[interview] Nixon Kanali, Founder, TechTrendsKE, Kenya
Nixon Kanali is a Kenyan-based tech journalist, blogger and digital influencer. Since 2014 he has been running TechTrendsKE, a platform that highlights developments and trends in the tech space. He is also the Tech editor at Africa Business Communities.
Nick has been nominated in the 2022 Pulse Influencers Awards under the Tech Influencer of the year award category. To vote for him click here
Tell us a bit about yourself
Well, I wear many hats. I am a tech journalist, blogger and digital influencer based in Kenya. My day-to-day activities involve writing, reporting and blogging on technology trends in Kenya and across Africa including startups, something I have been doing since way back in 2014 through my blog TechTrendsKE.
I also have experience in moderating tech and business events, podcasts, content marketing, products and service reviews and social media marketing.
I also serve as the tech Editor for Africa Business Communities, and again, my role here is tracking and reporting on tech across Africa.
What would you identify as the key trends shaping the tech industry in Kenya and Africa as an industry player?
As I mentioned covering African startups is one area I have a serious keen interest in. I believe these startups are shaping how the region works, thanks to the great products and services they keep innovating to make our lives easier. One of the biggest trends I have seen over the years while covering these startups is that there’s always a new one cropping up offering a unique product for the masses.
This ecosystem is expanding fast and for this reason, we’ve seen a number of incubation and acceleration hubs being unveiled across Africa.
Other trends that of course, we should expect to see shaping the industry are things like 5G with some countries like Tanzania already going commercial. There is also cloud adoption which as we have covered extensively here on Africa Business Communities and even on TechTrendsKE is proving to be a necessity for African businesses and organizations.
What are the emerging opportunities in the tech space?
One of the biggest opportunities I have seen especially over the past year is the huge demand for African Developers which young Africans should really grab. Countries like South Africa, Egypt, Nigeria and Kenya are listed among the top countries with software developers in Africa. In fact, software developers in Africa grew by 3.8% to 716 000 in 2021, according to the Africa Developer Report by Google. Their professional programming skills range from mobile to web and app development and this is why we’re seeing tech giants settings shops here.
The continent's booming tech startup ecosystem is also spurring the demand for African developers and these are some of the opportunities we should expect to grow massively in the coming years.
What gaps exist in this area and as a tech media personality, what do you think is the right approach to tackle them?
There are no gaps really and I mentioned we should expect this space to grow in leaps and bounds over the coming years. We have seen some of the biggest companies set shops here and that only means the demand for African tech developers is expected to grow.
Look at Visa for example, with their innovation studio in Nairobi. I remember attending the launch event and the payments company was insisting on how it wanted to work with local devs as we call them to develop solutions that strengthen its capabilities to develop fintech products. Google is also opening its first African product development centre in Nairobi, Kenya and of course, there is Microsoft with its Africa Development Center.
When you look at these developments, it gives you a clear picture of how this space is and as a tech media personality, my aim is to report as much as I can about these opportunities and the impact this is having on the region.
What would you identify as the major news/developments in the tech sector in 2022?
The biggest for me is 5G although in Africa the adoption is quite slow. I have even done a piece on that and in the article, I talk about how as of May this year, only 6 African countries had rolled out the 5th generation network. And even at that, most of these launches are not even commercial. I think service providers in Africa need to proactively create the blueprint for seamless 5G migration. Nonetheless, its one of the biggest developments we have seen this year.
Congratulations on your nomination for the Pulse Live 2022 Tech influencer of the year. award What does this nomination and a potential win mean for you?
Thank you! First, it's never really about winning but the nomination is a really important milestone for anyone in my space. It basically means that my efforts for example to inform the masses about tech in Africa through the content I create on my different platforms are being appreciated.
Usually, when I put my content out here, one question that always comes to my head is how many people will it actually reach. This nomination just means people are really following what I do and that’s a win enough for me.
Tell us more about the award
So this award is hosted by Pulse, a media company here in Kenya and it basically recognizes creators and individuals who keep communities around them informed on tech in real-time and bult a career in tech media. Could be through social media or even blogs.
This ‘’Tech Influencer Category’’ which I have been nominated in has 10 nominees. You can vote here.