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Sipha Ndawonde

Degree:

EMBA

Location:

South Africa

Industry:

Venture Capital & Private Equity

Year:

Jan 2019 - Sept 2020

By Sipha Ndawonde

How can African youths take hold of the 4ir wave?

In September 2019, the World Economic Forum published an article titled “Revolutionary technologies will drive African prosperity”. The article speaks of the promise of 4iR technologies to unlock a new future for the African continent, home to 1.25 billion people under the age of 25.

The “fourth industrial revolution” is a hot topic, and for good reason. The potential for technologies like artificial intelligence, machine learning, the internet of things to drive growth and prosperity is immense. It seems that every part of life as we know it will, in one way or another, be disrupted by the 4ir wave.

But what does this all mean for youths in Africa and more importantly what opportunities does it unlock?

The African continent has made significant gains on key sustainable development indicators but much still needs to be done. Therein lies the opportunity for African youths to harness the power of 4ir to create entrepreneurial solutions that address the most pressing needs. The need is great and its everywhere…across healthcare, access to finance, education and mobility… to name but a few areas. The recent stories of African entrepreneurial success are the results of young Africans identifying a real need and creating a scalable solution that is enabled by new technologies.

As an entrepreneur in the African start-up and venture capital ecosystem, I am encouraged by the growing support towards tech and digital entrepreneurship.  By some estimates there are now more than 600 tech-incubators across the continent to support start-ups and early stage businesses. More so, the world class start-ups on the continent are attracting a significant amount of venture capital funding with more than $1.2 billion flowing to African tech start-ups in 2019.

The 4ir is upon us. It’s up to all of us in the African entrepreneurial ecosystem to do our part to assist young Africans to harness its power.

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