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Five Somali Startups to Watch Out for in 2020

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Somalia is defined by a complex mix of challenges and opportunities and was once described as the world’s most dangerous country.

Despite political instability and economic struggles, people in Somalia are using technology to solve their problems.

Each year, the Somali youth create new startups determined to resolve local problems.

The Frontier highlights five startups to watch out for in 2020 and beyond.

Gulivery

Gulivery- a door-to-door delivery service. Its founder, Deeq Mohamed, says he got the idea after moving with his wife from London to the northwestern city of Hargeisa and noticed that many of the things they bought for their home couldn’t be delivered.

While hanging out with friends, he also noticed their families would ask them to buy foodstuff they would otherwise have ordered themselves.

Gulivery provides third party delivery services for restaurants, groceries, shops & e-commerce platforms. The service enables individuals and small businesses to trade and connect with the drivers to request on-demand or scheduled delivery.

The startup was first launched in Hargeisa, the capital of breakaway Somaliland, before it expanded to Mogadishu in February 2018. Its founders are Deeq Hassan and his wife Sado Baroot, who started the delivery service after returning to the country from London. There were no delivery companies or e-commerce in Somalia but Deeq and his wife took advantage of the gap in the market and came up with the idea of developing a delivery app.

Most Somalis depend on traditional taxis, donkey-carts or Indian-styled three-wheeler rickshaws, mostly used in Mogadishu, to deliver commodities from markets to their homes. The hiring of taxis is an expensive affair and sometimes, you do not get exactly what you ordered.

Go!

The Go! app promises affordable and convenient options in the city’s bustling transport sector.

The e-hailing service is starting out with 20 motorcycles, allowing customers to order their rides online or hail them on the street after identifying the drivers with their yellow helmet and bikes.

The platform was launched by Gulivery, a delivery startup that provides third-party door-to-door services.

The motor-taxi service makes the company the first in Somalia to venture into and digitise the motorcycle business.

While Uber-style taxi apps have existed before, those firms only used cars.

The increase in digital transportation options comes as life in Mogadishu regains a semblance of normalcy after decades of war. That has led to increased traffic in the city. The city also has a fragmented transportation system, with three-wheeled motorized tuk-tuk and hundreds of dilapidated buses servicing a fast-growing population that currently stands at almost three million people.

Getting around African cities like Mogadishu can be demanding given the poor infrastructure, insufficient street addresses, the absence of reliable public transportation, and increasing urbanization that is fueling congestion. As such, motorcycle taxis have grown over the last few years.

Saami Online

Saamionline is a Somali e-commerce company established in August 2014 in Hargiesa, it is one-stop shop that provides consumer-to-consumer, business-to-consumer and business-to-business.

Saami Online, a one-stop shop that sells and delivers everything from books and cosmetics to clothing and home appliances.

Since the founder didn’t have the funds to buy the goods at first, he had to show product owners that he could take their wares and deliver them to customers away from major cities.

Clients were mostly inquiring about electronics and phones, so Saami started serving underserved cities in Somalia including Kismayo and Adado, and then went as far eastern Ethiopia and Djibouti.

Samawat Energy

Samawat Energy is a female-founded renewable energy company that provides affordable, off-grid, solar home solutions to residents in Somalia through the use of a micro-leasing, rent-to-own system.

The discourse around gender and energy often focuses on women as under-served end-users. Samawat Energy sees women as vital actors within the energy sector at large.

The company does not only focus on electrifying communities, but empowering women within those communities to be more efficient in their household duties, make further gains in education, enter the workforce, and start businesses.

Not only will this provide opportunities for those often disenfranchised, but it will also help accelerate economic growth in Somalia.

Zapi

Zapi is an online payment system built on top of Telesom’s Zaad mobile payment service that will allow businesses to setup their websites to process payments. Zapi’s instant payments verification solution hopes to fill the missing link necessary to make running an e-commerce business in Somaliland as simple as it would be anywhere else in the world.

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Science and Technology

Why Aden Duale Doesn’t Allow His Family To Use Phones At Home

The National Assembly Majority Leader also says he won’t buy his friend lawyer Ahmednasir tea if he keeps on using his phone in restaurants

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Aden Duale, the Leader of Majority in the National Assembly, has said he does not allow members of his family to use their mobile phones from 7.00 pm to 9.00 pm.

For these two hours, it is a family matter, Duale says.

“Every time I go to my house, I see everyone; my wife and children preoccupied with their phones. I introduced this rule so that we can have quality time together,” he said.

However, Duale says he is the only one allowed to check his phone after very thirty minutes if he missed a call.

“If it’s the president and his deputy or ambassadors, I return the call,” he says.

“I set the president’s and the deputy president’s phone numbers as my favourite, so they will be the only ones that can get through.”

The Majority Leader in the National Assembly also joked he won’t buy his friend Lawyer Ahmednasir Abdullahi tea anymore if he does not stop using his phone while in having teas together.

“Ahmednasir is my friend and he is always busy with his phone whenever we enjoy our tea. If he doesn’t stop I won’t buy him tea anymore,” Duale says.

Ahmednasir Abdullahi, a senior counsel and constitutional Nairobi-based lawyer, is one of the most followed and active Kenyans people on Twitter.

On average, he tweets 20 times a day and has more than 800,000 followers.

Duale was speaking at the launch of Kenya in Arabic website – a site that promotes tourism and investments from the Arab world – at Laico Regency in Nairobi.

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Science and Technology

Popular online taxi firm employing more than 2,000 in Hargeisa

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More than 2,000 young men in Somaliland are now behind the wheel earning a decent living with the new online taxi company, Dhaweye.

Dhaweye launched its mobile phone taxi hailing application in March 2019.

Abdullahi Ahmed Hassan, 32, is one of the 2,080 drivers signed up with Dhaweye in the past six months. He is driving a saloon car owned by the taxi company.

“You get passengers easily,” he said.“Now we have a market.”

Abdullahi, who was a taxi driver before, had been depending for two years on $50 monthly support from a relative after his car broke down and he could not repair it.

His family’s living standards have improved now that he has a predictable daily income of between $30 to $40 with Dhaweye. He is paying for the school fees of four of his brothers at $50 a month.  Smartphone users can call a taxi or find a shared ride in Hargeisa using the mobile app. Passengers are charged a fixed rate of $0.50 per 1 km.

Guled Ibrahim Ismail graduated two years ago from Hargeisa University and was working as a taxi driver. His income of $6-8 a day was not enough to maintain his car. He signed up with Dhaweye in May.

“Since I joined this taxi system, there have been changes in my life.I secure a good amount of money. The least I get daily is $30,” he said.

He is able to pay school fees for the children and basic daily needs for the family.

However, whilst the earnings are good, Guled said there are times the work is interrupted by internet outages.

Farah Ayanle Dayah-werar, spokesperson for Dhaweye, told Radio Ergo the company was founded by local and diaspora youth and aimed to reduce unemployment.  They place high importance on safety and security, which attracts customers.

“Goods that are forgotten by the customers inside private taxis used to be taken by the drivers, and women had no trust in the taxis at night. Personally, I used to make sure I gave my number to a relative when I got in a taxi at night for security,” Farah said.

Farah said Dhaweye is serving up to 10,000 customers a day using the app. On a normal day each driver gets about three or four rides.

Drivers pay a $10 a day commission to the company for use of one of its cars.  From next year, fees will also be introduced for drivers using their own cars.

Source: Radio Ergo

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