Digital Inclusion



Providing access to the digital world without smartphones or data bundles

Team Lead

Naledi Magowe

Solution Pitch

The Problem

Out of Africa’s 1 billion people, 650 million own mobile phones, yet experts project 750 million Africans are digitally excluded. Africans remain disproportionately unconnected to the tools, opportunities, and services provided by the Internet and mobile apps. Their feature phones lack these apps and Africa is the world’s most expensive region for data, where 1GB of mobile data averages $6.44—a week’s salary for most of Africa’s poor population. The business model for telcos and mobile app developers, as well as the entire digital economy, is currently built in a way that leaves Africa’s poor behind. 

The Solution

Brastorne leverages simple data protocols (IVR, USSD, SMS) to enable users to connect over their existing telco networks using their feature phones. With this solution, the user can access the full suite of Brastorne’s apps, analogous to what digitally-included smartphone users rely on every day but at a dramatically lower data cost. Brastorne also uses outbound SMS to alert users of new information and new services, even if they are logged out.

Using the power of IVR, Brastorne can provide users with valuable information and alerts such as disease or pest outbreaks or an approaching storm, and with optional voice prompts support more information, similar to USSD. Users can also call the number to receive valuable information across a variety of themes and topics, which is particularly useful for illiterate users. 


  • Brastorne has lifted 60,000 small farmers above the poverty line, due to financial products offered on the platform. 

  • Over 1.5 million people have used Brastorne’s platform.

Market Opportunity

For the rural poor, the internet is beyond reach. Traveling to nearby towns to access information and trade can cost up to $8 a day, and communicating via call and SMS can cost up to $1 a day. Brastorne enables these users to access information, markets, and communication for just $0.03 a day without the need for travel. With 279 million people who could benefit from this solution, it presents a $3 billion market.

Organization Highlights

  • Partnered with Orange group and country affiliates, Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation, Mercy Corps, Ministry of Agriculture of Botswana, among other organizations.

Partnership Goals

Brastorne seeks:

  • Resources to help scale.

  • Connections to mission-aligned organizations to raise equity capital.

Solver Team

Organization Type:

Gaborone, Botswana


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