Rooting for Africa; A Hotbed of Opportunities and Enormous Potential
Africans are no longer waiting for the ‘good things’ to come to them, rather, they’re heading out the door, rolling up some sleeves, getting their hands ‘dirty’ and finding them. They are armed, enthusiastic and eager to take on whatever will see their continent develop now more than ever. The hunger for learning and seizing the opportunity is now deeply rooted across the African continent and the results so far are amazing.
At the forefront of this are the youth who are estimated to be about 41% below 15 years old while another 19% are youth between 15 and 24 years old. This is an addition to the African population which is expected to increase from about 1.2 billion people to 2.2 billion people between 2015 and 2050.
In the past decades, Africa has made it known to the rest of the world about its vast capabilities and how it has a wealth of talent in a number of things. There is potential in Africa and everyone seems to want a share of what the continent has to offer. From burgeoning tourism, rich culture, flourishing agricultural sector, minerals in abundance and emerging tech talent. Technology has proved that Africa is indeed welcoming with open arms and also innovating its way to the future.
According to Internet world stats, there were over 453million estimated internet users in Africa by 2017 with a 35.2% penetration representing about 10.9% of the total world internet users. With this expected to grow widely by 2026, Africa is increasingly adopting advanced forms of technology and usage is becoming easier each day that goes by.
Notably, Africa has been home to some of the amazing innovations that have improved on service delivery in various sectors such as health, transport, e-governance et el. These innovations that are mainly from individuals and tech incubation hubs have seen a transformation in millions of Africans lives and their way of lifestyle. From mere apps to systems that make access to services easy with just a click of a button, Africa truly is excited to be part of the transformation change brought about by technology.
Boda Boda transportation hailing service, SafeBoda sprung to prominence years ago in Uganda thanks to its convenience, safety and simplicity. There have been many more innovations that have come into existence thanks to technology in Africa.
“If you’re someone who is looking for the next hottest thing, you want to find where the next dose of talent is that can really make a difference, Africa is that place. You don’t have to keep looking in your backyard because there’s nobody there. Forget it. Come here, the next generation is here, there are many of us and we are ready to contribute.” — Seni Sulyman, Andela VP, Global Operations
A few years ago, the gaps that made it hard for Africa to move forward are now rapidly being replaced with a global economy capable of being powered by a device in the palm of our hands. The emerging technologies have proven to be such an enabler of immense development, increased accountability, simplified the field education, and has made access to services easier than before among the world’s most vulnerable citizens.
Because of the enormous tech potential that Africa has, there have been various types of tech hubs established in Africa in a bid to play a crucial role in the innovation ecosystem through facilitating easy access to technology and digital tools. These niche-focused tech hubs and programmes continue to rise across Africa the year and have brought about more value-filled engagement and collaboration at co-working platforms and a more effective model for incubation of tech ideas.
Zuckerberg’s backed Initiative Andela launched in Kenya, Lagos, Rwanda and Uganda to groom tech talent from Africa. Founded in 2014 with corporate headquarters in New York, Andela trains software developers for six months and then deploys them to tech companies around the world that need their skills. It places a high premium on vetting and has received over 60,000 applications since launch. Andela is powering the future of work by investing in Africa’s most talented software developers.
With its rapid spread in Africa, Andela has presented African developers with global opportunities and new career paths and scholars predict that Andela and other developer training schools and programs could possibly play a role in solving the unemployment problem prevalent in many African countries.
In his interview, Seni Sulyman, Andela VP, Global Operations noted that “Andela has allowed African developers to believe that they can be part of the global ecosystem, which is a fundamental requirement. No one else can value you until you value yourself. We’ve given people the platform by, yes developing the talent, but also by connecting the talent to real jobs in real teams where they’re working side by side with engineers that schooled elsewhere and they begin to see that, ‘Okay, this person and I are equally smart and are able to deliver the work to the same extent.’”
However, the emergence of the 4th Industrial Revolution that has seen the rise, robotics, Machine Learning(ML), Virtual Realities (VRs), artificial intelligence (AI) has been seen as a threat to existing jobs in a continent already struggling to create sufficient employment opportunities. Reports indicate that 80% of current jobs will disappear in the next 25 years.
Although this may partly true, these new technologies could help bring about newer solutions did not exist before and could create new jobs and opportunities. This only means that if we continue to run away from tech, the more it will disrupt us. The access to tech emerging cutting-edge technologies has also increased unprecedented opportunity in Africa.