Disruptive Technologies in Africa

Disruptive technology refers to technology that creates a new market and eventually disrupts an existing market thereby displacing the established market leaders. Africa is on the rise. Technological innovations are creating value through home-grown solutions in Africa thereby contributing to the continent’s economic progression.

Local solutions for the continents biggest problems: that seems to be the mantra from one corner of the continent to the other. Agriculture still is largely the backbone of the African continent. We are not yet an industrial powerhouse. We are moving there and companies that focus on adding value to the farmer rather than exploiting the farmer as many badly-run boards have been doing in the past are the ones that are going to shape the financial destiny of the continent. Agribusiness is big business, especially in the African continent and market leaders keep on changing every few years. Farmers are by-passing unscrupulous middlemen and are keeping a larger portion as is their right. There have been applications developed that have greatly helped farmers in their quest for better yields. Some applications help farmers view weather forecasts and expected rainfall patterns making the whole farming cycle much more predictable to farmers

Mobile money has changed the continent. It has changed the way business is conducted in Sub-Saharan Africa and beyond. Kenya, more than any African country, has felt the impact of the mobile money wave. It has offered an alternative to the traditional banking model giving Kenyans a chance to own a deposit- saving account. This initiative has reached the unbanked and has greatly aided people in the rural areas access money sent by their relatives in the town centre. Mobile money has displaced the companies that were traditionally in the money remittance business by offering a much better service at a cheaper rate.

The technologies that are going to change the business landscape in Africa and possibly the whole world cut across all sectors from agriculture, financial services to health, to even telecommunications. Credit companies in Africa are set to disrupt how people access credit facilities. And the beautiful thing is that they are dealing with clients that banks typically shy away from. They cover education-related expenses, medical expenses and even fund people to start their own businesses. They are able to lend to individuals who banks wouldn’t risk lending their money to. Like all disruptive technologies, they have filled a need typically ignored by traditional business models. They are taking advantage of the weak risk management structures on the continent and developing a niche for themselves. Disruptive technologies in the financial sector geared towards the local context are going to change the lives of the African people as they will be focused on the market conditions in Africa.

Taxi companies that rely on software are everywhere. They have displaced local taxi companies. Well-written code has disrupted the transport industry in every continent it has penetrated and the situation has not been any different in Africa. Like all successful technologies, these companies have made exceptions in Africa so that they can be able to capture the market as the market conditions in Africa are quite different from the conditions in other markets. The local drivers in Africa are getting angry with the way their old business model is being displaced since these new taxi drivers charge much less than the local taxi companies and are also convenient as they go to the customer when they need them to. This has led to protests in some cities in Africa; a sign that people are angry with the way things are evolving and are unhappy with changes in market structure. These companies are new, fresh and are eating a large piece of the cake which had been jealously guarded by unstructured business policies that were hurtful to the customer. They are reliable; and since their entry into the local market there has been increased investment in the transportation industry. Innovations like these are what Africa needs.

Disruptive technologies have destroyed old business models in the past and are continuing to do so now. Companies that are in the forefront of innovation have a much greater chance of surviving the business landscape than those that are stuck in their old models. Block chain companies around the world have a special focus in Africa. Block chain technology enables the secure storage of data on online database that is free from changes and distortions. This means that once data is stored in the database it stays there permanently and thus cannot be altered offering integrity to this information. This has serious implications for the banking sector whose main asset isn’t just operating capital but also information; secure trustworthy information. Experts say that they anticipate the banking sector in Africa being shook up by the possibilities of block chain technology than in any other part of the world.

Africa is on the rise as the continent’s brilliant minds are working tirelessly to create products that not only add value but also have the capacity to change how business is done in the continent. Organizations should be at the forefront of such innovations, continually challenging old business models so that they can continue adding value to their customers.

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