Mimiboard to 'boost' African trade on hyper-local level

At Umuntu Media we use technology within Africa to build world-class platforms that deliver relevant local content. With Mimiboard we aim to enable and improve trade/communication on a hyper-local level and empower our portals to become content machines.

We use technology within Africa to build world class platforms that deliver relevant local content across Africa. Mimiboard means "i" in Swahili. A Mimiboard is like a traditional / analogue noticeboard. This is just the virtual 3.0 version. Anyone can create one, peg it in the ground at a location, add categories to it, and enable a community on hyper-local level to communicate, trade and add notes on the board via SMS, Android, Web and J2ME.

We love local content, Africa and technology. As publishers of news portals across Africa we tick all the right boxes, we fill a huge local content gap across the continent, we employ local journalist on the ground and we become the one stop information shop for locals in Zimbabwe, Zambia, Angola, Mozambique, Namibia and Botswana. (Soon live in 6 more East and West African countries) www.inamibia.co.na , www.izambia.co.zm , www.ibotswana.co.bw , www.iangola.co.ao , www.imozambique.co.mz , www.izimbabwe.co.zw

We know that content is not only news, weather, job openings, restaurant guides and events. Content is dynamic, our content needs change throughout the day; our content needs are based on our preferences, our locations and our moods. Content is enabling commerce on a hyper-local scale; content is enabling the fisherman in Mombasa Kenya to sell his catch to the tourist. Content is everything.

We knew that we needed to develop a platform to enable this, we knew that as a publisher we had to rethink, reinvent and move onto a more connected space to enable these hyper local content scenarios for our readers. 

Mimiboard means "i" in Swahili. A Mimiboard is like a traditional / analogue  noticeboard. This is just the virtual 3.0 version.  Anyone can create one, peg it in the ground at a location, add categories to it, and enable a community on hyper-local level to communicate, transact and add notes on the board. Communication to that board can happen via SMS, Android, Web, J2ME. Its is a socioeconomic network, it is an interest based social network that enables communication and trade on hyper-local level.

We developed Mimiboard to solve a problem we faced as a publisher. How to create engaging, relevant content that can add value and make a difference to people's lives. To spread the technology to other publishers across the continent we developed a "publish" function in the system. I will explain more:

Publishers all over the world have the same challenges: Keeping users engaged, playing in the social media area, revenue and maintaining a community. A publisher knows what their readers want to talk about so they create a few Mimiboards for their readers. Daily traffic tips, Classifieds, Restaurant reviews, citizen news, chat room etc. etc..  The publisher saves those Mimiboard as a stack, names the stack (Your News as an example) and then hit the export to embed button. Our Wizard takes them through the steps and quickly a publisher has a fully embedded Mimiboard in his website. iFrame or RSS. So with the click of a few buttons the site has a fully integrated SMS, Android, J2ME and Rich web communications channel to the readers.

We have also developed two other "publisher" functions. Print and display. I will give you a quick Print scenario.

Inspired by the world’s only analogue blogger Alfred Sirleaf from Liberia we knew that if we combine SMS, data and print we are filling a unique gap in the market. We empower anyone to create real classified styled newspapers in seconds. Users can engage with that paper, contribute to tomorrow’s paper and respond to posting in the paper via any of our channels. (SMS, Android, Web, J2ME)

Let's look at an example. Simon the entrepreneur knows what his community talks about. Lifts offered, goods for sale and obituaries.  He creates those Mimiboards for his town, saves them as a stack, calls the stack The Kafue Daily and he hits publish. Through our Wizard he chooses the layout, paper size, amount of notes to display (last 7 days or only today) He prints it out.

Members of the community can now add, communicate and comment on the notes in the paper and just like that, Simon publishes a daily paper.

Mimiboard is structured to focus on local relevant content.

Quick scenario:

A Taxi driver printed a sticker on the side of his taxi with his Mimiboard ID. A tourist in the area opens Mimiboard on her phone and looks for Taxi’s in the area. She posts a note on the Taxi available board.  

"Please pick me up at Kibera and take me to the airport. Jane 01282992929".

The taxi driver gets a notification, picks her up and drops her at the airport. He updates his Mimiboard again to say that he is available.  A new client uses Android, sees all Mimiboards close to him, he filters the boards to show only taxi available close to his location.

A fishmonger in Mombasa creates a Mimiboard called: Mombasa Fish Market. He tells all the fisherman to update their catch via SMS, Android, J2ME while they are on the water. He then sits at the market and looks at the latest catch on Mimiboard (some even include photos)

He spots a great catch and updates comment on the Fisherman’s note "I want those fish please. $3 per KG. Bring them to Thomas Market please."

A local in the area also wants to buy fish for dinner tonight. He opens Mimiboard, adds the Fish for sale category filter on his discover screen and also sees the notes of the above transaction. 

Great way for hyper local trade.

Our plans for the immediate future is to get our operations live in East and West Africa, integrate Mimiboard into all our portals and then partnering with one or two large media players in each market to start using it. These negotiations are done and we have some very interesting players that will launch this across the continent in the next few weeks. 

Currently the application is in closed Beta. If you are interested to find out more visit www.mimiboard.com or drop us an email chat@umuntumedia.com. We would like to hear from all publishers in Africa!


About Umuntu Media

Enabling local content creation and unlocking access to this content across Africa. 

We are here to help communities by making it easy for them to create and share content. Through the establishment of trusted brands (iPortals) and smart technology (Mimiboard) we aim to improve access to information and facilitate user-generated content. We are building the local-wide web and we love it.


  • Launched nine African content and information portals
    • Became the biggest local website in Namibia (2nd in Botswana)
    • Created one of the biggest Facebook followings of any media group in these nine countries
    • Initiated first-time digital advertising spend from many local organisations
    • Launched iAngola and iMozambique in Portuguese
  • Received the Nokia and World Bank Innovator of the Year Award 2012
  • The first African company to be selected as a finalist in the iMedia Next Wave competition (Austin, Texas)
  • Launched Mimiboard, which resulted in an additional 414 000  visitors to  our network in the first month
  • Through the use of Mimiboard, Umuntu Media reached 4,5 million visitors per month by the end of 2012 (currently 7,5 million per month)
  • Currently Umuntu Media is present in 16 African markets (iPortals and Mimiboard) – planned expansion to 25+
  • Featured in numerous articles across the world; highlights include BBC, The Next Web, iMedia connection, Memeburn