On the 17 May 2013 that question, “what’s happening in Africa in terms of business, technology and innovation?”, slapped me in my face, and I decided I was going to embark on a research mission into business and technology within sub-Saharan Africa. Attending events, reading books and online articles wasn’t enough. I felt I needed to be on the ground, experiencing the people and culture, meeting and building relationships with trusted entrepreneurs, business advisors, investors and government officials.
So where are you going?
Africa, but there were 54 countries to choose from! The decision was made to visit 5 countries in sub-Saharan Africa.
(1) I am originally from Sierra Leone, so going there was a must. From 1991 to 2002, civil war devastated the country and recovery has been slow. However, a variety of factors are finally combining to create a new sense of optimism about the country’s future.
(2) Ghana is investing in technology, it is constructing a $10billion tech hub, called HOPE city. Also, it has one of Africa’s most stable political systems and has been ranked as one of the world’s top ten fastest growing economies.
(3) South Africa is the largest and most developed economy in Africa. It is a member of BRICS the leading emerging economies in the world and is seen by many as the springboard into the rest of the continent.
(4) Kenya is the largest economy in east Africa and is a regional financial and transportation hub. Also, they too are investing in technology with projects such as the Konza Technology City (costing $10billion) and the implementation of the National ICT Master Plan.
(5) Nigeria is one of the fastest growing economies in the World, with a population of 162 million people. Also, it is the largest country in Africa and accounts for 47% of West Africa’s population.
Ok, but what changed?
I wasn’t going to Africa by myself anymore, after a few discussions I had people wanting to hear and find out more. That’s when I realized that this journey is more than a fact finding mission for myself, it is bigger than that. It is the beginning of a movement, which will connect African’s from the diaspora and people from elsewhere to the many opportunities in sub-Saharan Africa. I decided that the trip will be used to:
(1) Change the perception of what people see Africa as… Starving… Genocide… Poverty. To the real Africa, showing both sides of the coin.
(2) Establish relationships and networks, which can be used by others who are interested in business and technology in Africa.
(3) Share knowledge gained of the opportunities and constraints of doing business in Africa. Showing the different sectors that are not widely publicized by the media.
Ok, but what are you going to do when you get there? Who you going with? What is GoGetters?
To be continued…