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Africa Tech: The next generation

Africa Tech

Africa Tech: The next generation

Chris Ogden, CEO of RubiBlue unpacks the positive and the potential of innovation in technology across the continent.

Technology made for Africa, by Africa. This is the right outlook for the future of this continent and its economic and social success. It is by capitalising on local innovation and ingenuity that Africa will thrive, and overcome many of the legacy challenges impacting on its growth and its ability to stand tall on the global stage.

One of the biggest challenges is pricing. For many high-growth companies, startups and enterprises on the continent, the cost of success is extremely high. Why? Because they’re working with technologies that are provided by international organisations that hang their success on the dollar price tag. Which means, for companies that want to access next-generation word processing, platforms, project management tools and more, they’re paying the dollar value when their income sits in local currency that’s nowhere near equal.

The inequality of this can be seen in the recent pricing model recommended by ChatGPT – that artificial intelligence (AI) platform that has taken the world by storm. It hit the highest growth of any platform or service in history, reaching more than 123 million monthly unique visitors and 116% month-over-month growth by the end of January, a mere two months after it launched. This is now potentially going to cost the average company $20 – whether this is per seat or in total remains in question – and is only available to customers in the United States. While there is competition coming roaring up behind this platform in the shape of Bard from Google and other up and coming young AI’s, this limitation to one continent remains an issue.

What this underscores isn’t just the potential unfairness of access, which is a challenge in itself, but how important it is for African companies to invest into African solutions. Not only will these be uniquely customised to meet local needs and problems, that are, as all companies know, unique, but they will sit at a price point that’s relevant for local growth. If Africa can put its ingenuity under the hood of, for example, a ChatGPT alternative that isn’t going to limit African users, or introduce a clear European bias, or doesn’t cost thousands to use, then this has immense potential to drive sustainable change across the continent.

Moving forward, companies need to be confident in their ability to create solutions that are relevant to Africa and in remarkable African ingenuity that overcomes even the most challenging of landscapes. There are solutions already in the global market that were born on the continent, proof that what’s made here is highly agile and relevant and capable of evolving to meet market demands. As the continent continues to battle legacy challenges and economic headwinds, this is the time to put African technology at the forefront and to focus on creating solutions that will have a long-term impact on the future of the continent, its people, and the companies that thrive within it.

As seen on Topco.

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