MEERANA's strategic expansion into Kenya and Rwanda

Wednesday November 15 2023

A Meerana brand phone mockup design. PHOTO | COURTESY


MEERANA's strategic entry into the Kenyan and Rwandan markets is propelled by the substantial growth opportunities within their vibrant IT sectors. Kenya's Silicon Savannah and Rwanda's progressive tech-friendly policies collectively foster an environment conducive to innovation. This strategic expansion is poised to leverage the burgeoning markets by delivering bespoke IT solutions, conducting thorough market research, cultivating strategic partnerships, and actively contributing to the holistic growth of these promising regions.

Recently, The EastAfrican had the privilege of interviewing Matar Almehairi, the Chief Executive Officer of MEERANA, to gain insights into the company's vision and approach in these dynamic markets. Here's an excerpt from the interview.


Matar Almehairi, the Chief Executive Officer of MEERANA. PHOTO | COURTESY


What drove Meerana's decision to expand into the Kenyan and Rwandan markets, and what specific objectives do you aim to achieve through this expansion?

MEERANA's expansion into the Kenyan and Rwandan markets is driven by significant growth potential in their IT sectors. Kenya benefits from increasing internet penetration, mobile tech adoption, and a thriving tech startup ecosystem in Nairobi, known as "Silicon Savannah". The success of mobile money platforms like M-Pesa opens doors for fintech and mobile app development. Rwanda's government supports tech-friendly policies, tax incentives, and IT development, making it conducive for tech companies. Investment in e-government services, infrastructure, and urbanisation, particularly in Kigali, presents opportunities. MEERANA aims to generate revenue through own IT products and services, provide customised solutions, conduct market research, build partnerships, and ensure compliance, contributing to the growth of these promising markets.


Can you elaborate on how Meerana's cutting-edge technology expertise, such as Internet of Things (IoT) solutions and blockchain, aligns with the unique needs and challenges of businesses in Kenya and Rwanda?

MEERANA offers IoT and blockchain solutions tailored to the specific needs of businesses in Kenya and Rwanda. Both countries hold potential for technological innovation. In agriculture, MEERANA's IoT solutions optimise farming practices and blockchain ensures supply chain transparency. Financial inclusion is a focus, with blockchain securing mobile money transactions and IoT enabling innovative financial products. Healthcare benefits from IoT for remote patient monitoring and blockchain for safeguarding health records.

MEERANA's IoT solutions optimise energy usage and blockchain supports transparent energy trading. In land and property management, blockchain enhances land registries, while IoT aids property infrastructure management. For cross-border trade, MEERANA simplifies customs processes and tracks goods. In education, blockchain secures credentials and IoT facilitates e-learning. MEERANA's solutions empower businesses in these dynamic markets.

In what ways will Meerana's cybersecurity excellence contribute to ensuring data security and privacy for clients in these new markets?

MEERANA prioritises cybersecurity to ensure robust data security and privacy for clients in growing markets. We employ multiple strategies, starting with robust data encryption to protect sensitive information in transit and at rest. Access control mechanisms limit data and system access to authorized personnel, preventing unauthorised breaches. Advanced threat detection and real-time monitoring enable quick responses to cybersecurity threats.

Compliance with local and international data protection regulations is integral to our approach, preventing legal complications. We also emphasize security awareness and training programs to promote a proactive security culture within organisations. In the realm of IoT, MEERANA offers comprehensive solutions to secure IoT implementations, addressing unique challenges.

We craft incident response plans to mitigate the consequences of security breaches, minimising damage and expediting recovery. For clients using blockchain technology, MEERANA ensures secure design and implementation, maintaining data integrity and privacy. Data privacy consulting services guide clients in navigating privacy regulations and ensuring compliance.

Regular security audits and assessments identify vulnerabilities and provide actionable recommendations to enhance security posture, ensuring data remains secure. MEERANA's cybersecurity excellence is foundational to building trust and safeguarding data security and privacy for clients in emerging markets.

How does Meerana plan to adapt its global delivery model to cater to the local market insights and demands in Kenya and Rwanda while maintaining your commitment to excellence?

MEERANA's strategy for aligning its global delivery model with local market insights and demands in Kenya and Rwanda is comprehensive. It begins with extensive market research to understand clients' specific needs and preferences. Strategic local partnerships with technology firms, government entities, and business associations offer valuable insights and facilitate market entry.

Localisation efforts include adapting software and content to the local language and culture, ensuring regulatory compliance, and supporting clients in compliance efforts. We invest in recruiting and training local talent to stay attuned to local demands and provide culturally sensitive customer support.

Scalability is a key aspect, with a flexible infrastructure to accommodate changes and growth in local markets while maintaining high-quality standards. Feedback loops collect insights from local clients and partners for continuous refinement. Educational initiatives empower clients to maximise the value of solutions, and corporate social responsibility initiatives demonstrate a commitment to the region's well-being.

Agility is prioritised, allowing for adjustments as the company gains a deeper understanding of local market dynamics and evolving client needs. MEERANA's multifaceted approach showcases its ability to adapt to local insights and demands while upholding a commitment to excellence in service delivery.

Sustainability and green IT solutions are emphasized as part of Meerana's offerings. How do you plan to integrate these principles into your operations in the Kenyan and Rwandan markets?

MEERANA demonstrates its commitment to sustainability and green IT solutions in Kenya and Rwanda through a multifaceted approach.

We plan to invest in green infrastructure, including energy-efficient data centres and renewable energy sources to reduce carbon footprint, while adhering to responsible e-waste management practices. MEERANA also focuses on developing and promoting low-power IT solutions to help clients operate sustainably, especially in regions with intermittent power supply.

Efforts to ensure a sustainable supply chain involve collaborating with eco-conscious suppliers and considering local sourcing to reduce transportation emissions. The company promotes remote work solutions and eco-friendly commuting options such as video conferencing. MEERANA aims to obtain green certifications, offer green IT consulting, and engage in community initiatives like tree planting and waste reduction.

Educational resources and potential carbon offset programs further support sustainability efforts. Transparency is key, with diligent tracking and reporting of sustainability initiatives, and collaboration with local authorities and government agencies enhances green initiatives. MEERANA's comprehensive approach underscores our dedication to driving sustainability and green IT solutions in these African markets.

Could you share more details about Meerana's accelerator program and how it will support startups in Kenya and Rwanda? How does this fit into your broader strategy for contributing to the local startup ecosystems?

MEERANA's accelerator program is a key component of our strategy to support the growing startup ecosystems in Kenya and Rwanda. The program is designed to address the unique challenges and opportunities in these dynamic markets. It begins with in-depth market research to understand local startup needs and is guided by a team of mentors, advisors, and program managers with expertise in technology and the local ecosystem.

The program offers startups a structured curriculum covering business and technical topics, access to resources like technology and co-working spaces, and legal and financial support. Selected startups undergo a competitive selection process and receive financial support in the form of grants or equity investments. Networking opportunities with industry leaders, clients, and investors are actively fostered.

Milestones, check-ins, and guidance are provided throughout the program. It culminates in demo days and showcases where startups can attract investors and partners. Post-program support includes access to an alumni network, mentorship, and follow-on funding opportunities. MEERANA measures the impact of the program, and we actively engage with the local startup ecosystem through partnerships and community events, aligning with our broader strategy to foster innovation and economic growth in these regions.

Written by special correspondent Jasper A. Kwayu