Africa is not the first thing that pops up in a student’s mind when talking about economic growth, large interest in (sustainable) innovation, and multinational companies such as Google and Shell. But it should be, because ASAH’s African Business Day shows that the continent is on the rise.
“We really hope to change students’ incomplete perception of Africa,” Maria Maman, member of the committee that organised the African Business Day, explains. “With this day, we want to show students that Africa is a very social entrepreneurial continent.”
The great unknown
A change of mind regarding the continent is needed as the majority of students still have a negative or incomplete image of Africa. This was showcased when the audience was asked about the average age of an African citizen by Lerato Mbele, journalist at BBC World News.. Many students did not know that despite the fact that the average age of an African citizen is just 17 years. And only 8 percent of the continent’s entire population has internet access, Africa is the fastest growing continent on our planet today.
Technology and digital connectivity are great contributor for the rise of the continent, as Gbenga Ajayi, a digital marketing advisor at Google, tells in his speech. “Digital connectivity can do for Africa what railroads did for Western economies in the 19th century,” Ajayi says. “A working African citizen spends 12 percent of their annual income on internet access. Only 8 percent of the entire African population has internet access, of which the majority is in South Africa, yet Africa has some of the fastest growing mobile markets in countries such as Nigeria and Egypt”, he continues. “In fact, Nigeria is one of the biggest mobile network markets in the world, yet most of its money comes from oil.”
“With social entrepreneurship, Africa is rising as a continent, ladies and gentlemen and remember if you want to go fast go alone but if you want to go far, go together” Lerato Mbele, quoted to close the event.