__The BIG winner is…?
When I started my telecoms business in 1993, the number of people in Africa who had access to a telephone was about 0.75%. I’m one of the entrepreneurs who helped change it to 75%! My colleagues and I who started businesses like MTN, Bharti, and Glo were big winners.
Now here is your own opportunity: Only 2% of Africans have ever bought something #Online. The entrepreneurs who will change this will be big winners! The number in countries like the US is 96%. China is about 80% now. One of the key players in making that possible is Jeff Bezos, and he is now the richest man in the world. In China, Jack Ma (Alibaba) and Pony Ma (Tencent) are the richest people in that country. (They are not related). They drive eCommerce!
Someone in Africa is also going to win big…It is not a question of “if” but “when”. E-commerce can be tackled from any industry or sector you think of: You could be in agriculture, retail, transport, construction, healthcare; it does not matter. There is only one thing that matters:
It is not going to happen by itself; some very smart young women and men have to step forward. It is already happening, and I have been excited to meet some of those driving this new frontier.
Here is an exercise for you: Go (with your masks on please, if possible!) to the local informal markets, like Balogun Market in Lagos, or Mbare Musika in Harare.
Whether you can go right now, or not (depending on your country’s COVID-19 lockdown regulations), I want you to Re-Imagine these markets!
__How would you ever turn a place like that Online?
This is how people like Jack Ma and Jeff Bezos did it! The #BigWinner is an entrepreneur able to re-imagine what has always been there.
“Why can’t all those activities be done Online, using a Smartphone?”
If you go on to tell me why it’s not possible, then you are NOT the person who is going to change it!
But some young entrepreneurs will one day tackle it. Just like the young guys who created Uber and Lyft because they looked at all those Yellow Taxis, and decided to change the transport system.
It does not matter if your father is the governor or the President. The next richest person in Africa, will rise through Subject Knowledge and Entrepreneurship, not through access to power.
Have a nice day!
(I’m off to fight the C-19!)
“Some people see things as they are and say ‘Why?’ I dream things that never were and say ‘Why not?’” (Nobel Laureate writer George Bernard Shaw).
When you see things, what do YOU say? Let’s talk.
To be continued. . .
Image credit: This image was taken before the COVID-19 crisis. Be sure to wear masks when in public to help protect others and yourself from the virus. New entrepreneurs across the continent are now starting to make them!
Strive Masiyiwa is the founder and Executive Chairman of the Econet Group. He serves on several international boards including Unilever, and the Global Advisory boards of the Council on Foreign Relations and Stanford University. A board member of the Rockefeller Foundation for 15 years, he also serves as Chairman of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA). He is a co-founder of the Carbon War Room, Pathways for Prosperity, and the Global Business Coalition on Education. He and his wife, Tsitsi, co-founded the Higherlife Foundation and are signators of the Giving Pledge.View all posts by Strive Masiyiwa