There is no denying that we are at a digital age where information can be accessed by anyone at any place thanks to the advancement of science and technology. We also see that most problems in society are also solved through technology. This has created an opportunity for young entrepreneurs to innovate and come up with different solutions to solve these problems.
In Africa there has been a rise of millennial startups that are digitally-based commonly known as ‘apps’ that have been revolutionizing how we solve our daily challenges. From the inception of M-Pesa to food delivery apps, these all demonstrate that digital technology is the future.
So how can we nurture this industry?
“We have to invest seriously on education and technology. Awareness has to be created on the advantages that can be gained from this space and governments have to allocate necessary resources towards achieving this. For the tech firms that already exist, the government can use the revenue to develop the tech eco-system”. These were the sentiments shared by Ali Mufuruki, CEO of Infotech Investment Group, at the 7th Angel fair Africa event held in Dar es Salaam on 11th October.
Also speaking at the event was Andile Ngcaba, Executive Chairman and Founder of Convergence Partners. Mr. Ngcaba pointed out that Africa’s tech industry will boom in the next 20-30 years but that will only depend on how we currently respond to that advantage. He added that it is important to have smart people that will develop this industry.
“Africa is going to be the largest market leader of tech in 20 to 30 years. We are going to have the largest young population. It is estimated by year 2025, 67% of Africa’s population will have smartphones and by 2030 there will be 75% of smartphone users. Africa is now the largest carrier of data traffic along the Atlantic and Indian Ocean. How we act on these advantage will determine our future”, said Mr. Ngcaba.
Among other key speakers was Benjamin Fernandes, a young entrepreneur who founded Nala app, a payment gateway that doesn’t require internet connection to use. Mr. Fernandes advised young entrepreneurs not to focus much on the idea rather on the execution by understanding the problem first.
“Execution is the game not the idea. Understand the problem first then can you only execute the solution properly”, said Mr. Fernandes.
He added that most start ups fail because they use a lot of funds to market their product without first doing proper research and going to potential clients to test it. ‘’It is important to research around your product and use as little cost as possible to advertise in the beginning, word of mouth should be your key strategy”, explained Mr. Fernandes.
The African tech eco system continues to grow with Kenya leading the East African race. Startups that have made major breakthrough have focused on solving major problems that affect a large population, these include improved agricultural yields and trade, supply chain logistics and formalization, talent development and sourcing, and mobile communications and mobile payment solutions.