One of the interesting points of conversation among the web developers in Kenya that keep popping up is how there is really no need to “recreate the wheel”. Companies like eBay, Yahoo, iTunes and Amazon (not to mention the other smaller web companies) have already figured out models that work – and they work well.
In Africa, what we need to do is take the best of those platforms and tweak them for local needs and practices. An eBay-Africa will never work if it looks identical to eBay in the US. However, an ecommerce platform in Africa that takes the best of what eBay does and marries that up with what is needed here will work. (Think smaller margins, different payment options, deliveries and partnerships with local enterprises.)
So, for those web developers in Africa – don’t waste your time doing something from scratch. Start with what’s out there and make it work for your environment.