is the author of a book recently published by the Manchester University Press titled Africa. 2.0: Inside a continent’s communications revolution. Russell’s book critically examines the impact these technologies have had on development practices and the role development actors have played in accelerating regulatory reform, fibre roll-out, and mobile money.

What to look forward to in this episode:

  • What has been most surprising about growth or lack of growth in the African startup landscape/sector? [04:25]
  • What are some of the data points or anecdotes that founders could look into when trying to introduce innovation from a behavioural perspective regarding adoption? [08:10]
  • Do you think enough people are working on the enabling infrastructure, or do more people need to think about that and not the sexy user interface or app? Do you think the incumbents need to be more proactive in opening up distribution channels? [10:03]
  • The lines are often blurred between ambition and reality, especially in SSA. At what point does successful storytelling become counterproductive? [13:07]
  • How do you think about the distinction between small businesses / SMEs and tech start-ups, and what should we be doing more (or less) to articulate the difference better? [15:03]
  • Do you think we need to see more consolidation or inorganic growth, or should we be creating platforms for more people to challenge the status quo in a decentralised way? [17:13]
  • What role has consumer behaviour and culture shift played in driving or influencing that change? [25:42]


Tell us...

  • What was your favourite quote or lesson from this episode?
  • What topic would you like for us to feature on a future podcast?

Let us know via the hashtag: #AfricanPreseedPodcast