‘It’s not always about the numbers, few with achievable ideas matters.’ –Mike Aboagye, Technology Journalist
21st century is certainly the ‘age of technology’. Not less than Ninety startups or tech hubs are likely to be found in Africa .
However, the big question is whether or not majority of startups would favor Africa come next five years or beyond. Are we going to witness a better economy than the previous ? Could rapid growth of startups change the status quo of Africa’s economy rapidly or would it take years to build a solid continent like of that of France, Germany, and other European countries?
Below are the three main reasons if care is not taken, mammoth startups regarded as a catalyst might later be tag as an antagonist.
1) Same Old Ideas
As the adage goes, ‘Ideas makes the world go round.’ Hence, In order to raise the bar regarding startups in Africa, ideas ought to be different, achievable, but not the same old ideas .
For instance in Kenya, I have observed with keen interest, the rapid growth of tech startups week in, week out. Kenya is gradually carving a niche in the tech Industry. However, the main disadvantage of startups in Kenya is ‘lack of fresh ideas’.
More than ten or so tech startups on the streets of Nairobi is geared at solving E- payments service. Although solving E- payment service is deemed to be a good idea for futuristic reasons, it does not project Kenya ( including other African countries) as a country of diverse ideas.
Apart from Kytabu, Eneza Education and others whose visions or goals are geared towards different sectors, it would be of profound note if tech startups venture into different sectors to help in solving other problems challenging Africa.
2) Over Competition
‘If you light a lamp for someone else, it will also brighten your path.’ – Buddha
Here in Africa, startups from different regions are competing against each other. According to social media observation, some countries reportedly claim to be the leading hub of tech development , belittling the ideas of other similar startups in other nations.We shouldn’t judge or compare other countries tech development. Although competition is good for a developing continent like Africa, it shouldn’t go beyond the standard limit. Over-competition spoils the ‘game’. All we ought to do is to cooperate with each other. Unless we repose our trust solidly in ‘Total Cooperation’ , Africa’s progress in the tech industry remains uncertain.
3) Inadequate Publicity
Due to the mammoth nature of startups sprawled all over the continent, it makes it difficult for the media to winnow the chaff out of the wheat. In a nutshell, it is difficult for the media to publish interesting stories about promising startups and tech development in Africa. For instance in South Africa, tech startups such as Obox , ZANDO , and PayFast among others are some of the well –known startups on the streets of Johannesburg, Capetown, and Pretoria . Although the rest are doing quite well, inadequate publicity stands between them and global recognition. Thus, if we desire a change in Africa’s IT Industry, we should grant adequate publicity to unknown startups struggling for due attention.
If these three solid reasons are addressed properly, we could certainly witness a rare improvement in the technology Industry and such change is likely to affect and effect a change in Africa’s economy.