I recently came across this piece written by David Rowan of Wired Magazine, titled Want to become an internet billionaire? Move to Africa. It’s worth a read.
In the article, Rowan enthuses, “If you want to become extremely wealthy over the next five years, and you have a basic grasp of technology, here’s a no-brainer: move to Africa.”
His line of thought seems reasonable enough. Rowan says the continent remains largely underpenetrated in terms of access to Internet services. According to recent data made available from Internet World Stats, Internet penetration in the continent currently stands at 11.5%. To put it into perspective, close to 120 million Africans out of the continent’s over 1 billion people are currently online. And it’s about to get even better. Considering that huge broadband fiber optic cables are currently being laid in various parts of Africa to make access to the Internet faster and more easily within the reach of low-income earners, it’s almost certain that in the next few years there is going to be an explosion in the number of African internet users.
Rowan also did a stellar job in outlining a few markets that are positioned for serious growth. They include mobile money, e-commerce, business directories and leapfrog tech, among others.
I agree that there is an immense opportunity for savvy tech entrepreneurs to create Africa’s own group buying sites, online bookshops and search portals. There is certainly going to be a market for these kinds of services in the very near future. Already, a good number of successful, profitable internet and tech companies founded and managed by Africans are springing up all across the continent. They include Nigerian group buying site DealDey, classifieds site Dealfish, and Cheki, an immensely successful Kenyan car auction site.
More than ever before, this is the best time for venture capitalists and Y Combinator-type incubators to set up shop in Africa, scout for internet deals and invest in budding African internet companies that’ll lead the future. And yes, within a matter of years, Africa may just have its first Internet billionaire.
Mfonobong Nsehe, Business Daily Writer