Africans are rising to take their shares in the global business market.
At the 2017 Verdant Zeal Innovention series 6.0, the event witnessed experts and professionals from diverse specialization field in business.
Business leaders across diverse specialty across Africa highlighted some challenges facing SMEs, entrepreneurs even as they acknowledged that the Information Communication Technology (ICT) had taken the centre stage in global business in the western world and Africa is still lacking behead in the use of ICT to drive successful business growth of entrepreneurship in Africa
One of the speakers, Mr. Tunji Olugbodi, Executive Vice Chairman, Verdant Zeal Group, reviewed that Internet penetration in Africa had been gathering momentum over the years as the Africa continent sought to close the Information Communication Technology (ICT) vacuum with the Western world ahead of africa.
Mr. Tunji Olugbodi elaborated on the topic ‘How technology is driving Africa’s new narrative’, stated that in recent years, a lot of African countries had embraced technology as a driver of development.
That statistics put Internet penetration in the Africa continent at 28.6 per cent, with Nigeria having 11.3 per cent of the total penetration in Africa Continent.
“This shows that Nigeria is a big player in the African market”.
That Nigeria was the leader in this regard, it was expected to be among the top 10 Internet-using countries in the world by 2018.
That “Africa is gradually moving from a resource-based economy to knowledge-based, innovation-driven economy. This has helped in impacting our youths as more of them demonstrate above average exposure to the Internet, sharing ideas, content and commercial opportunities seamlessly across the globe.
“Amidst these giant strides in technology, there still remains a large demography of young people, mostly women, who remain in rural and semi-urban areas, below the poverty line and seem unable to tap into this new economy.”
That innovention lecture is aimed at providing pragmatic ways of helping Africa’s young, yet vulnerable population gain the requisite skills to lift themselves out of poverty and participate in the global economy, which was currently dictated by technology.
That “The Small and Medium Enterprises that are also key to Africa’s growth need to efficiently harness the power of technology to make a quantum leap so they can contribute to helping Africa develop on a continental scale,” he stated.
The Co-founder, She Leads Africa, AfuaOsel, noted that limited internet access posed challenges for small businesses in Africa.
That while most businesses grew into multi-million dollar enterprises online, African small businesses lacked the finance and Internet access to push their products and services to more clients.
“Technology should make it easier for more small entrepreneurs to do business online. There should be more Internet access and finance to buy data and fund online marketing,” she said.
The Founder, JC Capital, a South African firm, Joel Chimhanda, disclosed that African leaders needed to situate their discussions around water, energy, power and the economy.
That energy is power, that for the 50 million people in South Africa, there were 50,000 installed megawatts of electricity as opposed to Nigeria where 180 million people struggled with less than 5,000MW of electricity.
That Africa healthcare industry was worth $10bn, adding that it could grow to $50bn if it was not impeded by production costs facing the manufacturers.
That “The cost of getting the product to the final consumer is 60 times more expensive due to costs associated with its production. By the time the product gets out, it becomes far more expensive than the ones produced under more conducive conditions. Africa’s cost structure cannot compete on the global platform.
“The infrastructure that is in Nigeria was set up to enable people take raw materials out. We need to have infrastructure that will allow domestic business and trade.”
Maya Faomdu, Founder and CEO of Ingressive, acknowledged that young Nigerians were very creative and called for more support for them in the area of access to technology and capital.
That government policy should be friendly, business accommodating and supporting innovation.