For the love of publicity

African Tech & The “Foreign Media Complex”: Necessity Meets Vanity

By  |  January 7, 2021

Every once in a while, some startup or venture capitalist announces some major milestone that gets Africa's entire tech scene buzzing.

However, amid all the fanfare and outpouring of goodwill, there is often a small detail that is missed by most people even though it rubs off on a certain group the wrong way.

Now, what’s this “small detail?” Short Answer: The typical primary source(s) of that big announcement. And which group gets rubbed off on the wrong way? Simply put, the local tech media space in Africa.

It’s a script that has played out one too many times and it typically goes something like this;

Some obscure Kenya-based startup, for example, is put on the radar and thereby made less and less obscure on the backs of sustained coverage of their more mundane efforts (say, a product launch or a small pre-seed) on a TechMoran or a Disrupt Africa, for instance.

Then, a few months or years down the road, the same startup records its biggest deal yet (say, a huge Series A round or a high-profile M&A deal). And guess who gets the exclusive scoop on the big one and catches everyone by surprise (including local tech media) on a Tuesday morning?

It’s an easy guess: the US-based tech media property, TechCrunch, or some other foreign media, which before the major ...

Journalism is broken in Africa


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