Global efforts in technological advancements quickly intertwine with economic boosts. The Bain and Company 2021 technology report outlines technology reshaping the economy, leading in artificial intelligence and other competitions from the United States to India, but the report displays little to no African tech contributions and overall voice in global technology and economic developments. Yet, African countries and advocates have proven they are a mighty force in technology progress, with more opportunities and services surfacing in the technology ecosystem.
“African tech entrepreneurs are in a position of power if they have the right resources,” Taha Elraaid, founder of Lamah Technologies, a company nurturing large-scale digital transformation, told The Plug. “We’re able to look at the rise and fall of tech giants and understand why certain technologies have failed or succeeded.”
According to a Boston Consulting Group (BCG) report, Africa presents a vast opportunity for tech entrepreneurs because of the continent’s youthful and growing population, rising internet penetration and the application of emerging technologies that have the potential to improve access to healthcare and finances.
Seven African start-ups were included in World Economic Forum (WEF) 2021 cohort of 100 Technology Pioneers: 54gene, mPharma, Cambridge Industries, FlexFinTx, Kuda, Moringa School and Sokowatch. Since 2000, the annual selection of tech start-ups has honored the likes of Google, Airbnb, Twitter and Spotify. The cohort’s inclusion of these start-ups shows Africa’s growing presence in global technology.
Abasi Ene-Obong, chief executive of 54gene, a company specializing in sequencing African genomes, helped pivot covid-19 mobile testing laboratories in Nigeria. This process paused the company’s international expansion plan, but after raising $15 million in April 2020, 54gene is set to get back to its core business as soon as possible. Ene-Obong continues to harness genomic data to help researchers quickly develop treatments tailored to the genetic characteristics of Africans, according to The African report.
Other companies have followed similar technology practices. Gregory Rockson is the co-founder of mPharma, a company that helps furnish laboratories in Ghana and Nigeria with molecular diagnostic equipment for Covid-19 testing through a special $3 million fund. MPharma donated free vaccines for healthcare workers to the Ghanaian government. The company has raised $53 million since its founding and acquired Kenyan pharmacy Haltons in 2019 for an undisclosed amount. Rockson plans to stretch the company’s footprint to Ethiopia.
African entrepreneurs are working to ensure global financial opportunities using technology.
“One huge technological development that is happening in Africa right now is the development of its own blockchain,” Stefan Ateljevic, founder and CEO of Cryptoblokes, told The Plug. “This would allow cross-border payments from Africa to the world, opening up new economies and empowering the unbanked.”
Afrostar, a digital currency of Africa, has been gaining headlines as Africa's first official cryptocurrency, with plans of launching a blockchain by late 2022. The digital currency also plans to target investors worldwide; the crypto token aims to provide a range of powerful real-world use cases. The company rewards investors who have their tokens in unique deflationary tokenomics, the economics of crypto tokens or cryptocurrencies.
According to Coinmarketcap, Afrostar’s current price is $1.56e-8 ($1.56 to the eighth power) with a 24-hour trading volume of $147,348. Investors can put money into a trade Binance coin (BNB) trade for an Afrostar token. Afrostar held a pre-sale where they supplied 40 percent of the total token as a part of the currency’s launch. The distribution of the token, which has a total supply of 1 quadrillion, has been strategically planned to optimize the project’s success resulting in investor benefits.
Yet another contender, Cardano uses a public blockchain platform for solutions to improve the national ID system in Ethiopia. The company plans to use blockchain in many sectors such as education, mobile technology and other areas in Ethiopia and Tasmania, according to a Crypto Mode report. At the time of publishing, the Cardano price was $1.64 with a 24-hour trading volume of over $3 million USD.
The blockchain platform can strengthen African financial safety as the continent’s young population and rising digital adoption coupled with the lack of any legacy monetary systems, according to a Business Insider report.
In a statement, eToro, a trading platform, will be limiting crypto assets Cardano (ADA) and tron (TRX) for U.S. customers starting in December due to “business-related considerations” in the evolving regulatory environment. U.S.traders are still able to “securely hold existing positions” for the two cryptocurrencies, but not establish new trading positions.
Africa is exponentially contributing to global technology and economic growth in almost every industry. The country is on the fast track to exploring new technologies with the development of investments and young entrepreneurs.
Sponsored Series: This reporting is made possible by the The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation
The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation is a private, nonpartisan foundation based in Kansas City, Mo., that seeks to build inclusive prosperity through a prepared workforce and entrepreneur-focused economic development. The Foundation uses its $3 billion in assets to change conditions, address root causes, and break down systemic barriers so that all people – regardless of race, gender, or geography – have the opportunity to achieve economic stability, mobility, and prosperity. For more information, visit www.kauffman.org and connect with us at www.twitter.com/kauffmanfdn and www.facebook.com/kauffmanfdn.