In October 2021 I introduced myself as Raspberry Pi’s Strategic Partnerships Manager in Africa in a blog post where I highlighted our growing presence on the African continent. I wrote then that our goal was to ensure our products were available and affordable to the maker, education, and industrial communities in Africa, where Raspberry Pi had previously been less visible than in other markets. I feel delighted to provide updates on what we have achieved in the months since then.
Welcome to our new Raspberry Pi Approved Resellers
We had worked with just one reseller, PiShop in South Africa, when I wrote my last blog post. As of July 2022, we have no fewer than eight more. I am delighted to introduce them:
Ivyliam Gadgets (Kenya)
Swift Berry Limited (Nigeria)
STEMCafe (Kenya, Rwanda, Nigeria)
Nyereka Tech (Rwanda)
Liquid Intelligent Technologies (Kenya, Rwanda)
If you are an electrical components distribution business currently operating in Africa, and you are interested in becoming an approved reseller for Raspberry Pi products — especially in countries not already represented — please reach out to us by emailing [email protected].
Our first Raspberry Pi Design Partner in Africa
As we expand our network of reseller partners, it has also been important to support the hardware ecosystem around Raspberry Pi boards. Our Raspberry Pi Design Partners are approved designers who can work with businesses to integrate Raspberry Pi products into their innovations.
To provide this support on the continent, we have identified our first design partner for Africa: Gearbox Europlacer. Operating out of Nairobi, Kenya, Gearbox provides shared prototyping facilities along with training in manufacturing, fabrication, and design. Gearbox also provides mentorship, investment opportunities, flexible working space, and community development.
If your business has the expertise and experience to support companies in designing Raspberry Pi hardware into their products and processes, and you are interested in learning more about becoming a Raspberry Pi Design Partner, please get in touch via email to [email protected].
Getting to know more digital content creators
Regular readers will know that we sometimes work with digital content creators who bring their own unique and creative take on Raspberry Pi products to audiences on YouTube and elsewhere. Recently we’ve been having some excellent conversations with African content creators, and we are excited to see what they make: watch this space!
Events across Africa
Since January 2022 we have organized and attended events in several countries to explore opportunities to build awareness, grow our network of resellers, and support the Raspberry Pi ecosystem.
So far, we’ve hosted a Raspberry Pi in Kenya event, as well as a dedicated RP2040 virtual event for people to learn more about Raspberry Pi’s journey to making our own silicon. We also partnered with the Royal Academy of Engineering for the virtual Makers in Africa event.
On top of events like these, it has been incredibly valuable to travel around the continent just meeting people in the computing industry. We dropped in to the Nairobi Hardware Community Forum leadership meet-up, which we also sponsored. And visited the Robotics and Artificial Intelligence Institute in Ibadan, Nigeria, as well as The Pan African University Institute for Basic Sciences, technology and Innovation (PAUSTI).
More to come
We are taking forward several more important initiatives on the continent, too. We are working to identify potential partnerships where we can provide support to education initiatives, and we’re hosting a virtual event this August for African engineering students and other makers. Click here to sign up.
Sub-Saharan African is a priority for extending our network of Raspberry Pi Approved Resellers, especially Tanzania, Uganda, Ivory Coast, Senegal, Cameroon, and Togo.
We will also be hosting an industry-focused virtual event for Ghana and Nigeria towards the end of 2022 — we’ll update here when we have more to share about this. And we are researching larger OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) on the African continent who are using Raspberry Pi products in their designs, so we can find out how we can best support these customers — if this describes your business, do get in touch by email to [email protected].
I and my colleagues have been delighted this year to meet some of the many people who are using Raspberry Pi products to get things done.
We left a Raspberry Pi kit for Allan Koech last time we met, and he has gone on to do some brilliant things in the region. Most recently he hosted a workshop on UI design for embedded systems at Chandaria Innovation Center in Kenya. As well as teaching hands-on coding sessions, attendees developed a fully functional UI and integrated it with Raspberry Pi.
Ilara Health is another nice example. Founded in 2019, they use Raspberry Pi Zero provide accurate and affordable diagnostics to the 500 million people living in Africa who struggle to access a simple blood test. Ilara’s original strategy was to fund tech-powered diagnostic devices for primary care clinics but they now do much more, including building Electronic Medical Record (EMR) systems, financing medication, and transforming the best-performing clinics under a franchise model. Ilara works with over 1200 clinics in Kenya and has just expanded into South Africa.
It has been really exciting to encounter the skills, drive, and creativity of people like Allan and the Ilara Health team. We are all looking forward to meeting and working with even more people who are using Raspberry Pi products to solve problems and create opportunities.