Africa is seen as a fertile ground for emerging and innovative technologies. This is evidenced by the influx of international companies that attempt to render innovative solutions to the continent’s problems. Undoubtedly, that is a gap in development that Africa needs to close up when compared with other continents of the world. The pressing question at the moment is whether Africa is doing enough to pursue this trend or not.
Considering the socio-political atmosphere and the kind of leaders currently running the affairs of many governments in Africa, one will be tempted to ask if Africa is truly prepared for the coming revolution.
Africa is Ripe for a Tech Revolution
Franklin Peters, CEO of Bitfxt, Africa’s pioneer indigenous cryptocurrency exchange is of the opinion that while Africa is long ripe for this revolution, its leaders are not. Peters notes that the majority of leaders in Africa today are out of touch with the current realities of technological development. Worse still, he thinks that there is a lack of political will from this same set of leaders to look into the future. According to Peters, their interests lie in safeguarding the traditional processes because of the flaws therein. These flaws are designed to enrich them and keep the masses beneath and this is hindering Africa’s preparedness to tap into the ongoing revolution.
Across the globe, the field of emerging technology is categorized as an industry for the younger generation. This is even more obvious in Africa, where the younger generation seldom have any other alternative other than fending for themselves. The tech industry provides the leverage for the youths of Africa to at least get to work without completely depending on the government. This does not come without its own challenges, especially in the area of infrastructure and regulatory support.
Even at this level, Peters thinks that the government is not doing enough yet to support the young people who are struggling on their own to create opportunities.
I may not say they are doing just enough, but, Yes! the youths have found a way to ‘keep body and soul together’, leveraging on the internet. Most of them have equipped themselves with various knowledge they were never taught in school and they have also found a way to cater for their daily needs through these skills. All they need is a supportive government and a suiting economy and they will be on their way to the skies.
The Challenges Faced By Young Techpreneurs in Africa
Peters notes that the key challenges faced by young African entrepreneurs revolves around the lack of support and funding. “There are available funding they will always say but accessing in will almost require you to provide your great grannies first strand of gray hair, says Peters. “Also, the scarcity and inferiority mentality adopted by end users has made them show less support to local brands and startups. They would rather patronize foreign brands offering similar services than local brands.”
To get out of this difficult situation, Peters recommends that the government would need to provide and sustain basic amenities such as electricity, “internet” access and education. Also, the government needs to enact policies that make the local brands keep up to foreign standards as well as make it difficult for foreign brands to dominate our market. This, he says will make the local users see reasons to patronize indigenous brands. Government must also recognise, support, promote and celebrate local brands internationally, especially when they are exported.
Peters continued by expressing his dissatisfaction with the current set of African leaders, especially in Nigeria. According to him, there is little hope for this current set of government officials to provide the necessary conditions for innovation to thrive. To this end, he believes that the ideal way out of this difficult situation is through the ballot box at the next general elections. He hopes that by then, the youths can exercise their electoral rights and vote in the right set of leaders who can encourage development through proper policy making and implementation.
Bitfxt Takes Responsibility
So far, Peters is playing a role in the tech industry through Bitfxt by certain product implementations that support young entrepreneurs. One of such products is the startup launchpad feature on the Bitfxt exchange. This launchpad allows local startups to raise funds through a peer-to-peer crowdfunding system.
People can also learn crypto trading skills and make additional income on the Bitfxt exchange. Despite being a young startup, the exchange has been able to employ a couple of staff across Nigeria. This is a key solution to one of the nation’s most pressing problems, the problem of unemployment, especially among the youths.
Bitfxt also runs an academy that teaches people different valuable skills ranging from tech to vocationals. The goal of the startup, according to Peters is to keep expanding and doing more work until it succeeds in placing Africa on the map of the tech world.