A Defined Perspective

Kelvin Jiraji
Kelvin Jiraji
  • Kelvin Jiraji

 As an innovator leveraging emerging technologies on the continent of Africa, my viewpoint on emerging technologies, revolutions, and crises currently prevailing in the business environment, that I believe will act as a mantra for success for entrepreneurs and professionals who wish to grow in this broad-based market and how they can strategically plan the actions that will help them to lead their organization in a much better way are?

Emerging technologies refer to innovations that are in the early stages of development or deployment and have the potential to significantly impact various industries and aspects of society. These technologies often represent breakthroughs or advancements in fields such as Information Technology, Biotechnology, Renewable Energy, Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, and more.

In the context of Africa, emerging technologies have the potential to bring about transformative changes in various sectors, including agriculture, healthcare, finance, manufacturing, and education.

Here are some examples of emerging technologies and their implications for businesses in Africa:

Digital Connectivity and Mobile Technology: The widespread adoption of mobile phones and improving internet connectivity across the continent have opened opportunities for businesses to reach previously underserved markets. Mobile banking, mobile health solutions, and e-commerce platforms are flourishing, enabling businesses to tap into a larger customer base.

Agricultural Technology (AgTech): Africa’s predominantly agrarian economy can benefit immensely from AgTech innovations. Precision agriculture, remote sensing and data-driven farming techniques can optimize crop yields, reduce resource wastage and enhance food security. Emerging technologies will address the inefficiencies in the agricultural supply chains and will improve the ROI and livelihood of smallholder farmers on the continent.

Renewable Energy Solutions: Solar power and other renewable energy sources hold promises for addressing Africa’s energy challenges. Businesses can invest in off-grid solutions to provide electricity to rural areas and support local economic development.

FinTech: Financial technology is transforming the way Africans access financial services. Mobile money platforms, peer-to-peer lending and digital payment systems are improving financial inclusion and offering new avenues for businesses to engage with consumers.

Healthcare Innovations: Telemedicine, mobile health apps and wearable health devices have the potential to bridge the healthcare gap in remote and underserved areas. Businesses can develop and deploy solutions that provide better healthcare access to communities.

Artificial Intelligence (AI): AI can enhance business operations, customer service and decision-making. In agriculture, AI can predict weather patterns and optimize planting schedules, while in urban areas, AI-powered systems can manage traffic and infrastructure. Unfortunately, Africa is not investing in AI as much as expected.

Blockchain Technology: Blockchain makes more sense in Africa in terms of disruptive use cases than anywhere in the world. Blockchain can improve transparency, traceability and security in supply chains which are some of the major challenges on the continent. This is particularly valuable for sectors like agriculture, where supply chain efficiencies and tracking the origin of products is crucial.

3D Printing: 3D printing has the potential to revolutionize manufacturing and reduce the reliance on imports. Local businesses can produce customized products and components at a lower cost.

Education Technology (EdTech): With the growth of EdTech, remote learning platforms and digital educational resources can improve access to quality education across the continent. The potent way to accelerate the adoption of emerging technologies in Africa is through education and policy re-engineering.

Smart Cities and Internet of Things (IoT): As African cities grow, smart city technologies and IoT can enhance urban infrastructure, improve resource management and enhance the quality of life for residents.

Robotics and Automation: Automation can optimize industrial processes, improve efficiency and create new opportunities for skilled labor in fields such as robotics maintenance and programming.

Implications for Businesses:

Competitive Advantage: Early adopters of emerging technologies can gain a competitive edge by offering innovative solutions that meet the needs of African consumers and markets.

Market Expansion: Emerging technologies will enable businesses to reach new markets, especially in remote or underserved rural areas that were previously difficult to access.

Operational Efficiency: Automation and data-driven insights can enhance business processes, reduce costs and improve overall efficiency.

Innovation Ecosystems: The adoption of emerging technologies can foster collaboration between businesses, startups, research institutions, and governments, contributing to a thriving innovation ecosystem.

Skills Development: The demand for skilled workers in emerging technology fields presents opportunities for training and education programs that can bridge the skills gap.

However, businesses must also consider challenges such as infrastructure limitations, Economic Volatility, Political Instability and Governance Issues, Talent Shortages, regulatory hurdles, clean data and data privacy concerns, and ensuring that technological solutions are culturally appropriate and inclusive. A thoughtful and context-aware approach to adopting and integrating emerging technologies will be crucial for businesses seeking to harness their potential for growth and impact in Africa.

The next wave of opportunities in Africa is in rural Africa, and I strongly believe emerging technologies will play a critical role if properly leveraged in unlocking opportunities in rural Africa. Unlocking these opportunities will require a combination of technological innovation, collaboration among stakeholders, and an understanding of local needs and context.

Governments, businesses, innovators, non-profits and development organizations will play a vital role in harnessing emerging technologies to create sustainable and inclusive development in rural Africa.