Localization; A Goldmine for African Tech start-ups.

Fed up with endless battles with auto-correct on my messaging apps, trying to convince the system that my surname was Banigo, and not “Bang or Bingo” as the system persistently suggested,

Fed up with my Word documents littered with error notifications, due to an abundance of African names and references within my work,

Fed up with the hurdles that I had to scale just to process international payments to and from Nigeria, digitally,
I was forced to wonder at the apparent lack of adequate African representation within the global tech space. There are many vacuums to be filled to meet Afro-specific demands in the global tech space, but still the continent is yet to meet up fully with this demand.

How about digital dictionaries representing different African languages to be utilised in Word processing documents?

How about a translation app that accurately captures the major languages within Africa, to preserve and promote these languages and ensure that language is not a barrier to communication within and outside the continent of Africa.

How about an African app,similar to Duolingo that teaches the present and future generations their indigenous languages which seem to be fading away due to globalisation.

How about a globally embraced African developed app that makes international payments safe and efficient, especially in a country like Nigeria in which its citizens have to hurdle many digital walls to make payments.
This will ensure that parts of Africa do not get left out in the world of digital commerce.

Thinking about this made me realise that there are many tech vacuums to be filled within Africa, which can best be filled by indigenous developers with indigenous tech solutions.

With a population of more than 1.26billion people, the African continent is a goldmine for tech start-ups with indigenous tech solutions to African problems.

The time for a widespread African tech revolution is ripe, with most of the continent’s population embracing tech solutions in their everyday lives.

Young Africans are utilizing Social media platforms, creating sub-cultures, communities, and even dominating this space, with topics from Nigeria globally trending in platforms such as Twitter.

E-Commerce and Social media marketing are increasingly becoming viable tools of trade, as Africans from all generations increasingly trust and utilize these platforms.

Apps like IrokoTV bring African stories to the PC’s , Tablets and mobile phones of Africans within the continent and in the diaspora.

The older generation is also not left out from the Social media space as urban legends, cautionary tales and wise words are now sent via Whatsapp broadcasts.

The older generation is successfully navigating new technology and will not be left out as the African tech revolution unfolds.

In the midst of my deliberations, I found out that there exists a large community of forward thinking Africans, not just wondering, but taking action and working tirelessly to create African tech solutions.

More Africans are taking to programming and tech entrepreneurship and the African tech space is littered with the fragments of the shattered glass ceiling of expectation.

Even my city Port-Harcourt in Nigeria is not left out. A city known for its tales of woe is slowly changing its narrative with tales of inspiration and innovation.

This points to a brighter future for technological entrepreneurship within Africa, as these efforts further progress.
However, foreign made apps still take most of the market share in Africa, this is attributed to the apparent quality and reliability of these apps, and a lingering pessimism towards African made products.

In terms of quality, this can be attributed to the fact that African tech entrepreneurship is still in the early stages of its development, and as the support and patronage of this industry increases, so will the quality of its products increase.

Quality apps need quality funding in order to effectively compete in the global market, and with the increase of tech incubation hubs, and the increasing robustness of Africa’s tech ecosystems, the future looks promising.

African tech entrepreneurs will do well to focus on providing tech solutions to African problems, in order to take advantage of this vacuum and tap into the potentially vast and untapped African market.

Providing these solutions will attract the funding and patronage needed to make the African tech market vibrant and globally competitive and will be mutually beneficial to both producers and consumers of African tech solutions.

As the African Tech industry progresses from its baby steps to a headlong rush into the global tech market, we would do well to cheer and support our indigenous tech heroes as they face the victories and challenges through this journey.

As the African tech tree grows, blossoms and bears its fruits, Techative will be there to cover every phase of this exciting journey.

 

by Andrew Banigo

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