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Akintoye Akindele: Africa’s next big thing will be its tech startups

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Altering the continent’s narrative will entail fixing previous issues whereas additionally harnessing the ability of latest applied sciences, says Akindele, a serial entrepreneur and investor from Nigeria.

Talking forward of receiving the African Enterprise Chief of the 12 months Award 2022 on the UK’s Home of Lords on Monday, Akindele informed CNN the following massive factor out of the continent would be the tech trade.

With extra publicity and thru encouraging creativity by giving innovators permission to fail, Africa can take its tech sector world, repeating the success of its Afrobeats music trade, Akindele argues.

Afrobeats has had a meteoric rise with songs by African artists topping charts and changing into a fixture at events and nightclubs globally. On the just lately held BET (Black Leisure Tv) Awards 2022, in Los Angeles, the Nigerian duo of Wizkid and Tems fended off powerful competitors from extra established US stars similar to Kendrick Lamar, Doja Cat and Drake to win the Finest Collaboration Award.

Africa’s tech panorama can also be more and more attracting consideration — and funding. Between 2015 and 2021, whole annual funding flowing into African tech startups has grown by 1,000 per cent in line with the African Tech Startups Funding Report 2021.

In keeping with the report, 125 tech startups in Africa raised $185 million in funding in 2015 however in 2021, 564 startups raised $2.1 billion.

Africa’s tech ecosystem has seen the emergence of a number of unicorns. In international locations like Nigeria, which is house to 5 of the continent’s seven tech unicorns, these success tales are nonetheless largely seen as Nigerian and African and never really world tech firms. Akindele famous that taking African tech firms world would additionally require efforts much like how Afrobeats turned identified around the globe.

“Afrobeats was a deliberate export by the individuals within the enterprise who genuinely imagine that they might compete with the most effective on this planet. The identical approach Afrobeats turned mainstream, step by step, our tech ecosystem can also be changing into mainstream,” he informed CNN.

“A Love Affair with Failure”

Akindele has simply launched a guide “A Love Affair with Failure: When Hitting Backside Turns into a Launchpad to Success,” collectively written with Olakunle Soriyan. They argue that many individuals don’t fulfill their full potential as a result of they’re afraid to fail. However with out taking dangers, improvements that would propel Africa’s and the world’s development won’t emerge.

“Failure is an effective factor to engender curiosity and innovation. The whole lot that may be a success right this moment has its basis in failing. To encourage extra individuals in Africa to not be afraid, we’re sharing relatable tales that can make them understand that it doesn’t matter what they’re going by way of, magic is feasible,” he informed CNN.

Akindele famous that Africa’s burgeoning fintech ecosystem is simply a couple of decade previous however he has excessive hopes for its development within the world market.

In early June 2022, it was introduced that an African fintech firm MFS Africa acquired Oklahoma-based International Know-how Companions for $34 million — a transfer that Monetary Instances described as “a uncommon case of an African group doing a tech deal within the US.”

“I believe an period is coming when African fintech firms will purchase world monetary establishments, forming a wedding, as a result of by fixing money issues on the continent, they’re [also] fixing world money issues,” Akindele mentioned.

Constructing the brand new Africa

Akindele can also be the chairman of Platform Capital, a enterprise capital outfit that invests in tech firms internationally, however principally in Africa. In Might 2022, Platform Capital introduced an funding in Zuri Well being, an organization that connects sufferers with inexpensive healthcare companies by way of SMS, WhatsApp and a devoted app. Akindele famous that tech may be an avenue for Africa to rapidly clear up its issues, meet up with and overtake the remainder of the world.

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“Know-how has lowered boundaries to drawback fixing, market entry, data and the whole lot. The market-know-how is now extra accessible,” he mentioned.

Among the many many outfits Akindele runs is Duport Midstream Firm Restricted, which is creating what it describes as Nigeria’s first vitality park. Situated in Edo state, the corporate mentioned the park would come with a refinery, fuel processing plant, a compressed pure fuel plant, and an influence plant, over a five-year interval. Not directly, hundreds of lives can be impacted from the vitality park, Akindele mentioned.

However constructing the brand new Africa additionally entails coping with among the challenges that the continent continues to battle with — insufficient vitality provide and meals crises in some international locations — whereas additionally investing in, and being actively concerned, in new applied sciences.

“We’re not left behind in any approach,” Akindele mentioned. “We basically imagine that the youth and the previous of Africa can work collectively to construct a brand new Africa.”

He famous that the “older guys” know the right way to construct heavy trade infrastructure whereas the “newer guys” know the right way to construct agile companies. And in addition to fixing longstanding issues of meals, infrastructure, vitality, and transport, “we then match them with funds, robotics, well being tech and others. Africa will be capable to create a world the place it might decide its personal future.”

Akindele argues that regardless of the myriad challenges Nigeria struggles with, he’s “hopeful and assured” within the Nigerian narrative. “We’re stronger than we expect we’re,” he mentioned.

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