Fadima Diawara CEO Kunfabo-RR
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Career : Fadima Diawara « Africans want products they can identify with »

She is the example of the digital revolution that is taking place on the African continent. Fadima Diawara, young Guinean founder of Kunfabo, one of the few 100% African smartphones or almost. An adventure that started in 2016 and still continues. Not without challenges but with many ambitions! Portrait.

By DBM

Fadima Diawara is above all a passionate woman about technology, social media and the African continent. Alternating between the blue work jacket and the working girl’s suit – preferably in wax -, she regularly shares her experience on the RSS feeds, straddling Spain and Guinea. And for good reason, the young woman has a lot to say: heading the Guinean start-up Kunfabo, which markets the eponymous smartphone, she embodies the digital revolution currently taking place in Africa. An adventure that started in 2016.

«Strong background in international logistics, marketing and sales that has given Fadima Diawara a comprehensive view of business »

Born in Guinea, the future entrepreneur studied law before moving to Spain, where she completed her academic career with a degree in accounting and an MBA in digital entrepreneurship at the prestigious IE Business School in Barcelona. She then began her professional career as an administrative manager in multinational companies, “a period where I gained experience in international logistics, marketing and sales that gave me a comprehensive view of business,” says the entrepreneur. This keen observation of the business world will in fact be put into practice very quickly as Fadima Diawara resigns in 2016 to create her smartphone brand Kunfabo; a word that means “to be in touch”, in the Malinké language.  

A daring but nevertheless logicalproject, given the technophile inclinations of the young Guinean. “I am passionate about everything related to technology and the development of Apps and social networks. This is what led me to create Kunfabo, a smartphone in line with African realities, with local mobile applications to accompany African consumers in their daily life,” explains Fadima Diawara.

« Kunfabo, quality smartphone, in line with realities of Africa»

Its leitmotiv? To improve the lives of African populations, thanks to the Internet and through a cell phone. Preferably her own, which she sees as a fully-fledged tool for digital inclusion. “The African market is flooded with foreign brands that do not know or do not take into account the real needs of African consumers,” deplores the female startupper, who lists the various applications developed for her smartphone: the geolocation application for hospitals and pharmacies, the application of African recipes, but also the messaging and mobile payment app. Dikalo, an “African WhatsApp. From this point of view, “the concept of Kunfabo is to offer Africans a quality smartphone, in line with African realities, and based on a low-cost business model,” says Fadima Diawara.  

« Our objective eventually is to produce in Guinea»

This ambition has attracted the interest of major partners, such as the Guinean insurer Lanala, which offers insurance for its devices, and Société Générale Guinée, the local subsidiary of the French banking group Société Générale that provides interest-free loans, repayable over six months, for all purchases of a Kunfabo smartphone. The idea is to democratize the smartphone in Guinea, and in Africa in general, where the telephone market is exploding. However, “the brand is still not produced locally because we do not have a factory in Guinea,” regrets the company’s CEO, which recalls that eventually “the objective is to produce in Guinea”.

«We are in the 21st century, in the age of technology and the digital revolution. The Internet must be accessible to all Africans»

In the meantime, she appeals to all the sector stakeholders as well as to public officials and donors. “We are in the 21st century, in the age of technology and the digital revolution. The Internet must be accessible to all Africans. However, it is noted that the Internet remains extremely expensive in our countries. The sector stakeholders must make more efforts to make it accessible to all, and not only in the big cities or for the wealthiest. This is the only way to ensure that young Africans continue to develop solutions that change our lives and the future of the continent,” argues the entrepreneur.  

«Made in Africa is not a passing fad, but an identity concept; therefore, Kunfabo will prevail against international brands »

She sees a promising future, especially in the smart phone sector. “In the coming years, many changes will occur, especially in smart phones, with the needs related to mobile financial services, e-commerce and e-health,” predicts the tech entrepreneur, who notes that “the capacity for African innovation is no longer to be proven, as shown by the success of mobile banking. Moreover, she is convinced that in all these growth segments, “Africans want products they can identify with, the Made in Africa is not a passing fad but an identity concept. A philosophy of consumerism which ultimately maintains that, “Kunfabo [should] end up prevailing against its international competitors,” Fadima Diawara wants to believe. 

Before translating these convictionsinto reality, Kunfabo can already boast a series of distinctions, the company having won several awards in 2020, including the most original start-up of the year (an award given by the Spanish program Revolucio 4.0), the Prize for the Best Entrepreneur of the Year from the city of Girona in Spainand was also one of the winners of the Africa  Summit in 2020.All these milestones fit into the ambitions of the young Guinean entrepreneur.

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