‘Africa’s Tech Challenges Open Opportunities for Innovation’

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Niyi Yusuf

Emma Okonji

Verraki Partners, a business and technology solutions firm recently launched in Lagos, has reiterated the call for indigenous companies to see the continent’s hurdles as opportunities to innovate and take advantage of the gaps to create unique local solutions.

Verraki’s Managing Partner, Mr. Niyi Yusuf, who made the call, asserted that the current limitations provide unique testing grounds to build solutions fit-for-purpose for Nigeria and other countries on the continent.

Speaking during a media interactive session recently, Yusuf highlighted the negative narrative Africa has battled as the dark continent for long, due to poor infrastructure, youth unemployment, leadership deficit and corruption among others, stressing that these provide a unique opportunity to think differently, innovate and create fit-for-purpose solutions.

He said some of Africa’s 54 nations have made significant progress in health, education and standard of living over the past 10 years, with real income per person increasing by more than 30 per cent.

He explained that Africa’s and Nigeria’s hurdles provide opportunities to be a test-bed for innovation that could be exported to other continents. According to him, the next solutions and breakthroughs would only come from Africa, where the multiple challenges will foster newer, more innovative solutions.

“With an estimated population of 1.3 billion people, a median age of 19.4, Africa has the largest talent bulge, highest concentration of young people in the world and future workforce cum consumers. As the youngest continent, we must take advantage of the unique opportunities of human capacity development to improve productivity, coupled with vibrant entrepreneurs and growing tech ecosystems, to create a prosperous Africa for all of us.

“At Verraki, our mind-set is that we are in the most exciting time in the evolution of the development of the continent.

“Right now, we are in the intelligent economy that converges opportunities in digital, data, analytics and intelligent automation to create new ways of doing things. “We believe that Africa’s challenges are opportunities as it were, for us to create solutions that have not been created before”, he said.

Expressing optimism about the outlook of the continent, Yusuf also pointed out that the implementation of the African free continental trade area in the second half of the year would make the continent one big common market with ease of entry for goods and services, people and movement across borders.

There are opportunities to improve intra-regional trade, from current 18 per cent exports within Africa compared with 69 per cent of exports in Europe, 52 per cent in Asia, and 50 per cent in North America, he said.

He noted that increased intra-Africa trade would boost the fortunes of African countries and guarantee one of the biggest opportunities for growth, job creation and poverty alleviation.

Verraki is focused on implementing technology and business solutions designed inherently for Africa and specifically fit for purpose, while also curating business ventures to unlock new sources of growth across the continent.

Led by foremost corporate professionals as well as former Accenture leadership in Nigeria, Verraki will apply its global expertise and local insights to partner with enterprises and governments to accelerate the development and transformation of Africa by providing business solutions uniquely tailored for Africa, Yusuf said.