Africa is Ready for Business

My name is Benin Mwangi. I blog about entrepreneurship in Africa and I follow closely many other blogs covering African business in the blogosphere. This is my first Global Voices post and what I hope to do now and in the future is to help shed some light on Africa's business climate by covering Africa's business blogs. So please enjoy!

One of the business bloggers that I follow is Harry Karanja. He is a business blogger from Kenya whose posts I have really grown to enjoy over the past few weeks. His blog Startups in Kenya focuses on the topic of entrepreneurship in Kenya, East Africa. Now, Kenya has quite a number of strong business blogs and several of them specifically address entrepreneurship. However, what I find so unique about Mr. Karanja's blog is that the majority of his posts all seem to be inspired by his own personal experiences as an entrepreneur in Kenya.

For example, take his post titled “Internet In the Village.” This post actually seems to be part of a larger installment series. In this post, he writes about his triumphs and defeats while helping Kenya's rural areas become “wired” via his internet start-up company. But don't take my word for it, you've really got to read this one for yourself!

He writes:

…When launching the cyber cafe, I took it as my task to ensure that I was setting up a viable business and not a white elephant. The main fixed recurrent costs for a cyber were going to be rent and wages, while variable recurrent costs would be internet, electricity, and stationery. It was imperative that the cyber comfortably break even from the first month.

After doing the arithmetics with the proprietor we decided to initially price browsing at K.Shs. 3 per minute although our calculations showed we could do K.Shs. 1.50 if we had enough clients. Once we decided on the price, it was easy to calculate how many minutes of browsing we would need to sell in the first month to break even. With the calculations I was able to draw up the first objective of the business, to sell “X” number of minutes of browsing per month.

With the objective drawn out clearly, the business gained perspective. The interesting part was how to sell the required number of minutes. One advantage of an entrepreneur is the ability to adapt quickly, and in order to fully maximize this advantage the entrepreneur must always listen to what her client's are saying. When we opened the cyber cafe, it took the standard setup of other cyber cafes, but then we started listening…

Let me give you a brief overview of African business blogs that I will be writing about:

Timbuktu Chronicles is written by Nigerian-born entrepreneur Emeka Okafor, not to be confused with the NBA basketball player named Emeka Okafor. His posts are about entrepreneurship in Africa with a practical and self sustaining theme.

Money Talk is a blog by Tosin. She is a Nigerian-born graduate student studying engineering at the California Institute of Technology. It's a good place to share ideas and on matters such as money, career, business, and economic development. Besides that this blog also has some useful ideas about investing in African businesses.

Kenyan Entrepreneur is a great blog which focuses on entrepreneurial pursuits, in general, as they pertain to Kenya. Although the blogger here does not disclose his or her identity, I find myself addicted to the blogger's strong sense of humor.

Annansi Chronicles is a blog written by Mr. Annan from Ghana. That would be Mr. J. Kofi Annan, who bears no relation to the former UN Secretary-General, Koffi Annan. His blog focuses on business in Africa, but with a unique twist. He covers African business from the fashion, glamour, and entertainment angles.

Odegle Nyang Investments written by a Kenyan entrepreneur named Odegle, who is very knowledgeable about the Kenyan Stock Market. The bulk of his posts talk about Kenya's banking or stock market news, but sometimes he writes about more general business topics in Kenya, as well as other African countries.

Investing In Africa is maintained by two bloggers, Ryan Shen-Hoover and Coldtusker. I like this blog because of the contrasts between the two contributors. Ryan Shen-Hoover's posts sound like an article that you might read in your everyday business newspaper across the globe, his stories span nearly all of Africa's stock markets. Contrast that style and delivery with Coldtusker's who blogs about financial news in Kenya and writes with a more “take it or leave it” and “in your face” approach.

The Entrepreneur is published by the Cameroonian newspaper called The Entrepreneur. Its mission is to inform and educate its readers and the public with truthful, credible, inspiring and motivating non-partisan information that equips and empowers them to a fulfilling destiny.

Bankele is the leading business blogger from Kenya. He writes about financial and investment matters in Kenya and also posts local job vacancies.

Cherryflava is a South African blog, which covers business and marketing trends in South Africa and elsewhere.

Dave Duarte is also from South Africa. He writes about marketing and considers himself a marketing geek. Dave is one of the two bloggers behind Amplitude, a South African marketing podcast.

The list above is definitely incomplete. In the coming weeks you can expect to read more detailed roundups on some of these African business blogs.

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