African countries seize business opportunities by responding creatively to a changing economy
We’re living in some uncertain times at the moment. The market is constantly evolving and with it businesses are forced to adapt too. Some are better at it than others and that’s usually where the difference lies between businesses that fail and those that succeed. Change, however, isn’t always a bad thing and with just a little bit of ingenuity and proactive thinking, any business is capable of keeping up with the times.
In this blog we take a look at a few African countries and how they’ve exercised some creativity and changed along with the global economy.
In Tanzania entrepreneurs are taking risks and seizing venture opportunities wherever there’s a gap in the market. Ubongo Media, for instance, has launched an interactive learning TV programme called Ubongo Kids that teaches children mathematics skills using animation, songs and games. The show is a way of improving the country’s mathematical literacy by starting at grass-roots level. Ubongo Kids is currently available in Swahili and English (with the intention of disseminating the English version to the rest of the continent in the future), and it currently reaches over a million viewers.
Kinu Hub, also in Tanzania, is an innovation incubation initiative that helps Tanzanian entrepreneurs get their business ideas off the ground. Kinu Hub gives tech business builders access to the internet, an app testing centre as well as coaching. The “hub”, located in Dar Es Salaam, has already helped a large number of start-ups get the resources they need to realise their dreams.
A small community newspaper in Limpopo might have accidentally stumbled on a business opportunity while trying to improve a community’s access to clean drinking water. Rural communities in Limpopo are forced to drink water from local rivers because of the provinces subpar water and sanitation provisions. The quality of this water is always dubious but it’s all the residents of the rural communities have and they ensure the safety of the water by boiling it before use, which hikes their electricity costs (a utility most of them are already struggling to afford).
Ziwaphi, a community-based publication, has started helping the community find better sources of drinking water with a creative solution: by using smartphones inside water bottles, they take pictures underwater in various rivers and compare them to a database of E.coli samples to help detect dangerous levels of the bacteria. The local residents are then sent an SMS with the findings and the newspaper also publishes a detailed analysis of the results monthly. While not a business venture yet, with the right investment and interest the project could inspire or become a profitable solution.
Electronic waste can be difficult to get rid of without the necessary resources and it takes a serious toll on the environment. But it can also present a business opportunity. Vodafone Ghana has partnered with e-waste recycling startup Recell to combat the problem of electronic scrap in form of old defunct mobile phones.
The phone recycling project encourages owners of old phones to deliver them to their nearest Vodafone outlet. Vodafone then hands the old devices to Recell where they are recycled in a sustainable and responsible way. The initiative has created jobs and will boost exports as all the recycled phones will be resold to other international recycling organisations.
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If you’re a business owner and a little nervous about the state of the global economy, creativity and innovation might be your ticket to a more stable and growing enterprise. Download our e-book on Gearing your business for long-term success and visit our products and services page because sometimes thinking out of the box is as simple as having the right payment solutions in your business.