If leapfrogging was to be introduced in the Olympics, it will be The African thing.
In a decade, Africans went from having less than 0.5% of landline telephones connection rate, to 80% owning up to 2 mobile phones. The majority of Africans who had no idea what a Bank was for,is the same majority, nowadays, financially transacting on mobile phones.
So, whats NEXT?
At the last Richmond Financial Industry Forum in Interlaken – Switzerland, I asked big players attending the vent, why #Barclays left Africa, while the continent is seen as the most promising place to invest, no matter what parameters used? Why on earth will you abandon a market of more than a billion population and probably is to double in the next 50 years?
After meeting more than 20 world biggest financial representatives attending the event, the takeaway was that Africans are in constant leapfrog mode, thus very challenging to serve.
Yet Africa is very generous on profits. I mean, take a look at the crazy service fees charged by money transfer operators, or the usury interest rates of the proliferating mobile money schemes, just to name a few.
So, what is the next disruptive African move?
Internet world stats just announced that only 10% of Africa was connected to Internet!
As in Nicholas Cage’s movie “Lord of War”, except this time is for a good purpose, the same question applies: How do you get the other 90% on Internet?
Find the answer, you have your next African leapfrog move to impact the rest of the world, as mobile money trend did. Remember, Africa has no heritage with traditional / longtime existing way of doing things. Therefore, it is widely open to innovation.
That is why facebook, google and other international tech brands are working tirelessly on connecting the other 90%. Because, he who will succeed, will definitely cause a tsunami in telecommunications, finances and many other dogmas.
Muhire Louis Antoine
Founder and Managing director of mergims.com
Serial entrepreneur mostly in internet related business