South Africa is said to be at the apex of innovative tech in Africa. Rwanda is also quite notable – though some argue that it is only in Kigali (it is the capital city) where innovative tech is full throttle. Other notable countries are Ethiopia, Kenya, Egypt and Nigeria. Anyways, there is vast untapped potential when it comes to innovative tech in Africa. Africa is actually looked upon as the next big frontier of innovative technology. In this article, I will discuss 5 innovative tech business ideas for Africa.
I have mentioned vertical farming several times before in some of my articles. The vertical farming industry is still in its infancy the world over. This means now is the perfect time for people in Africa to start vertical farming businesses. Here is a portion from one of my articles in which I mentioned it: “Vertical farming is a high-tech farming method that is far removed from the traditional methods of farming. With vertical farming, crops are grown indoors without the use of soil. Essentially crops are grown in just water – the water is of course nutrient-rich since soil is out of the equation. Typically crops are on trays that will be stacked on top of each other. The vertical farms are normally controlled or regulated using robotics and AI.”
Given how natural climate and weather conditions are now unreliable vertical farming is a potent solution. Having land will not really be an issue since vertical farming typically is done without soil. Abandoned buildings can be turned into vertical farms – lots of such buildings are found all over Africa. I had to mention vertical farming first because it is the future of agriculture.
Virtual Learning Services
Most people in Africa have a heightened appreciation for quality education. For the most part, such education is not readily available on the continent. That is often the reason you see people seeking to study abroad. In this digital age, there is a need for education systems to be highly digital and tech-based. In most developed countries they have the framework for such education systems. Given how much of a demand for such education there is it would be expedient to instead make it happen on the continent. The pandemic has even made it more necessary to digitize education. With all that said, it makes absolute sense why those who will provide virtual learning services stand to make lots of money in Africa. It can be them doing the teaching themselves or creating virtual learning services that they can sell to learning institutions, tutors, and so on.
Business Incubators And Accelerators
These essentially provide support structures for budding and prospective entrepreneurs. Let me define them so that you get the picture. A business incubator is an entity that provides support and resources (material and immaterial) to budding startups. A business accelerator basically deals with providing easy access to things entrepreneurs need to enhance their startups. I am referring to things like financiers, investors, strategic partners, mentors, and so on. These two are heavily needed in Africa as the startup culture continues to grow. Potent incubators and accelerators are tech-driven and the business model is quite lucrative. This is a strategic business to start because public and private support for such a business are plentiful.
Shared Economy Startups
This is also something I have talked about in several of my articles. When we are dealing with the sharing economy we are referring to things like Uber, Vaya, AirBnB, amongst several others. Essentially it is about coming up with a business that involves providing a service using resources you do not necessarily own. You just have to identify a need that many people have and whose solution they are willing to pay for. I presented this in an open-ended manner because there is no limit as to the type of services that can be offered. Such startups will require tech-based approaches for them to thrive. The use of mobile apps, web apps, amongst other key components will be indispensable.
Re-Imagined Traditional Businesses
This is yet another open-ended one because the possibilities are endless. I am specifically referring to you picking a traditional business and digitizing it. In Africa, most businesses are still run traditionally due to a wide range of reasons. One of them is lack of knowledge and the other one is lack of access to tech – the biggest one being lack of access to internet services. I will cite a Zimbabwean example to express what I mean. You all know of Mbare Musika right – it is a famous farm produce market in Harare. Since time immemorial people have been walking to or driving to Mbare to get farm produce. Someone then thought of re-imagining that approach and brought in Fresh In A Box. Now one has to just place an order with Fresh In A Box (through their web application or WhatsApp platform) and they deliver to them. This can be done for a limitless number of areas in Africa.
The proliferation of such businesses will depend on several factors. One of them is ensuring that more and more people have cheap, easy and consistent access to internet services and smart mobile devices. Those are some of the things that have stifled the growth of Africa’s technological innovativeness. However, the continent is well on course to surmount that – be part of the narrative of change; start any of the businesses I discussed in this article.