Tech startups are changing the way Africa does business with the rest of the World. Annual conferences such as AfricaCom host awe-inspiring tech startups from all over the continent and abroad; thus echoing the change in traditional business. According to African tech startup funding report, African startups raised funding of more than US$195 million in 2017, up 51% on 2016; with the number of startups also increasing to 159. This represents the most successful year of fundraising by African tech startups since the tracking began.

African tech startups present African solutions to African problems in a very innovative way, throughout various fronts, from farming, health, education, etc. Agrocenta, is a Ghanaian startup that has introduced an online sales platform that connects smallholder farmers directly to an online market and client base. This has allowed farmers to sell their crops at prices favourable to them. In South Africa, KhombaAfrica has made its debut in the tech space. KhombaAfrica, is a localized business directory with features of an E-commerce platform. The platform links SMME’s with consumers close to them who need their products/services. Furthermore, this affords SMME’s a more efficient digital presence.

It is evident that technologies promise to have an enormous impact on Africa’s socio-economic development. However, access to the internet continues to pose as a hindrance to Africa’s progress. A report by the teleography articulates that; a quarter of Africans get internet on their mobile phones and for those living in larger cities such as Johannesburg, Lagos and Nairobi data is expensive. The report also articulates that a wholesale cost of internet connectivity in Johannesburg is estimated to be $9 a month for each megabit per second of capacity; this is about 20 times as much as in London and about ten times as much as Los Angeles.

Project Isizwe, is amongst the innovative disruptors to the MNO industry, by offering and advocating for Wi-Fi internet access. Wi-Fi signals can carry a lot more data per second than those used by 3G or 4G phones. Additionally, Wi-Fi equipment is inexpensive because it is mass-produced by competing firms.

The case is evident, to ensure growing investment on tech startups, Africa must focus on realizing affordable if not free Wireless internet access; thus, allowing for digital inclusion. Tech Startups will not flourish more or contribute to the continents socio-economic growth by servicing a few.

Dudu Mkhwanazi
CEO Project Isizwe