The Most Exciting Place On Earth
– Digital Africa
‘Flying the flag for digital‘, that’s what Pete Case from the Gloo Agency calls it and I think I know what he means. It’s not as if we’re about to break out into a Maori love song, like the recent viral video of New Zealand’s parliamentary vote – but it definitely inspires passion.
I have always loved the digital world. Even when our computers looked more like shabby tomato boxes and the only way to connect via mobile was if you threw your dad’s ‘brick’ phone at someone’s head. I’ll admit, I use to curse the fact that I lived in backwater South Africa when I knew what innovations and new technology so-called first world countries were able to enjoy.
No latest gadgets, no internet, slow internet, no broadband, no iTunes access, no PayPal – we’ve suffered through it all, sometimes with grace and sometimes with copious amounts of swearing.
Times have changed however, the tide is turning and right now might be the best time ever to be part of the online African community. It seems our sleepy little hollow is coming alive – and online – in a big way.
With 7 million South African desktop internet users and 10 million active, local smart phone users, online opportunities are flourishing. By the end of 2013, it is estimated that more internet-ready smart phones will be sold than regular phones. With this influx of new consumers, online business and e-commerce will inevitably follow the trend of accelerated growth and expansion. As the number of these online businesses and registered domains increase, our digital landscape is set to grow exponentially.
The online and tech opportunities for Africa as a whole are limitless, the potential is staggering and it’s all happening right now. That’s not to say it’s a guaranteed bright and shiny future. We still live on a war-torn continent, where violence and crime are an everyday reality. Corruption is rife and big internationals are still plundering what resources they can and making it back home in time for dinner (Yes BHP Billington, we’re talking about you). Nothing is certain, there are no guarantees – But damn! It’s exciting!
As Warren Buffet says, “I tap dance to work everyday” simply because I can’t wait to see what’s going to happen next. This is the new frontier, this is the wild west, this is the unexplored territory. We are adventurers carving a path through the undergrowth and making new discoveries. We are ‘flying the flag’ for digital in in our little part of the continent, South Africa.
So don’t drop the ball people. Innovate, strategise, find the need and fill it – but do it with a modicum of business savvy. If you don’t, I have it on good authority that Michelle Atagana from Memeburn will hit you upside the head with a sonic screwdriver (don’t ask).
Not all of us are 17 year old Summly millionaires but we can all play a small part in defining and creating the amazing digital world of Africa.
How exciting is that?