Forget old Hollywood stereotypes about Africa. Africa is a land of opportunity, of entrepreneurs that are taking chances and finding ways to help Africa grow. The entrepreneurial spirit here is intoxicating and you can feel the energy. Although this is a very incomplete list which may change as the weekend unfolds these in my opinion the five most interesting new businesses in Africa.

1. Konga, launched in 2012, is an on-line shopping service in Nigeria. Konga plans to expand into other African nations this year. Its aim is not to become just an on-line shopping mall — although it already is quite successful at that — but to enable other businesses to do their own e-commerce. More than 10,000 traders have already registered on their website and Konga’s revenue grew 450% from 2013 to 2014.

2. iROKOtv calls itself “the world’s largest distributor of African content.” iROKOtv buys the licenses to “Nollywood” movies (Nigerian Hollywood) and creates its revenue through advertising and subscriptions. It provides Africans living abroad or at home a chance to watch “Nollywood” movies, “Bollywood” films, (Bombay Hollywood), Korean soap operas, and Mexican telenovelas. It has subscribers in 172 countries, only 11% of whom live in Africa. iROKOtv’s subscriptions in Africa grew 457% in 2014; the company is expected to keep growing.

3. M-KOPA is a Kenyan company that makes solar power affordable, and it does so more safely and less expensively than traditional kerosene lamps. Customers can anticipate saving a year’s income within three years of using M-KOPA solar power tools. Furthermore, the M-KOPA devices can also charge cell phones and radios.

4. Kopo Kopo is a Kenyan payment company. Kopo Kopo has over 10,000 merchants who use it to make, accept, and track electronic payments. In Kenya,70 % of the people and 30% of the GDP is on a digital system called M-Pesa, which had no easy way for merchants to accept payments through. Kopo Kopo provides easier access for merchants and intends to increase and expand in Kenya and neighboring countries.

5. Karibu Solar Power in Tanzania has designed and manufactured a solar “business in a box.” Customers buy a solar power kit, and then sell recharges of power to their own customers, all cheaper and safer than kerosene.

There are dozens of businesses in Africa worth investing in, but these are five of the most promising.

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Published on: Jul 24, 2015
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