Recently, Africa 4 Tech completed its 72 hour “open innovation bootcamp”. There were several conclusions innovators reached that could help develop the tech sector in Africa. Some are been longstanding concerns, while others reinforce positions too few have recognised.
Africa 4 Tech in summary
As Africa Business Review highlights:
“From 2-4 November in Marrakech, Morocco, Africa 4 Tech convened more than 200 scientists, world leaders, entrepreneurs, and technologists from 17 countries across Africa to source, design and code solutions to tackle some of the continent’s biggest challenges: agriculture, education, energy and health.”
From this fertile environment, plenty of ideas were bound to arise. Let’s consider the most important insights gleaned from this meeting of minds.
Empowering women empowers everyone
There remains unequal gender representation in business and tech. This is an issue because it simply can’t be the case that only men are skilled enough to run, manage, create and innovate in business and tech. As Intel has highlighted, closing the gender gap means adding $50-60bn in terms of market value, $13-18bn to GDP. Of course, women in Africa face the additional hurdle of operating in environments with fewer resources for accessibility, severely limiting them even further from being able to raise themselves out of dire situations.
Even if a young innovator has an excellent idea, they aren’t told what to do about this. This is due to education systems not catering to technology or the needs of developing tech ideas. Larissa Uwase, who was precisely in this position, noted: “Even if you have an idea, you don’t know where to go with it.” Governments must begin restructuring priorities, in this new digital age – especially when it provides incredible opportunities for African citizens on the world stage.
The reality of time
Despite the enormous power Silicon Valley has over the world, it still took time to come to fruition – even with the backing of geniuses from NASA and other institutions. The same can be said of Africa’s tech space. With fewer resources, less infrastructure and greater obstacles obstructing the average citizen, tech will take some time to find its feet – though considering the enormous leaps Africa has already taken, there’s a chance it won’t take as long and for us to really see the benefits. However, the main message is we can’t expect it to happen any time soon.
Picture credit: Taken Forum de Bamako Twitter account