[Column] Eion Connolly: New technologies that will shape Africa’s business environment in the near future
Africa’s business environment is increasing in global importance by the day. Some predictions state that by 2025, a vast majority of the world’s growth will happen in the new markets that are emerging from corporations in Africa.
However, careful planning and structure are important to stop the new technologies further widening the gap between the low- and high-skilled workers. Failure to govern the continent effectively could be a downfall, as the wealthy have the potential to rapidly increase their worth while leaving the already poverty-stricken individuals in the dust.
Solar Powered Wifi
Silicon Savannah – otherwise known as Kenya – houses the innovative tech company that developed the BRCK, which is a solar-powered device that establishes 4G internet for a maximum of 20 devices at any one time, from anywhere on the globe. A Kickstarter campaign initially funded the project in 2013 and thus attracted worldwide investors – a fabulous addition to their soaring market.
Europe, Asia and the United States have been awed by the product and now utilise it in their dead zones, proving that modern technology developed on this continent is shaping not only their own future but the whole world’s too. With oil companies everywhere experiencing a turbulent market, the future of energy is complicated, but solar-powered wifi adds versatility to the mix.
The American company, Uber, is set to expand their company and drastically improve transport links across Africa. They already offer 36,000 drivers across the continent, but there is a significant gap in the provision of the service in West Africa.
With a continuously expanding population and public transport dissipating, Uber Technologies and West African regulators are making the executive decision to put together a boat service in Lagos to aid commuters and travellers in skipping out on the busy roads.
The brand-new development will further aid Africa’s business future in a highly positive manner, comprising a faster, more efficient way for everyone to get to work and thus, making this location a more desirable destination for startup companies and head offices of large corporations.
Developed in Nigeria, Interswitch is a digital payment and commerce company focused on Africa. The system manages money transfers, electronic payments and sets infrastructures up to improve the circulation of funds between both organisations and individuals. They help their customers to save money, become more secure in their banking, positively impact technological service levels and also boost earnings.
This company is playing a huge role in the shape of Africa’s economical upward growth path by connecting with globally recognised banks and providing their uses across the continent, so their clients can access any ATM, regardless of location and which bank it belongs to.
Sub-Saharan Africa is barrelling full force into the 21st century with their drone flights, bypassing the years of industrialisation neglect.
Zipline, a company based in California, initiated a drone delivery service in East Africa, while Malawi initiated a ‘Drone Test Corridor’ to be used by both national and international drone companies. The opportunities for commercial drone usage in Africa are astounding, and will help to maintain the continent’s advance to conquer the business environment, economic stability and wealth in the future, by enticing large global counterparts from the United States to get involved.
For the continent to carry on developing and running in the right direction, the young adults and children living, and one day working there, need to be well educated and highly informed to dominate the market. As is widely known, Africa’s educational sector has suffered throughout the decades, but with the growing economy schools are slowly beginning to accumulate and boost in quality.
Kytabu is an app invented in Kenya to digitalise the curriculum, increasing accessibility to the wider population. The ingenious service allows both teachers and students to have all their textbooks on their phones. Cleverly, books can be rented via the app for a day up to the full school term, all with digital money – with this, no one has to miss out.
No matter which direction the future takes, one thing is for sure: clearly, Africa is well on its way to take the world on and become a globally-recognised leader in business, economy and investor opportunities in the years to come.
Eoin Connolly is a writer and researcher from Dublin, Ireland.