Digital Products for the African Market

Ebun Omoni
Feb 28 · 3 min read

I just published a list of digital products targeting people across Africa. You can check out the full, 800+ list on GitHub, including a downloadable CSV.

Inspiration

As a Product Manager, I often think a lot about digital products, the people they serve, the problems they solve, and the decisions made by the people who manage, design, build and market them.

While living in and traveling throughout Subsaharan African, I often wondered which products were specifically made for the people of each country I spent time in and which problems they solved.

Answering this was surprisingly hard. There are great resources that analyze companies in the tech space but finding a simple list of digital products for the African market — one that could be used to answer some of my questions — was a challenge.

So I spent some time in 2020 developing one.

Definition

The definition of a “Product” can be broad so I used this simple criterion to hone in on the ones that would help answer my questions:

  • The product is digital (web app, mobile app)
  • The product specifically targeted users in an African country
  • The product required account creation & login

This definition excluded many companies in the African tech space (including one where I used to work), as well as quite a number of apps in the Google Play and Apple App store that are probably valuable but didn’t require creating or logging into an account. But even still, this resulted in over 800 digital products made for African users in Africa.

Notes on the Format

  • A product/country pair is a unique line. As a result, some products are listed multiple times, since they explicitly target users from different countries
  • Country of origin is included because not all are made in Africa.
  • Each product falls under 1 of 27 categories, for some amount of simplicity. But each category could be split into even more for specificity.

Results

This is not a comprehensive list. There’s no way that I found every company that met my criteria. And even if I did, the moment I stopped collecting them, the list would grow stale since new products are probably launched monthly, weekly, or even daily. But it still served the purposes of my investigation.

Some of the insights were expected:

  • FinTech & Banking dominate the categories.
  • Most products target users of Egypt, Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa
  • Many are a combination of digital and analog. Even though there’s a digital experience, part of the value proposition includes something off-line.

But there were some unexpected insights as well:

  • There’s a growing number of products targeting Central Africa.
  • There was a lot more Health (e.g., Ingress Healthcare), Fitness, and Lifestyle (e.g., Eden) products than I expected.
  • And there are people trying to improve Education with technology in every Region on the continent (e.g., uLesson)

Open-Sourcing this List

This list is open-source. I created it to answer some of my own questions, and suspect it may be useful to others as well. Feel free to use this as you see fit but if you do, I’d love to hear about how you use it!

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