What’s Next for the African Tech Revolution?

Image

By Kay Akinwunmi

In many parts of Africa, a tech revolution is underway. It’s predicted 475 million people will be mobile internet users by 2025.

Devices, networks and emerging forms of technology are proliferating, not least in Nigeria which, through R&D, has the potential to become a regional leader in AI and Blockchain.

Driven by an exploding population, (the average age of which is just 19.7 years old), Africa can become a tech powerhouse.

According to the World Economic Forum, between 2015 and 2020 tech start-ups receiving financial backing was six times faster than the global average. Despite the challenge of retaining later-stage funding, it’s an exciting time to be an African tech start-up, whose strength lies in retaining a local identity.

When Uber launched in Nigeria, it was forced to change its payment options to include cash, and this is a small example of a much bigger truth: in Africa, models that work elsewhere can rarely – if ever – be replicated without some adjustments having to be made to cater for local tastes and modes of behaviour.

This is not unique to Africa: China’s WeChat, described as an “app for everything”, has an interface many Westerners would find awkward to use, ugly, or undesirable; the same is probably true of Western apps looked at from a Chinese point of view. And this is one reason why anyone starting a business for the African market must have a presence on the ground in Africa: so that whatever they build looks and feels local.

But it is also one reason why the tech boom is so exciting: it gives Africans the power to develop African products that are uniquely, visibly African. Africans are best-placed to identify African opportunities, as well as African problems. Through tech, they can develop solutions in a distinctly African way.

And this is something that has been denied to Africans for a long time. The reality is that big corporations can have a homogenising effect as they expand overseas, diluting local cultures.

Tech, though innately international and borderless, celebrates diversity by giving power to the individual, wherever they happen to be. And that means that over time, through tech, Africa will be able to shape its own commercial identity: its own principles around user experience, brand and design.

By giving companies and the products they produce a uniquely African identity – an identity that reflects African people and culture – tech can strengthen that culture and showcase it to the world.

Tech also has the power to help Africa address a wealth of more serious issues, some of which have not just been persistent but seemingly intractable.

EdTech, for example, provides a solution to limited access to education for Africans, especially in poorer rural areas. Start-ups like PataTutor, based in Kenya, connects students with qualified private or online tutors, while uLesson, based in Nigeria, sells digital curricula through SD cards.

HealthTech, too, could give Africans the means to speak to medical professionals via video call or assess any symptoms they might have. In 2020, capital for health tech start-ups on the continent rose 257.5 per cent from 2019, according to a Disrupt Africa report, spurred in part by the pandemic, which shed light on the gap in healthcare services and forced healthcare providers to adjust their models and digitalise quickly.

Increasing internet penetration also means that remote working is likely to increase across Africa, and that may mean that those working abroad can return home. Some in the diaspora are returning home already. And as the cost of data comes down and the internet gets faster, the tech wave will build and roll over more of the continent.

We may not even be able to conceive at this stage of the kinds of brands, products, services and new forms of technology that might emerge out of a bustling and uniquely African tech scene. And with all this comes greater foreign investment in Africa and less brain drain, which strips Africa of some of its most talented people.

There is still a way to go before Africa’s tech industries become sustainable and world-leading. Significant problems remain later-stage funding, supply chain disruption and cybercrime:

Nigeria has more tech hubs than any other country on the continent but is also plagued by mobile malware. But through innovation and the need to diversify its economy, Africa will advance. At Zazuu, we’re proud to be part of Africa’s growth, using tech to meet the needs of African people.

Kay Akinwunmi is the co-founder of Zazuu

Share
Related Stories
Image
29-February-2024

MainOne Stretches Submarine Cable to Akwa Ibom

By Modupe Gbadeyanka A submarine cable spanning 45,000km in length known as 2Africa has been landed in Akwa Ibom State by MainOne, an Equinix company. It is one of the world’s largest subsea cable projects and will interconnect Europe, Asia, and Africa, with a design capacity of up to 180Tbps. The cable is the first and only submarine cable system in Nigeria outside of Lagos, and it marks a significant milestone in enhancing broadband connectivity and driving economic development in the South-South, South-East and North-Central regions of Nigeria. The significance of 2Africa lies in its capacity to address critical internet

Image
06-February-2024

NDPC Records 12.7% Increase in Revenue to N6.2bn in 2023

By Adedapo Adesanya The Nigeria Data Protection Annual Report has revealed that the country’s data protection cumulative revenue in 2023 rose by 12.73 per cent to N6.2 billion from N5.5 billion in 2022. The report was unveiled at the second-anniversary dinner and awards organised by the Nigeria Data Protection Commission (NDPC) recently in Abuja. Established on February 4, 2022, the NDPC was mandated to ensure data privacy and protection in the country, and that the rights of citizens are in line with global standards. The report stated, “Other areas that the rates increased included Compliance Audit Report which recorded 3,451

Image
09-February-2024

Why Integrating Apps, Democratising Automation Should be Cornerstone of Every IT Strategy

By Linda Saunders As businesses look to transform the AI world, the demand for AI and automation tools is growing, intensifying the pressure on IT teams to deliver. This is especially true for the African continent. IT leaders across Africa are grappling to establish the governance and processes required to master the basics with widening digital skills gaps, disconnected systems, and compliance concerns among their top concerns. This is according to MuleSoft’s 2024 Connectivity Benchmark Report, which found that among 1,050 IT Leaders worldwide, 98% say they are facing challenges regarding digital transformation. 81% of IT Leaders report the persistence of

Image
16-January-2024

AI vs Humanity: A Battle of Identity

By Timbo Drayson Artificial intelligence (AI) is changing the world. The last two decades have laid the infrastructure to give over 5 billion people access to digital services through smartphones and the Internet. This has primed the world for an AI revolution, the exponential growth of which we’re beginning to see through services like ChatGPT that fundamentally change how we interact with technology. Like every technological paradigm shift, from fire to flying or the industrial revolution to the Internet, the benefits of AI will also be challenged by its threat. While my pronoid nature is certain that the net impact

More Stories
Image
20-December-2019

Organisations Must Rethink their Fundamentals—Report

By Adedapo Adesanya As the year comes to an end, Fjord-Accenture Interactive’s design and innovation practice has advised organisations to rethink their fundamental methods of operation as a new decade approach. Now in its 13th year, Fjord Trends 2020 through Accenture, a global consultancy, looks ahead to the future of business, technology and design following an unprecedented streak of fast-paced growth and profitability on record and advised that there is need for businesses to engage in a “deep soul searching.” According to the report, 2019 was a year of climate crisis activism, Big Tech accountability, the booms and busts of

Image
21-November-2016

9th Nelson Mandela Moot Court Contest Holds July 2017

By Dipo Olowookere The Centre for Human Rights at the University of Pretoria, South Africa, in collaboration with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and other partners, is organizing the 9th Nelson Mandela World Human Rights Moot Court Competition at the Palais des Nations in Geneva from 18 to 21 July 2017. The competition, which is held in English, is open to undergraduate and masters law students from universities around the world. Students are invited to argue a hypothetical human rights case before a panel of top international lawyers. The competition is expected to bring

Image
09-June-2022

Ugandan School Ranks Among World’s Best

Ugandan school, Project Shelter Wakadogo, which supports vulnerable and hard to reach children, has been named as one of the top 10 schools globally by World’s Best School prizes in the Overcoming Adversity category. The category recognises that adversity will come in many forms for schools, including conflict, climate-related disasters, poverty, or a pandemic. It assesses how the school builds character, both individually and as a community, to support the greater resilience of all students. Wakadogo was founded in 2009 in the aftermath of two decades of civil war and violence committed by the Lord’s Resistance Army in northern Uganda,

Image
03-February-2022

Profit-Taking Weakens Oil as OPEC+ Retains Output Cut

By Adedapo Adesanya Profit-taking amid continued tight supply weakened oil prices on Wednesday as producers stuck to the planned moderate output increases for March. The Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its influential energy partners known as OPEC+ swiftly decided to green-light the return of 400,000 barrels per day for March. The move, widely expected by energy analysts, marks a continuation of the group’s strategy to gradually reopen the taps. Led by Saudi Arabia and non-OPEC leader Russia, the energy alliance is in the process of unwinding record supply cuts of roughly 10 million barrels per day. The historic

Image
18-February-2021

Foundation Donates N2m to UNICAL for Potholes

By Ahmed Rahma An educational foundation, Teacher Essien Ita Ita Educational Foundation (TEIIEF), has donated N2 million to the University of Calabar (UNICAL) to fix the potholes in the institution. The foundation, which presented the institution with the cheque during the weekend, said it was part of the activities to mark the second year remembrance of the demise of Mrs Temitope Ekpenyong Ita, wife of Mr Ekpenyong Ita, a former Director-General of the Department of State Services (DSS) and son of the late teacher, Esien Ita, who died March 13, 2019. The cheque was given to the institution’s Vice Chancellor,

Image
07-July-2023

Tinubu Ministerial List Not Ready—Dele Alake 

By Adedapo Adesanya There have been speculations lately that President Bola Tinubu would submit his ministerial list to the National Assembly for screening and approval, but his spokesman, Mr Dele Alake, has said his boss was yet to conclude on who will serve in his government. Addressing reporters in Abuja on Thursday, Mr Alake stressed that, “There is no iota of truth in all of those things,” referring to the ministerial list. “When the President is good and ready, you will be the first to know about his intentions,” he added. Mr Tinubu, sworn in as president on May 29,

Image
30-December-2021

Coronation Merchant Bank to Launch Podcast Series

By Adedapo Adesanya Coronation Merchant Bank has announced plans to launch its podcast series on December 31, which will cover economic and market development trends. This was disclosed by Mr Banjo Adegbohungbe, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Coronation Merchant Bank, in a statement, explaining that the podcast series was part of the Coronation Conversations platform, an ongoing engagement medium, which includes blogs, thought leadership articles, videos and events. He said that it would feature thought leaders, industry experts, and leading professionals. Mr Adegbohungbe said the series would be launched across platforms such as the Coronation Merchant Bank website, www.coronationmb.com/podcast, Apple

Image
24-December-2020

NCDC to Convince Nigerians to Take COVID-19 Vaccine

By Ahmed Rahma The Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has said that over 100 million Nigerians would have received the COVID-19 vaccine by March 2021. Speaking on Channels Television on Thursday, the Director-General of NCDC, Mr Chikwe Ihekweazu, stated that efforts to enlighten Nigerians on the benefits of vaccines are currently ongoing around the country. “No medical intervention, not one, has saved more lives since the beginning of mankind than vaccination. “No great hospital, no surgery, no medicine, not even antibiotics, has saved more lives than vaccines. “We’ve just celebrated, in-between this pandemic, the elimination of polio in Nigeria.

Ad
Ad
Recent Stories
Image
05-March-2024

Ghana’s Central Bank Suspends FX Trading Licence of First Bank

By Aduragbemi Omiyale The foreign exchange (FX) trading licence of FBN Bank Ghana Limited, a subsidiary of FBN Holdings Plc, the parent company of First Bank of Nigeria Limited, has been suspended by the Bank of Ghana. A statement issued on Monday by Ghana’s central bank disclosed that its action was because of the bank’s fraudulent documentation in its forex operations. The country’s banking sector regulator also suspended the FX trading licence of GTBank Ghana Limited, a subsidiary of Nigeria’s GTCO Plc, the parent company of GTBank Limited for the same offence. The notice from the central bank disclosed that

Image
05-March-2024

Binance Exits Nigeria, to Convert Naira Balances to UDST

By Adedapo Adesanya Binance will discontinue all services for Nigeria’s fiat currency, the Naira, following the ongoing regulatory onslaught on the firm by the Nigerian authorities. The crypto exchange will automatically convert Naira balances to US Dollar Tether (USDT) from March 8 but will cease support for deposits after today. Withdrawals will become unsupported after March 8 by 12 noon Nigerian time, a statement sighted by Business Post confirmed. The conversion rate for automatic conversions will be pegged at N1,515.13 to 1 USDT, according to an announcement from the website. Other features, including Binance Convert, Binance P2P, the exchange’s Auto

Image
05-March-2024

Petrol, Electricity Subsidies Will Gulp 3% of Nigeria’s GDP—IMF

By Adedapo Adesanya The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has warned the Nigerian government the payment of subsidies on petrol and electricity could take up to 3 per cent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) in 2024. The IMF stated this in a statement released on Monday on the completion of its 2024 Article IV Mission to Nigeria. The lender said that the recent improvements in revenue collection and oil production are encouraging, as “low revenue mobilization constrains the government’s ability to respond to shocks and to promote long-term development.” But it emphasised that, “The capping of fuel pump prices

Image
05-March-2024

Deel Buys 100% Stake in African HR Solution Company PaySpace

By Adedapo Adesanya Global human resources company, Deel, has announced the acquisition of African-based payroll and HR solution company, PaySpace, for an undisclosed amount, in one of its largest acquisitions to date. By acquiring PaySpace, Deel will become the first global payroll and Employer of Record (EOR) with its full-stack payroll engine localized in 50 countries and integrated into its offering. PaySpace’s proprietary technology is a cloud-native framework built as a single engine. Its platform allows for easy configuration to add additional countries through localization. These localization projects normally take years to complete, but with PaySpace’s innovative technology, it can

Image
05-March-2024

Emotions Pour as Dignitaries Eulogise Late Herbert Wigwe

By Adedapo Adesanya  It was an emotional rollercoaster at the tribute event held on Monday night to celebrate the late group chief executive of Access Holdings Plc, Mr Herbert Wigwe. Dignitaries from government, corporate organisations, and royalty paid tribute to the late titan who died alongside his wife, son, and a former group chairman of the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Group Plc, Mr Abimbola Ogunbajo, on February 9 in the United States. The event which was monitored by Business Post was divided into six segments – Young Hebert, the banker, the entrepreneur, the CEO, the builder and the ambassador. These personalities

Image
05-March-2024

Nigeria’s Economic Outlook is Challenging—IMF Declares

By Aduragbemi Omiyale The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has alerted that tough times await Nigerians, though it retained its gross domestic product (GDP) growth forecast for 2024 at 3.2 per cent. In a statement on the conclusion of the IMF Staff 2024 Article IV Mission to Nigeria, the global lender said the administration of President Bola Tinubu “inherited a difficult economic situation marked by low growth, low revenue collection, accelerating inflation, and external imbalances built up over years.” However, it praised the government’s approval of an effective and well-targeted social protection system, including the release of grains, seeds, and fertilizers,

Image
05-March-2024

Banks Involved in 70% of Economic Crimes in Nigeria—EFCC

By Aduragbemi Omiyale Nearly 70 per cent of financial crimes in Nigeria have the involvement of banks, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has claimed. “Broadly speaking, banking fraud in Nigeria is both inside and outside related. “The inside related fraud comprises outright selling of customers’ deposits, authorising loan facilities, forgery and several other kinds of unhealthy and criminal practices,” the chairman of EFCC, Mr Ola Olukoyede, said while speaking at the Annual Retreat and General Meeting of the Association of Chief Audit Executives of Banks in Nigeria held in Abuja. The EFCC boss, represented by the agency’s Director

Image
05-March-2024

Nigerian Air Force Airstrikes Hit Two Illegal Refineries in Rivers

By Adedapo Adesanya The Nigerian Air Force component of Operation Delta Safe, through airstrikes destroyed two illegal oil refining sites in Krakama and Temakiri, Degema Local Government Area of Rivers State, in continuation of efforts to stamp out the activities of crude oil thieves and oil pipeline vandals in the country. This was disclosed by the Director of Public Relations and Information, Nigerian Air Force, Mr Edward Gabkwet, an Air Vice Marshal, saying the illegal oil refining sites were observed actively operating with Cotonou boats sighted nearby with the probable intent to illegally siphon crude oil from the sites. Mr

Image
05-March-2024

NGX Remains Catalyst for Economic Growth—Chiemeka

By Aduragbemi Omiyale The acting chief executive of the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Limited, Mr Jude Chiemeka, has described the bourse as a catalyst for economic growth and development. He said this at the listing of 7.5 billion ordinary shares of Transcorp Power Plc at N240 per unit at the exchange on Monday. The energy firm raised the market capitalisation of the trading platform by N1.8 trillion yesterday. According to him, the inclusion of Transcorp Power into the NGX, the first listing of the year, underscored the pivotal role the bourse plays in shaping Nigeria’s economic landscape. He added that NGX

Image
05-March-2024

Dangote Renames Lagos Refinery Road After Herbert Wigwe

By Modupe Gbadeyanka The road to the Dangote Refinery in the Lekki area of Lagos State has been renamed after the late group chief executive of Access Holdings Plc, Mr Herbert Wigwe. This development was announced on Monday night by the owner of the oil facility, Mr Aliko Dangote, during the Celebrating Herbert Wigwe’s Professional Legacy, who said this gesture was to immortalise his friend. The Nigerian billionaire businessman and the richest black man on earth, in an emotional tribute to the late banker, who died in a helicopter crash in the United States on February 9, 2024, along with