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Richmond Arthur on closing the internet gap in Ghana

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Richmond Arthur is the Founder and CEO of Maxinet, one of Ghana’s leading Internet Service Providers. Richmond’s exasperation with costs and inferior connectivity fuelled his vision to build quality, reliable and affordable internet solutions for his fellow Ghanaian students. The growth in internet penetration in Ghana has steadily grown over the past period. However, access to quality internet is challenging, for both businesses and households.

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Richmond started Maxinet in 2018, just a year before graduating from Ghana Technology University with a B Degree in Information Technology. Less than five years on, Maxinet has certainly lived up to its name and its founding vision.

Challenges of a start-up

Along the way, Richmond explains there were some key business lessons in establishing his own ISP. “It didn’t come on a silver platter,” he says. “I had to go through a process of starting up a business – and one of the challenges was the capital. I underestimated the amount of startup capital for sure, and ultimately required more than ten times my initial estimation. Every time I revised it, I needed more – and more.”

The second challenge faced was to build the right infrastructure.

“I had knowledge but not all the expertise to build everything. I found it hard to find the right engineers, and to be able to afford them. I learnt that creating the right team is a process, and that finance and human resources go hand in hand in the beginning.”

Finding partnerships

Maxinet uses the upstream services of Workonline Communications to connect to the global Internet. Workonline is one of the largest IP transit providers in Africa and has a large footprint across West, East and Southern Africa.

When first introduced to Workonline, Richmond and the team hit it off immediately.

“They were the most experienced of all the providers we had considered, and had a very mature, long-term approach to collaborative market growth,” says Richmond. “The Workonline ecosystem is robust and they introduced me to many others already making use of their services. We also tested their services thoroughly and found that they were able to offer the best and fastest routes from and to Ghana, offering the benefits of improved latency while keeping the traffic on the continent instead of sending it to London or Europe for example.”

The partnership between Workonline and Maxinet has grown from strength to strength. Workonline business development manager, Daniel Duah, attributes this to open communications and collaboration between Maxinet and Workonline teams.

Richmond agrees and echoes Daniel’s views. “Since we signed up, we’ve had reliable service, great partnerships, and a deep personal connection. In fact, now we are friends, it’s not just business any more. Once I get that kind of service, it flows downwards to my customers and everyone benefits”

“This collaborative approach has helped me build a better and stronger customer base.”

Independence rules

Being an independent ISP was a significant milestone for Maxinet. Workonline supports and guides their customers through the process of establishing an independent ISP.

Independence in the Internet industry refers to having your own block of unique addresses, issued by Afrinic the African Internet registry, and can be a complex process. The benefits of this are important to downstream customers but often not understood or appreciated. The impact of independence is control over quality – Maxinet can provide the same quality service and speed but at a lesser fee than the larger telco’s charge.

“Without the experience and assistance of the Workonline team, we would have struggled to establish the quality service we are able to provide. Their engineers are world-class and always there when we need them,” adds Richmond.

He adds a story of the early days in the business where Workonline helped negotiate a lower monthly service cost for his base station, protecting Maxinet’s cashflow and helping to grow the long-term viability of the business.

Starting an ISP in a growing and vibrant market like Ghana is often seen as a great business opportunity and with low barriers to entry. Maxinet’s story shows that it can be done if you have the right partners on your side and an appetite for collaboration and independence.

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Afripreneur

CliniDo: Your Personalized Healthcare Companion

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CliniDo Mina Shawky CEO and Hitham Essam CTO, at GITEX Africa

CliniDo, a MENA leading health tech innovator, With CliniDo’s revolutionary voice search functionality, connecting with a healthcare provider takes mere seconds. CliniDo transcends the limitations of a typical healthcare app. They envision themselves as your trusted healthcare companion, offering unwavering support throughout your health journey. Whether you’re experiencing a new symptom or managing a chronic condition, CliniDo provides personalized and exceptional customer-focused solutions.

Founded in January 2020 in Assiut Egypt, by Wael Soliman, Mina Shawky, and Hitham Essam, CliniDo aims to be the ultimate healthcare companion, providing top-notch medical services in Egypt and the MENA.

Your Voice Heard: Instant Connection Through Voice Search

Imagine needing medical attention and simply voicing your needs. With CliniDo’s revolutionary voice search functionality, connecting with a healthcare provider takes mere seconds. Forget complex menus or frustrating typing – just speak your needs, and CliniDo will connect you to the right healthcare provider. This innovative approach showcased at GITEX exemplifies CliniDo’s commitment to streamlining healthcare access.

Guiding You from Symptoms to Solutions: AI-Powered Support

CliniDo takes the guesswork out of your healthcare journey. Simply describe your symptoms to their AI-powered system, and it will recommend the most appropriate medical specialty for your needs. This ensures you receive the right care, right away – a testament to CliniDo’s commitment to efficiency and patient well-being, a theme that pervaded GITEX discussions.

Personalized Content Tailored to Your Needs

CliniDo doesn’t stop at connecting you with healthcare providers. Recognizing that knowledge empowers, they provide customized medical and educational content that aligns with your specific condition. This empowers you to make informed decisions about your healthcare journey.

A Complete Healthcare Ecosystem at Your Fingertips

CliniDo offers a comprehensive suite of healthcare services, all conveniently accessible through their platform. Here’s a glimpse into what attendees at GITEX found particularly exciting about CliniDo’s offerings:

  • Book appointments with doctors: Find the right doctor for your needs and schedule appointments in seconds.
  • Book clinic consultations: Schedule in-person consultations with your chosen healthcare provider.
  • Book home visits: Get the care you need from doctors or nurses from the comfort of your own home.
  • Book lab tests from home: No need to go to a lab. Order your tests and have them collected from your home.
  • Request Medication: Easily request your medication.
  • New! Book medical services: This exciting new Product allows you to directly book any medical service you require, streamlining the process and saving you valuable time.
  • Next: Bookings and Payment Solutions: CliniDo’s commitment to continuous innovation is clear. you will soon be able to book surgeries and procedures directly through CliniDo, with a convenient installment payment solution built into the platform.

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Making a Measurable Impact

CliniDo’s dedication to patient care is reflected in their impressive achievements. They’ve proudly served over half a million patients, connected them with more than 11,000 doctors and healthcare providers, and facilitated over two million dollars in healthcare transactions. These numbers represent countless individuals who have received the care they need, thanks to CliniDo’s innovative platform.

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Rhea, a women-led Kenyan startup is cultivating change in AgriTech

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Rhea CEO and Co-Founder, Priscilla Wakarera (Image: Supplied).

Rhea is a dynamic agritech start-up that is revolutionizing soil health management with innovative IoT sensors, empowering smallholder farmers to practice precision agriculture for sustainable and profitable crop cultivation.

GITEX Africa 2024, was held in Marrakech, Morocco from May 29th to 31st, 2024. The event was an incredible platform for tech enthusiasts, startups, and industry leaders to converge, showcasing the dynamic growth and potential of Africa’s tech ecosystem.

Participating at GITEX AFRICA allowed Rhea to make meaningful connections with service providers who will be instrumental for our growth. The showcases by established market players were a source of invaluable learning and inspiration as we continue to build our vision.

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Additionally, engaging in insightful conversations with ecosystem drivers has opened new avenues for collaboration and support. Rhea is looking forward to the days and months ahead, the organization is excited to foster collaborations with the connections that were made during GITEX Africa 2024.

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Tapiwa Guzha: making African-inspired ice cream with local flavors

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Tapiwa Guzha is a South African entrepreneur and founder of the Tapi Tapi ice cream brand. This amazing journey all began in July 2018 which already feels like a lifetime ago. What began as a self imposed dare by Tapiwa to share a passion for ice cream, any sort of ice cream, has evolved into an amazing storytelling vehicle. A unique way to share African folklore, rituals and cultural practices through frozen morsels and crunchy cones. A way to celebrate our diversity and embrace our differences while also realising we’re far more similar than we are different. Very creative, Tapiwa stands out for his ice creams with new flavors. Dried fish, hibiscus, Mphepho, toffee, chilli, dried blackjack leaves with caramel. Flavours that are simply unprecedented.

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In February 2020, Guzha launched Tapi Tapi, and the shop quickly became a success. Tapi Tapi is a Shona expression that means “yum yum”. Tapi Tapi began as a direct-delivery service that dropped off ice creams all around the Western Cape. While also orchestrating pop-up tasting experiences where people could engage with the diverse food and food practices from all over the continent. It is a one-of-a-kind shop that showcases the flavors of Africa. Tapi Tapi’s ice creams are tasty, bold, and unique, and they’re a great way to experience African cuisine.

This Zimbabwean molecular biologist, PhD in biotechnology at the University of Cape Town, passionate about cooking and entrepreneur, he makes African-inspired ice cream with local African flavors after experimenting with dry ice (dry ice making process). Tapiwa began experimenting with dry ice, a form of solid carbon dioxide that sublimates into carbon dioxide when exposed to heat. This allowed him to create ice cream faster, smoother and tastier. 

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