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Nairobi, Kenya (PRWEB) July 02, 2013
While President Obamas trip to Africa aims to stimulate new U.S. business opportunities in Africa according to the White House (http://www.whitehouse.gov/africa-trip-2013), many American companies have already seen success investing in the African economy. Two innovative U.S. companies, Digital Divide Data and eKitabu, have made investments in Kenya that leverage American technology to create jobs and provide educational resources for Africans.
Representative David Cicilline (D-RI, 1st District), a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights and International Organizations, remarked, I’m thrilled to see U.S. businesses like Digital Divide Data and eKitabu making investments in Africa that leverage American technology to develop human capital. I am proud that this ongoing work includes a Rhode Island company that is helping to create jobs here in Rhode Island as well as in Africa.”
Digital Divide Data delivers data solutions with impact to enterprise clients worldwide. The firm launched DDD Kenya, Ltd. in Nairobi in 2011, with an investment that included support from the Rockefeller Foundation. According to Jeremy Hockenstein, CEO, DDD opened in Nairobi with the idea that we could employ youth from slum areas to deliver digital services. The reality is that they are more talented than we ever imagined. Based on the success of DDD Kenya and other similar businesses, the Rockefeller Foundation recently announced a commitment to invest $ 97M in Africa as part of a Digital Jobs Africa initiative (http://www.rockefellerfoundation.org/our-work/current-work/digital-jobs-africa).
In 2012, eKitabuwhich means “ebook” in Swahilispun out from Digital Divide Data to enable African and international publishers to take advantage of the demand for content from millions of smart phone and mobile device users in Africa. The Rhode Island-based company has attracted U.S.-based private investors, creating jobs in the US and in Africa. “The opportunity in Africa is now and American companies are ready,” says Matthew Utterback, CEO of eKitabu. Americans are working with Africans as equal partners to build sustainable technology companies. It is time to radically scale up these ventures and we are ready to do that. Growing these business will benefit the US and Africa.
Leveraging U.S. Technology
Both DDD and eKitabu use American technology to run their businesses in Kenya. DDD relies on Cisco Systems networking technology and Microsoft software to run its business. eKitabu integrates a number of U.S. technologies for ebook distribution, including those from Adobe Systems, Inc., and performs software development and product design in the US. Both companies are helping these U.S. technology leaders continue to develop their business in Africa as an emerging market.
Investments in Africas Peoples
Beyond demonstrating innovative business practices and implementing leading-edge information technology, DDD and eKitabus investments in Kenya also exemplify a commitment to investing in the people of Africa. As part of a growing movement of for-profit social enterprisesbusinesses that also have a social missionDDD creates jobs and develops the skills of its youth employees in its business process outsourcing operations. eKitabu seamlessly delivers books and other reading material to people who never before had access to this range of local and international content. Consistent with the view of Obamas trade mission, DDD and eKitabu firmly believe that Africa doesnt need handouts, but trade and economic development.
Digital Divide Data employs and trains talented young men and women from Nairobi’s slums to provide high-quality digital services to local and international companies. DDD, which has had operations in Asia for more than 12 years, employs more than 1000 staff globally. The company empowers youth to develop 21st century skills and obtain university degrees while they work. Employees at DDD not only earn a fair wage and receive valuable training, but the work experience empowers them to aspire for a life beyond the slums, creating better futures for themselves and their families, says Ms. Amolo Ng’weno, a U.S. educated Kenyan who launched DDD Kenya in 2011. Bringing investment dollars to Africa is important but investments in people is one of the most critical economic levers for African development.