Mwabu is an education business that supports African primary school teachers with appropriate technology to improve learning outcomes, even in the most challenging of rural areas. Instead of selling oriented schoolbooks, the company has designed affordable and specific tablet-based learning materials. This substantially reduces schoolbook costs.
The tablet is designed around a big screen allowing 12-15 children of different families in rural areas to use the tablet at a go. The company sells its application licenses to individuals and group distributors such as NGOs, further reducing the costs for the poor. The company introduced flexible rent-to-own payment systems allowing the otherwise expensive tablet to be affordable even for the poor who typically engage in purchase agreements. The company, in its sale strategy and to reduce distribution costs, goes particularly to NGOs and government agencies.
Current estimated reach is around 330,000 learners and nearly 10,000 teachers – the majority in rural Government schools.The company is geographically concentrated and has so far served 500-700 schools in Zambia. A key problem for the company is the high import and value added taxes making the product much more expensive than necessary and thus challenging the growth of private sector solutions to government development objectives. Mwabu is a company that would benefit a lot from smart tax incentives and public procurement prioritization as proposed under the IBeeZ.