December 4, 2015
Last month, our own Anna Bofa, Business Development Manager attended AfricaCom. As you may or may not know, AfricaCom is one of the largest technology and telecom conferences on the continent with some 10,000-15,000 attendees each year over four days. The purpose of the conference is to discuss how major organizations, businesses, and entrepreneurs will help push Africa and its people forward. Also, not to mention there are 16 mico conferences at AfricaCom happening at the same time, discussing everything from mobile technology, to payments, to media. All and all, it’s a premiere conference in Africa with a lot going on. As a means to wrap up below are a few takeaways from this year’s event.
Using technology to transform
We must change our focus to how technology will transform the continent in the future. Most organizations and business are focused on the here and now and that is limiting their ability to make transformative changes in their models and what opportunities they seek. For instance, there’s been impressive growth of mobile broadband and a huge chunk of new African mobile subscriptions recently, so while we do still have a long way to go, we’re on the right track.
Creating a culture of innovation with an emphasis on improving livelihoods
Where African innovation stands out is that it’s all about improving an aspect of life, such as healthcare, education or agriculture through mobile developments. But global corporates need to embrace the continent as a whole and create a meaningful ecosystem. We need to think “If someone has an idea in Africa, where do they go to get it off the ground?” Then do something to make that a reality.
The same solution can’t work for an entire continent
We need to take into account the size of the market we’re targeting. Africa is very fragmented as a continent, and woe betide the well-meaning Western investor who sees ‘Africa as a country’. Most of the continent’s innovation has had no government intervention or enablement, so it’s all about the idea originator and clever investment.
Questions? Thoughts? What were your takeaways from AfricaCom?
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