African Tech Deal of the Year

Technology business deals or partnerships give clues and insight into how a particular company or set of companies have been performing, and changes in ownership can have big effects on the market and the consumer. The HumanIPO team pick their top deals.

Kamau Mbote: Safaricom partners with Commercial Bank of Africa in the launch of M-Shwari. The deal had the power to make CBA, which at the time had a customer base of 40,000, catapult to 12 million in a single year, becoming the largest bank in terms of numbers beating equity bank to number two with 7.5 million customers.

Elly Okutoyi: Last month saw South African Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) group the Shanduka Group acquire a minority stake in MTN Nigeria in a deal worth US$355 million, the biggest investment the group has made to date outside South Africa. MTN Nigeria is the largest operator in the West African country, and most investment firms jostle to have a stake of the mobile operator. The deal has also come under a href=”http://tinyurl.com/c4ngr5c”>legal scrutiny.

Vincent Matinde: Cellulant and Barclays Bank – though not spoken out loud in media outlets, this deal definitely put Cellulant way above the competition, seeing them land all the Barclays bank branches across Africa. The company has a yearly turnover of US$120 million.

Tom Jackson: In an otherwise annus horribilis for Mxit, who lost a CEO, were overtaken by 2go as Africa’s biggest social network and were forced to retrench staff, the acquisition of Motribe was the one positive development. Mxit integrated a valued partner into the company, 4Di Capital made an excellent exit and Nic Haralambous gained more time to launch his online sock store.

Gythan Munga: Carnegie Mellon partnered with the Government of Rwanda in March to embark on an exciting opportunity to transform graduate education in East Africa. Carnegie Mellon University in Rwanda (CMU-R) has introduced new models of education, research and development, and the commercialization of information and communications technology (ICT) in a region booming with opportunities.

Gabriella Mulligan: In May it was announced that South Africa had won the majority share in the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) telescope project, paying tribute to the country’s scientific and technical abilities. While South Africa will play home to the majority of the world’s largest and most sensitive telescope, dishes will also be located across Africa.

Robin Okuthe: Dangote Group, one of Africa’s biggest manufacturing conglomerates, in September entered into a multi-million euro three-year deal with business software firm SAP, marking Africa’s biggest technology deal. Dangote’s core business focus is to build manufacturing capacity to generate employment and provide goods for the African continent. SAP Business Suite helps Dangote Group shift from a manual-based system to one that is more integrated, automated and transparent.

Richard Cutcher: The rise of Johannesburg start-up Tawk2Me has gone under the radar, but in November they were on the brink of rapid expansion when they partnered with the four million membership strong 12 Apostles Church. The mobile application allows the church and its leaders to send out voice messages to its members at no cost to the receiver – allowing greater co-ordination for its events that attract people from across the continent.

Nanine Steenkamp: The agreement between global leader business software supplier SAP and African manufacturing facility Dangote Industries Limited, in September, has been marked as one the biggest African tech deals yet recorded. The multi-million euro collaboration aims to increase the business capacity with goods provision, job creation and general business management over a period of three years.

Tefo Mohapi: Mxit’s Motribe acquisition because it’s probably a good exit and deal for 4Di Capital and the rest of the then Motribe shareholders.

Paul Adepoju: At a glance, I wanted to nominate the acquisition of MTN Nigeria shares, but I remember the deal that will rejuvenate CDMA operations in Nigeria via injection of new funds into Starcomms. So, Starcomms deal is my African Tech Deal of the Year because it rekindled the company’s glowing splint.

Brandon Gregory: Start-Up Chile is one of the best opportunities for African tech entrepreneurs to acquire funding for their start-ups. The Chilean government supplies US$40,000 to tech entrepreneurs selected through a process from around the world and requires the money to be spent within six months in Chile and grants a year’s Chilean working visa. Talks within the Western Cape government have begun to see if a similar initiative can be set up in South Africa.

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