MANOBI WANTS TO OPEN SOUTH AFRICAN OPERATION FOR RURAL SERVICES
When it comes to mobile and Internet solutions, too much time is spent trying to adapt European models to Africa, when what is needed is a cost-effective African-designed solution.
This is the view of Daniel Annerose, CEO of Manobi, a Senegalese company that is now working on setting up a South African division, which he hopes to have up and running by the end of the year, and which will focus mostly on the SADC region and in doing so help it to drive its services through Africa.
“In Senegal, Manobi offers services such as market and trading information for farmers, supply chain management services and credit information,” says Annerose, one of the nominees in the forthcoming African ICT Achievers Awards.
“We have also developed a rescue system for fishermen, using GSM and satellite tracking, which can cover areas up to 70km out to sea, and are working on providing simple financial services such as account balances by SMS.”
He says there is a lot of potential for services such as the rescue system, the market information for farmers and the financial facilities, as well as for services in the areas of education and business in the South African market.
“Manobi wants to bring to SA its technology, its experience and its understanding of our customers and their needs – we do not expect them to adapt to us.”
Annerose says several European countries have already expressed an interest in the company's technology, but despite this, Africa remains its focus.
“Our biggest market is still in Africa, as we have a deep understanding of the market and have technology specifically developed for this arena,” he says.
“Nonetheless, we would be very proud if we were able to spin a strong European service out of our African market, and perhaps by taking an African service into the developed world, we may just help to change their image of the so-called Third World.”