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African startups drive digital innovation on the continent




This work was contributed to TechCabal by Oswald Osaretin Guobadia. Mr. Guobadia currently serves as Senior Special Advisor to President Muhammadu Buhari on his digital transformation. He is the leader of the Nigeria Startup Bill (NSB), a strategic project for the growth of Nigeria’s tech ecosystem and digital economy.

Africa, the world’s second most populous continent, has a promising future with about 1.4 billion people, or 16.72% of the world’s population. Its overwhelmingly young population is changing the course of history in many ways.

Internationally, young Africans grit their teeth and put smiles on the faces of their natives with their dexterity and accompanying recognition in the booming entertainment industry. increase. Africans are in control.

Africa has many natural resources such as oil, gold, diamonds and ores, and many technology giants such as Apple Inc. rely on the Congolese supply of tantalum, tin, tungsten and gold to manufacture smartphones, batteries. , manufactures laptops.

This means Africa has enough resources to supply the world, but a new order is rapidly replacing natural resources with digital technologies.

Africa’s digital technology ecosystem continues to move. Africa’s ecosystem is like an unstoppable moving train. Because despite the odds facing Africa, young people, who make up his 70% of the continent’s population, are using innovation to transform several sectors such as banking and finance, health and education. Because there is , Agriculture, Hospitality.

This new order is changing the way we approach life. Globally, digital technology contributes to increased revenues and drives the economies of developing and developed countries. We hear and believe that data is the new oil.

According to Techspace Africa, Disrupt Africa, and The New Times in Rwanda, African startup investment has surpassed US$2 billion for the first time, up from US$71,460,565 the year before. In 2021, startup funding increased by 42.1%, despite the widespread impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the global economy. Funding growth shows an upward trajectory as the industry is projected to post significant growth estimated at $712 billion by 2050.

Despite the growing number of young Africans openly interested in building startups, several factors threaten existing and emerging startups in Africa. But as the Nigerians say, “We move”, even in our most difficult times.

Nigeria is one of the fastest growing startup ecosystems on the continent, according to StartupBlink’s ranking of Africa’s top tech ecosystems in the Global Startup Ecosystem Index, 2021.

It is no secret that Nigerian youth dominate the digital technology sector and Nigeria is one of the countries that harnesses the power of innovative thinking and technology to tackle problems in various sectors. Positioned.

While success stories such as Andela, Autochek, Kuda Bank, ULesson, and Bloc have been featured in the national and international news media, Nigeria-based startups face power outages, limited access to funding, and expensive data plans. , face challenges such as regulatory issues. But whenever our resolve is tested, we always find a way to overcome challenges. That is the hallmark of being Nigerian.

Without a doubt, Nigeria has the potential to become a global leader in the digital technology ecosystem. But to achieve this, we need to lay a solid foundation. This starts with having a deeper than just a peripheral knowledge of what digitization is, its benefits, and the infrastructure needed to achieve digital transformation.

Digitization uses technology to enhance our daily activities and simplify complex operational processes. The transformation of Nigeria’s banking system is an example of the importance of digitization and the benefits that come with it. Today, you can conduct banking transactions at home or on the street.

Infrastructure, on the other hand, is the technical hardware, network resources, and services necessary to achieve the objectives of the digital society. These include network equipment such as routers, computing hardware such as servers and software, facilities such as data centers, and computing and application platforms.

As mentioned earlier, the digital economy is very important, but having the infrastructure to support it is even more important. With the application of artificial intelligence (AI), faster wireless connectivity, and the proliferation of relatively inexpensive computing systems, the technology ecosystem is poised to provide a faster and more efficient world for business and other activities. , which will improve the business environment in Nigeria, as it has for many companies. Adopt digital technology.

At this point, it’s important to note that while startups see innovations as disruptions, policymakers within the system may see them as replacements. This means startup innovations are here to boost productivity, provide other solutions, and generally make life easier. However, policymakers may perceive the advances of these start-ups as displacing existing structures and working paradigms. The key to ensuring that these paradigm shifts do not lead to ecosystem dysfunction and negative economic impact is to engage and collaborate with practitioners and policy makers within the ecosystem to address potential Developing dynamic policies and regulations that foster innovation while managing mobility.

This is why founders and other tech enthusiasts should actively participate in governance. This is because Nigeria’s digital tech space must gain accurate representation at the highest levels of power and make room for the passage of laws that will allow it to continue to thrive. The Nigerian Startup Bill (NSB). The bill ensures that Nigeria’s laws and regulations are clear, well-planned, and beneficial to the tech industry. It also helps create an enabling environment for growth, attracting and protecting investments in the technology sector. The key to its success is the quality of implementation and full local adoption.

The digital economy is driven by a tech-savvy society where every man, woman and child is tech-savvy. We must review the school syllabus at the elementary, secondary and tertiary levels, as well as her one-year mandatory Youth Service Corps (NYSC). We need to ensure that computer science is integrated at the elementary level, which is the foundation of all learning. Because if we succeed in producing computer geniuses at the foundational level, we succeed in producing a generation of people who will transform us all. Exist and redefine life through technology.

So the foregoing ensures that all Nigerians, even those in our villages, will adopt technology and technology-driven teachings that will soon make Nigeria a developed nation.

Every step we take to fix our ecosystem’s flaws opens us up to a world of possibilities. There, Ed, Ekiti, Imo, Benue, or Nigerian villages in Katsina State will bring the next big global tech solution. It will not only be a smart city, but a smart village where integrated technology will create innovative schools and promote quality education and learning.

With the integration of technology into our villages, the world is now a global village, thus opening the local market to the international market. This will improve the nation’s economy and eradicate poverty, a perennial social challenge. The level of digitization of society becomes the new world poverty line. Africa’s Digital Technology Ecosystem will create giants among our nations as we power the transformation of the African continent and our villages and vital sectors are powered by technology. From Kalu village in Nigeria to Akrofu village in Ghana. Doumuga, Senegal. Kayonza, Rwanda; Masai, Kenya. Megdaz, Morocco. Shakaland Zulu village in South Africa. The world is not yet ready for what Africa is unleashing on the global tech ecosystem.

Africa is the future the world awaits. you have a role to play.

Guobadia is a non-executive director on the Board of Directors of Edo Innovates. Edo Innovates is his hub, the engine that drives Edo State’s technology and innovation by providing strategic policy guidance and leveraging skills development, investment promotion and technological advancements within the state. He is the founder of DBH Africa, a building infrastructure and technology solutions provider in West Africa. He actively supports startups in business strategy, operational optimization and technology.Source: Oswald Osaretin Guovadia




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