All Posts Filed in ‘Africa


Rocket Internet in Africa

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Rocket Internet is preparing for the IPO and released its prospectus. Here are some interesting figures on Rocket’s business in Africa.
Funny to think back to October 2011 when Emilian and I started Rocket’s operation in Africa – which is now valued at 500 Million Euros – from one small desk.


- Rocket owns 33% of AIG, which houses all its African operations
- MTN and Milicom are the other 2 shareholders
- AIG lost EUR 24m last year
- AIG has a cash position of EUR 273m

- Its last valuation was EUR 500m
- 72 companies launched in Africa over 2 years, 37 of which in 2014
- 2,100 employees in Africa
- Jumia alone is worth around EUR 200m, did EUR 30m in sales last year, and had 15m unique visitors

- The African eCommerce market is worth EUR 3bn, only 0.4% penetration
- There are 86,000 people per retail outlet in Africa.

Thanks to Zahid Mitha who dug those numbers out.



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Madagascar is not easy tourism. But it’s very rewarding tourism.
We’ve spent 2 weeks on the island and came home full of experiences and learnings.

On immigration you can feel already that you’ve arrived in real Africa. One person takes your passport with immigration card, carefully reviews it, gives it to a person who’s allowed to stamp, who gives your immigration documents to a person who’s allowed to sign and after long investigation you get the signature – welcome to Madagascar!
The trip from the airport to the hotel showed that Antananarivo is one of those cities that takes a while to understand. It’s the type of city that feels very chaotic – foot traffic everywhere, busses pulling over at random places to pick up people, old trucks almost giving up driving 20km an hour and the obvious brand new Range Rover in-between. But after some observations you realise that it is organised chaos. Chaos, that’s not chaos for people having spent every day of their lives in this city.
Strolling through the on-street market expanding from our first Hotel Le Logis showed immediately how poor Madagascar is. I have not seen such poor people ever before – 70% of all citizens on the island live with 1 USD or less a day. Madagascar feels however safe – no-one begged for money or tried to intimidate us even tough we sticked out of the crowd like a sore thumb.

After a day in the capital we drove towards Mantadia, the rain forest. Being someone enjoying individual travel I was first sceptical on hiring a driver through an agency who helped organising the whole trip. But after a few kilometres on the road I knew we made the right decision. The roads are in rather bad shape – we’re not talking potholes but 3 meter craters in the main road. Signage? Forget it. No signs no where.
I can highly recommend Priori – an extremely friendly and helpful agency who’ll make sure that you’ve got exactly the experience on the island you’re looking for. Thank you Pelasoa.
Walking for a few hours through the rain forest was an amazing experience – the fact that it rains every single day of every single year creates an interesting vegetation. The hairy, jumpy animals who appear in all shapes and sizes on the island were for us nice to look at but not main incentive for the trip as it seems to be for so many people. It’s however beautiful to see that the monkeys are just living their normal live – they are not caged in or controlled in any way. If you’re lucky you’ll see a few if not than not.

After 2 days in rain we were looking forward to travel towards the sunny East Coast. Tamatave – the main harbour city – is very busy and the most cosmopolitan city on the island. Everyone hustles and the ships seem to bring some international flair which can be seen in fashion, shops and food on the streets. The roads are dominated by Tuktuks, they form 3 lanes on each side of the road giving the cars just little space, resulting in colourful mayhem on the road. When leaving the city on a Sunday at 05:30 the streets were busy already – our bus was rather basic but the best form of transport to reach Soanierana Ivongo to take a boat. Sitting in the bus, without any network, no language knowledge and no orientation whatsoever triggered a feeling I haven’t had in a long time. A feeling of a beautiful helplessness. That’s how kids must feel when you take them on a nice Sunday trip – they don’t know what what’s going to happen but also won’t ask. Because they know it will be good good times.

Coming closer to the end of the 90 minutes boat ride to Sainte Marie the water started to take those crystal clear blue tones. It was the first sign that we’ve reached a special destination – sitting a few minutes later at the beach enjoying a good glass of wine together with grilled fish felt like being in paradise. The landscape forms those disgustingly magnificent pictures – those ones that Samantha the clerical assistant of the corporate in her grey cubicle used since years as her Windows desktop background.
Hotel Princess Bora is a beautiful place to be – spend at least 3 nights there, better stay 5 or 6 to enjoy life and yourself. I’ve enjoyed my- and ourself very much.

Madagascar is not easy tourism but you’ll leave the island with wonderful memories and stories to tell. It is rewarding indeed.


Which browsers are Africans using?

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Quick answer: also Africans don’t like Internet Explorer.
IE usage is somewhere around 20% only – both Firefox and Chrome are leading the pack.
Data below is Google Analytics values from our properties in Morocco, Egypt and Nigeria – all of them are in the Top 100 Alexa ranking in the respective countries.

In Morocco Google’s Chrome has a whopping 49% percent usage, Firefox comes next with around 30%.

A pretty similar scenario can be seen in Egypt – also here are Firefox and Chrome accounting to almost 80% of all users. Looks like the North Africans don’t like Windows’ built in browser too much.

The Nigerian browser distribution is however different. Firefox is most used browser in the West African country while Internet Explorer and Chrome are each used by every 5th user hitting the page. Interesting is that 10% of the visitors are using Safari – most of them are iOS and not OS X users. “Only” 80% of overall visits come from Windows machines compared to more than 95% in the other countries. Looks like Apple has a good client base in Nigeria with its 160 Million inhabitants.

Above shows not too many surprises on the African browser usage. Browser statistics published monthly by show a decline of Internet Explorer since years while Chrome is becoming more and more popular.


eCommerce – Add to Cart Buttons

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I looked again at the bigger Internet retailers in South Africa. After comparing their social media & search rankings I spent some time researching the different ‘Add to cart’ buttons and surrounding area.

Quick learnings:

  • 6 out of 8 pages are naming the button ‘Add to cart’ while 2 pages call it ‘Add to basket’.
  • 4 pages are making use of orange buttons, other colours in use are black, green, blue and pink.
  • 6 buttons have besides the copy itself an icon for stronger call to action on the button, 2 buttons have only text
  • All pages are offering a ‘add to wishlist’ feature
  • Only 1 page is not using the add to cart area for reiterating USPs or up-selling

But let’s have a more detailed look at the actual buttons:

- product name and picture visible
- all product prices are labeled with ‘Now:’ instead of ‘Price:’

- price is noticeable bigger than the actual button
- stock count

- big button
- ‘free shipping’ USP visible
- offline order call to action

- size selector right next to ‘add to basket’ button
- black & white theme

- USPs visible
- sharing functionality

- unique SKU not product name
- quantity selector

- very colourful
- wishlist and add to cart buttons same size
- sharing functionality

- fairly small button
- up-selling feature