Truecaller explores partnership with Rwandan firms

Global Tech firm, Truecaller which has over 300 million global users  and over 100 million active daily users, seeks to increase relevance  in the Rwandan market by working with local start-ups and firms. 

At the recently concluded Africa Tech Summit, Truecaller’s Director of  
Business Development and Partnerships, Zakaria Abdulkadir Hersi shared the company’s outlook and interest in the Rwandan market. 

“In Africa, we are trying to solve emerging market type of problems.  We are mobile first, phone centric. Compared to other parts of the  world such as where people use platforms such as emails more, people here call directly. However, some people also take advantage of that. For instance, in Kenya, we block 14 million messages a month and 4 million calls a month”, says Hersi. 

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In a fast-changing environment, start-ups are prone to failure and   Truecaller sees this as impetus to drive engagement with users- customisation, innovation and adaptability being at the core of its  
focus. 

“We engage a lot with users to take feedback, criticisms, users’ experiences etc. in order to pivot. To survive in East Africa, you  cannot copy from somewhere else and paste it here. You need to tailor  it to the needs of the region.

We started as an incoming caller ID, if  we had stuck to that, we would not be relevant. We began in Europe,  spread out to the Middle East, India and Africa. East Africa was one  of the markets that grew organically”, says Hersi. With Truecaller’s expansionary motives, Rwanda has not been overlooked  and the reasons are manifold 

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‘We wanted to figure out the solutions that we can proffer in the  market given that there is not much of a problem with caller IDs.  We  are trying to figure out ways in which we can be more relevant. We  have been talking to a number of partners such as Telcos and start-ups  and there are plans for us to partner with local start-ups and  players.

We want to work with locals where we bring in our expertise  but work with locals.  Truecaller believes that Rwanda is the best  case study to use, as it is a growing, tech-savvy market. There are  processes and the government helps out in the ecosystem”. 

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