Highlights from 500 Startups welcome dinner in Accra, organised by…
The narrative for African investment has been distorted for some time. Far too often the entrepreneurial spirit and character of Africa has been ignored in the West.
Now, in the face of global economic uncertainty, the opportunity for growth in Africa is unmatched. In order for this potential to be realised, the Kwanji team have outlined four main issues that must be addressed:
1. Investment Not Aid
The current model of foreign aid has outstayed its welcome. To be frank, it doesn’t work. Instead of promoting economic growth, arguably the opposite occurred. Instead, a continued commitment to investment is what’s needed. It’s what laid the foundation for Kenya’s diverse and innovative tech scene that has grown up this decade.
2. Pan-African Trade
In the face of the Chinese Yuan devaluation; threats to Eurozone stability; concerns in the US and an ever-weakening LATAM, the time is ripe for greater expansion of integrated African markets. We’ve already seen the success of the East African Community (EAC) – Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda have all benefitted greatly. Africa must now push ahead with a continental free trade area.
3. Dynamic Middle Class
Africa’s middle class is already subject to debate and conjecture; the nature of Africa’s middle class is open to debate. Measured as the fastest growing in the world, more still needs to be done. Greater public investment is needed by local governments to foster a more inclusive, dynamic middle class. Not only will it facilitate internal growth, but it will allow African businesses to take their services, products and skill sets to the world.
4. Technological Innovation
Technological innovation has already taken root in Africa. For many, mobile has become king. It has helped disrupt traditional, inefficient payments processes and infrastructure. However, disparity in terms of adoption and infrastructure across Africa still exist. The priority must now focus on making the Internet and relevant online services available to all and reducing the bottlenecks slowing down change. Africa needs to find its own technological voice in order to stand up for itself in the global digital arena.
At Kwanji, we’re committed to helping overcome these issues. Focusing on trade and payment, our aspiration is to help Africa enter the global marketplace on a level playing field without being overcharged for the privilege.
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