As a young man growing up in Africa, I have spent most of my career on the buy-side of investment teams seeking, analyzing and supporting companies in this part of the world. This has given me a unique view of not just the possibilities but also the magnificence in her people and culture. My thoughts and outlook have been shaped by this truly indigenous and authentic African experience.
Despite Africa’s potential, the continent has largely remained behind its peers owing to the myriad of economic and sociocultural problems it is confronted with, this however has offered numerous opportunities for solution-minded entrepreneurs to thrive. “The next high growth market”, a persistent title that has lingered around for a while and rightly so; the demographics; the youngest and fastest growing globally, increasing urbanization trend, abundance of natural resources, rapid adoption of digitization (mobile phone penetration expected to651 million people by 2025-GSMA). These are all critical in providing a multiplier effect on economic growth. Driving consumer information, job creation, networking, and financial inclusion. I am highly optimistic and believe that the fast-growing digital ecosystem can help the continent leapfrog ahead in its economic development. The ongoing digital revolution is transforming economies and driving innovation across all economic sectors – from education to healthcare, agriculture to telecommunications will require innovative solutions and inclusive finance strategies.
Africa has world-class entrepreneurs that are working to solve the significant economic and structural challenges the continent faces. However, raising critical funding from investors is hard due partially to the perception of heightened risk in frontier markets. But this difficult environment is precisely where I see incredible opportunities. The variety of industries, along with the diversity and entrepreneurial dynamics of each country makes our work incredibly rewarding.
I am passionate about education and its ability to transform lives and communities. Education provides a level playing field for children of all backgrounds. It is a critical catalyst that brings light to corridors where hope seems lost, providing a fighting chance for all. I strongly believe that every child deserves access to quality education as that is instrumental to sustainable economic growth of any community.
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena..." — Theodore Roosevelt
Taking action is the only power - at least this is what this quote teaches me. I intermittently come back to it, as a charge to push forward knowing that challenges are expected in everyday life.
Tips for entrepreneurs looking to raise capital; Two words “Perseverance and flexibility”
Perseverance to push through barriers. Flexibility to learn to seek advice and assistance. Founders can easily become too caught up in their goals, hence the need for advisers important to always serve as a guide. Elsewhere, seek to create value beyond the product, see ways in which your enterprise can contribute towards social good.