In today’s digital age, access to the Internet is a basic requirement for economic development and social progress. Yet many people in Africa lack an internet connection, preventing the region from creating jobs, reducing poverty and fostering economic growth. According to a World Bank report, more than half of Africa’s population has no internet access, making it the least connected continent in the world. According to the report, only 28% of people in sub-Saharan Africa have access to mobile internet, compared to 82% in Europe and North America. This digital divide has far-reaching implications for economic growth, education and healthcare.
Despite these challenges, a number of African startups are working to expand internet access across the continent. These companies are developing innovative solutions to bridge the digital divide and create a more connected and prosperous Africa. From robust, reliable hardware to hybrid networks and online job placement services, these startups are paving the way for a more inclusive and equitable digital future. Through their innovative solutions, they play a crucial role in creating a more connected Africa. Here are five African startups using technology to solve infrastructure challenges, improve connectivity and expand internet access across the continent.
Based in Kenya, BRCK is a hardware and software company that provides robust, reliable and affordable internet access in areas with limited connectivity. The company’s flagship product is the BRCK modem, a rugged device that withstands harsh environments and provides connectivity even in remote areas. The modem can connect to multiple networks, including Wi-Fi, Ethernet, and cellular, and switch between them to ensure a stable and reliable connection. The company also offers the Moja platform, which provides free Wi-Fi hotspots in public spaces, allowing communities to access the internet for free. BRCK works with local organizations and governments to deploy its products in underserved areas. By working with these stakeholders, BRCK can identify areas that lack connectivity and tailor its solutions to their specific needs.
Tizeti is a Nigerian startup providing affordable and reliable high-speed internet to homes and businesses. The company uses solar-powered base stations and a unique network architecture to offer unlimited data plans at an affordable price. Tizeti’s solar-powered base stations allow the company to provide connectivity in areas that lack reliable electricity supply. By using renewable energy, Tizeti can extend its coverage to rural areas without relying on traditional infrastructure. The company’s unlimited data plans are affordable and accessible, making them an attractive option for people who may not have access to traditional broadband services.
Wazi is a Tanzanian startup aiming to connect rural communities to the internet via a hybrid network of satellite and terrestrial connections. The company’s solution is designed to be scalable, affordable and easy to implement, making it an ideal solution for underserved communities. Wazi’s hybrid network of satellite and terrestrial connections enables the company to provide connectivity in areas lacking traditional infrastructure. The company works with local organizations and governments to deploy its solutions in underserved areas. By working with these stakeholders, Wazi can identify areas that need connectivity the most and tailor its solutions to their specific needs.
BeneFactors Ltd is a Ghana-based startup providing companies with innovative financing solutions to increase access to high-speed internet services in Ghana. The company’s platform gives businesses access to flexible and affordable financing options to upgrade their internet infrastructure, purchase new devices and access connectivity services from reputable internet service providers. By providing access to finance, BeneFactors Ltd bridges the funding gap for businesses, giving them access to high-speed internet services to improve their operations, increase productivity and enhance their digital skills.
While not a traditional internet connectivity provider, Zipline is a Rwandan startup that uses drones to deliver medical supplies to remote communities. The company’s drones rely on a sophisticated network of sensors and satellite connections to ensure reliable and fast delivery even in challenging environments. In addition, these drones enable medical supplies to be delivered quickly and efficiently, demonstrating the technology’s potential to improve access to essential services in remote areas. Although Zipline is not a traditional internet connectivity provider, its use of satellite connections underscores the importance of reliable and robust connectivity for remote areas.