Innovation in Africa between myths and realities
Stephan Eloise Gras holds a doctorate in information science and a doctorate in philosophy, but she also created L’Oreille, an innovation office for Africa.
And then she created a conference, Africa for Tech a few years ago (yes she does a lot of stuff and she is brilliant).
I often speak of the lack of interest in China, but Africa is also one of those areas that we know little about, or even look down on.
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The media give us a unique image, that of uniform, ruined, dependent countries, under the yoke of a dictator and which cannot help themselves.
The reality is obviously much more complex and therefore interesting.
It may seem strange to talk about innovation in Africa on a marketing podcast but in my conception of our profession, a marketer must have a good understanding of the world in which he lives in order to do his job properly.
Frugal innovation in Africa: a model to follow
In any case, this is Stephan Eloise’s thesis: the West must learn from African models of innovation, which consume less resources and capital if it is to face the challenges that await it:Apple-converted-space “> totally questioned
Open Source is legion to limit barriers to the entry of innovation and this necessarily completely challenges intellectual property.
We must think of property differently and economic models must therefore be rethought.
Africa: the invention of another decentralized model
There are 54 countries in Africa with 3 major innovation areas:
– East Africa: Kenya at the head of the bridge since Mpesa was born there in 2007 (1st mobile currency) and which has earned the country the installation of IBM’s global R&D center.
Today, it is estimated that 95% of retail goes through Mpesa and we have therefore skipped a step compared to the supposed necessary banking of the population. It has also made it possible to develop a whole service economy.
But also, in English-speaking East Africa, we can also note Tanzania but also Uganda.
– South Africa has created a particular block on its own, of course. She has very strong links with China in particular
– West Africa with Nigeria which is considered by the CIA as the 1st country in the world by 2050 in terms of dynamism.
The idea is not to praise African innovation because the local situation is far from perfect but we are forced to consider what is happening there and learn from them because they are sometimes more ahead than us. simply.
We absolutely have to shift our focus from the West.
Africa: the reservoir of growth in the next few years
We do not necessarily think of it in these terms but with a continent which will represent 30% of the world population within 7 years, 65% of which will be under 25, it is obvious that Africa will be the reservoir of growth. and employees within a few years.
Moreover, it is interesting to note the emergence of a middle class in many countries of the continent.
Large groups have already understood these movements of course, but it is undoubtedly time to change the perception of marketers so that they can change the way they talk about blacks and Africa but also simply in the way they are considering their products.
Also, the offgreed (which is not attached to the national network) is interesting to follow in Africa but especially for the problem which interests everyone, France included, ie the service of the last mile.
There is an emergence of the decentralization of networks, the blockchain is one of the most determined workers (podcast to come). As Stephan points out
Eloise, you have to look in Africa to imagine the world of tomorrow, a decentralized, frugal, more community-based and responsible world.
It’s up to you Marketers to take all of this into consideration in the way you want to embrace this world.