I was privileged to give an ignite talk in Reno-spark Nevada.
Here is the script of that talk.
My mum is a cattle keeper who lives 450 Kms away from me. Early this year I got a call from her.. And she was like “ Ronald my phone fell down I can’t see anything on the screen. You have to wait to send me money”. I said mum you don’t need to have a phone for me to send you money…
Just go to the usual mobile money agent, tell him you want to withdraw money and give him my number. I will authorize the withdraw from here.” And her reply was “how is that even possible”. I said. just do it, mum.
a few minutes later I see mobile money authorization alert pop-up on my phone. I typed in my PIN code. She got money. Later, she calls and said, “ You are very lucky to be born in this era, do you remember how I suffered to send you money at school..”. I said Yes mum, I remember gone are the days.It’s amazing. How the long painful process of sending money is now reduced to just showing up and pick money. The experience is better than collecting groceries.
This brings me to a strong belief that, 80% of African problems can best be solved right now by developing innovative solutions around digital technology.
Specifically, around this little device, I am holding right here. The mobile phone.
Let’s look at this.
700 Million People in Africa are holding this device (a mobile phone) and it is projected 800 Million people will be holding it by 2020. 500 Million People can access the internet in Africa right now. It projected to be 650 Million by 2020.
We have one of the youngest population in the world with the average age of 19.5 years. The young generation is currently using digital solutions to solve their problems. They are playing around with social media daily and other solutions.
What does this really mean?
It means if you develop a digital solution it can potentially be used by 800 Million people in Africa by 2020. Like Mobile money started by a team of very people in Kenya and now used by 300 Million people in Sub-Saharan African alone.
It means, Africans are ready to use your solution in-fact there are doing it right now. Like mum who is not well educated and has no idea how the computer work but she can comfortably transact money on phone very well using mobile money.
It means the cost of starting and scaling your solution is very low. It takes one person or two with very little resources to start solving a problem in the country and be used by all African countries. Build once and deploy everywhere. Africa almost has the same problems and the approach to a solution is almost the same.
It means the eco-system is now complete.
so, What is needed right now?
start asking hard questions.
Why is the ratio of a doctor to patient high?Can’t reduce it with technology?
Why can’t we find an innovative solution to remove tools that bad leaders use to go in power and stay in power such as tribal, religion, poverty, and ignorance?
Why is the ratio of teacher to student high?
Why can’t we become smart farmers?
Why can’t we find a better way to do tourism?
all that we need is a successful digital solution like Mobile money in other sectors now
in fact on tourism. I have teamed up with another young entrepreneur to remove inefficiencies that hinder her growth. we are reducing the many basic requirements need for one to start tourism business and acquire customers and equally making it super easy for a tourist to arrange and book a safe tour.
Now is the time to solve our problems with technology. I strongly believe you can do it. You don’t need a technology degree. You don’t need millions of cash, you don’t need many people to start. All that is needed, is you? Look around you? very many painful problems, make digital solutions around this device I am holding now. The mobile.
Just like Mobile money has done it for my mother to comfortably receive banking service on her phone better and faster than receiving clean water.
Thank you for listening.