ENTREPRENEURSHIP : African tech promoters count on Africa-Europe collaboration for startup boom
Technology has become the main driver for entrepreneurship and youth engagement in community development within the African ecosystem.
According to a report published on Tech Cabal on October 7, 2022, Africa had so far raked in USD $4 billion from startups in 2022. The report also shows that Africa is now home to seven unicorns (startups with valuations of over 1 billion US dollars): Jumia, Interswitch, Flutterwave, Andela, Wave, OPay and Chipper Cash. Tech promoters in Africa are using the Our Futur Africa-Europe Dialogues Forum holding in Yaounde Cameroon from December 1 to 3, under the theme “Getting Committed”, to advance a more fruitful future of collaboration between Europe and Africa in advancing tech startups.
While technology is about the sure way out of the high rate of unemployment faced in Africa, a lot of tech startups that have the potential to employ millions of African youths often start up with so much enthusiasm but end up folding up before their second year runs out. A few startups have the potential to scale up and expand across several countries but the process often takes time.
According to Prince Youlou, a young Congolese startup promoter, some countries governance and economic systems makes it difficult for startups to thrive. “It is challenging allover French speaking countries in Africa because we do not have the ecosystem needed for an entrepreneur or startup to succeed. It is difficult pitching to investors and they hardly take you seriously. They do not advice you on what to do and most often, we are inclined to go to English speaking countries with good economic systems like Ghana and Nigeria where the system is booming”, Prince says.
Prince is a co-founder of Niochi, a Congolese tourist management application that helps tourists have an exciting local experience at exactly their budget levels. Niochi presents tourists with a variety of options from top exotic to non-exotic locations, giving tourists a wide range of options to choose according to their budget. To Prince, talking about collaboration between Africa and Europe needs to come from a perspective of expertise. “I truly feel like we have to be more conscious of our challenges and we have to be willing to change things. We cannot go to the table to talk about partnerships of better strategies when we do not know who we are or what our challenges are. So for me, I am going to begin talking with my peers in Africa to see how we can collaborate to solve our challenges first before taking them further » he says. He is low looking for « a win-win relationship where we partner to solve common challenges faced both in Africa and Europe and helping each other to succeed.”
Maurice Cashinco, Managing Director of Kumasi Hive, a tech innovation space in the Ashanti region in Ghana thinks young Africans must first of all focus on building skills before engaging in the tech innovation ventures they plan on starting. To him, African youths must be fully prepared for both political and economic leadership. Operating a network of about 23 hubs across eight African countries, Cashinco and team are building skills of young Africans to bring solutions to Africa’s problems. He is co-founder of the solar taxi and electric vehicle company in Ghana, which seeks to promote green energy.
According to him, “tech and innovation are producing more human capital than universities have produced but no one is talking about it ». « Everyone thinks you must go through a university system to get certified before you get a job but we think things have changed and people can get skills in eight months and get the same job », he pursues.
Maurice says while he is excited about the dialogue process, he is more interested in the impact : “I am more concerned about the actions that will take place after this conference. We must have key performance indicators as a way of measuring the impact of this forum. I want a collective forum between Africa and Europe that liaisses youths in Africa with those in Europe to identify and solve community problems together. I also look at the possibility of us engaging the rural youths more in such broad platforms”.
Sah Terence ANIMBOM with Médias & Démocratie (M&D)