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Tanzanian tech entrepreneurs gradually making their mark

Published on May 05, 2015

“Tanzania is often looked at as the slower brother in the region,” he says. “It is great to have a space where teams can meet and compete, and then take on the region and show perceptions towards Tanzania are outdated. I would put Tanzanian coders against Kenyan coders any day of the week.”

Due to the success of mobile money platform M-Pesa and the proliferation of innovation spaces and tech start-ups, Kenya’s capital Nairobi has been dubbed ‘Silicon Savannah’. Kenyan tech entrepreneurs have attracted the attention of international media, investors and even executives of global IT companies like Google.

With the lens focused on Kenya, Barretto notes neighbours such as Tanzania have suffered the disadvantages of under-exposure. Accessing financing, for instance, is harder with most investors choosing to be based in Nairobi.

“It’s a lot harder for Tanzanian start-ups to secure investments,” he says. “That is one of the largest differences when comparing ecosystems in the region.”

Running a tech start-up in Tanzania is in itself a challenging feat. The connectivity infrastructure is vulnerable to outages, there is insufficient supply of electricity, and regulations hinder the development of start-ups, such as the need to pre-pay taxes.

But it is not all gloom.

“There is opportunity to tap into what is becoming a growing middle class, [and that] is a huge potential for growing companies,” says Barretto. “Consumers are very ready to take on solutions. As long as you show that you are solving a problem or making life more efficient, people are willing to use your service and engage with you.” Read more. Source | How we made it in Africa