I once found myself in a social media group where many foreigners were discussing how African governments were allowing their citizens to continue to wallow in abject poverty. The members kept arguing back and forth on the non-existence of resources and opportunities in Africa. Even though Wikipedia’s page on Africa is extensively filled with rich information, those set of people could not see Africa beyond the images of the malnourished children of Somalia being propagated by international donor agencies in their plot to get more people to donate to their causes.
The inappropriateness of this misrepresentation of Africa is evident in the impressive moves of Zakaria Hersi, Managing Director, Efritin.com. Come to think of it, Hersi is from Somalia and he is growing a unique business in Nigeria. In an exclusive interview with Innovation Village, he spoke on how his company is uniquely making sense out of Nigeria’s previously ignored used goods market with Efritin.
You may argue that Hersi is an African and he has access to information on Africa that foreigners don’t have. You may be convinced that you are right until a name comes to your mind. Marek Zmyslowski.
This Polish dude came to Africa to launch Jovago in Nigeria then elsewhere but he ran into undisclosed trouble waters with the investors and was asked to leave. If he had believed the stereotype about Africa, he would have returned to Poland the moment his contract with Jovago expired. Instead, he stayed back, looked closely enough and decided to build a very interesting new product called HotelOga which answers the major problem of many entrepreneurial hospital companies in Nigeria – online presence.
Only time will tell how this would turn out. But with the kind of information, connection and access that Marek has, dude could be able to pull it off.
Without mincing words, Africa is laden with entrepreneurial opportunities and people are as crazy about games and movies as their counterparts in other parts of the world. And with numerous entrepreneurs building solutions in different sectors with the aid of new platforms including the hackathon holding in Zambia and the new climate innovation center in Accra – not to talk of the hubs and incubation centers of Africa, it is obvious that Africans are well informed of the potentials of their market.
So, instead of seeing Africa as a struggling continent, the smart ones from abroad are coming en masse to Africa to tap into available opportunities. Sliide Airtime is one of the new ones and influential ladies such as Google Nigeria’s Juliet Ehimuan-Chiazor are speaking at events and making the rest of the world to know that the voice of the African lady is no longer silenced. It speaks loud and clear – and at high decibels. This is the Africa some hate to love and others love to hate.
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