Africa’s Umuntu Gets $1 Million To Build Web And Mobile Portals

Of all the markets, Africa is perhaps talked about least in a digital media context. Now Umuntu Media, which operates the iNamibia and iZambia portals, is taking on funding to replicate them in nine more countries.

The group says the $1 million first round, from Netherlands’ eVentures Africa Fund, “will also be partly used to build a mobile communications platform that caters for Africa’s needs”.

Umuntu has writing staff and takes citizen journalism in localities in Namibia and Zambia. The other portals are planned in Angola, Mozambique, Botswana and Zimbabwe.

CEO Johann Nel: “We want to be the one stop content and information shop for our readers. So far we’ve established a news and entertainment section, offer the largest database of accommodation establishments in Namibia and Zambia, showcase the latest music and events and have integrated a property and job board.”

eVA Fund’s Brian Hirman: “Quality local content is still a gap in the market in Africa. It is a massive challenge, but we have the vision, we have the team and we have the guts to make this happen.”

eVentures’ portfolio also includes mobile payment and marketing startups.

Internet penetration is at 11 percent across Africa – up from four million to 118 million since 2000 – while mobile broadband subscriptions are forecast to grow from 12 million today to 265 million in 2015, according to Umuntu…

Umuntu’s Africa digital stats

  • “The 80 US$ IDEOS Android smartphone has found its way into the hands of 350,000+ Kenyans, an impressive sales number in a country where 40% of the population lives on less than two dollars a day.”
  • 15 minutes internet browsing via your mobile or buy bread. That is the general rule and this is fundamental to never forget in content strategies. Yes, prices are dropping and cables are arriving, but this constant decision will play a role in the majority of our continent’s consumers for many years to come.”
  • “Local content still stays one of the biggest challenges across Africa. There is only one registered domain per 10 000 connections (not even taking mobile connections into considerations) this number in the developed world is 94 per 10 000.”