I recently attended TEDGlobal 2017 in Tanzania, Africa. The theme of this year’s event – Builders. Truth-Tellers. Catalysts. – was a perfect representation of the entrepreneurial spirit and innovation that filled the event. We heard from a wide range of luminaries including cultural historians, entrepreneurs, documentary photographers, and human rights activists. I left feeling even more energized about Africa’s future than ever before.
At HP, we’ve talked about how Africa exemplifies each of our four Megatrends: Rapid Urbanization, Changing Demographics, Hyper Globalization, and Accelerated Innovation.
Here are my takeaways from my recent trip:
Rapid Urbanization is creating new opportunities. Between 2017 and 2050, the populations of 26 African countries are projected to expand to at least twice their current size. This population growth is driving the Rapid Urbanization of Africa’s cities.
Many countries are experiencing high growth rates, the middle class and tech sector are expanding, and democracies are stabilizing.
Christian Benimana spoke at TEDGlobal about his desire to build a network of architects and planners who can help Africa’s booming cities grow in sustainable and equitable ways. Using a pan-African movement of architects, designers, and engineers, Christian strives to see socially-inclusive cities in Africa.
In one of the most moving talks at TEDGlobal, OluTimehin Adegbeye shared how urban gentrification in Lagos is displacing hundreds of thousands of people who don’t fit into the administration’s resplendent vision for the future. She made the case for why cities must have consciences, and we must all work to create cities that care about their people.
Given these examples, it’s safe to say Rapid Urbanization is creating new opportunities and growth in Africa.
I spoke at Responsible Business Forum Africa about sustainability and education’s role in Africa’s future.
Internet is the great equalizer. The most memorable statement I heard during my trip to Africa came from a child when I was speaking at Responsible Business Forum Africa. She said, “When I’m online, I’m not in a shack.”
The first step toward empowering people to innovate is to get them connected. Earlier this year, HP launched the HP School Cloud, a powerful new global resource for supporting education. The program will provide access to educational materials and apps to students, teachers and adult learners in rural and poor communities around the world.
We’ve also committed over $20 million in technology, training, R&D and funding contributions to enable better learning outcomes for more than 100 million people through 2025.
It is a personal passion of mine and a long commitment of HP’s to improve education by providing access to a wide range of relevant educational content and resources.
We need to ensure gender equality in this revolution. As innovation continues to grow in Africa, it is imperative that a gender divide does not exclude women and girls in this revolution. There’s a current need to create gender-inclusive technology and make both men and women a part of the entire innovation process – from product design to marketing, from engineering to sales. There are many organizations making headway in this space, giving Africa the opportunity to be a leader in gender equality in the technology industry.
One jump forward. Innovation is happening in Africa. Companies are delivering health supplies by drone and create solar-powered generators using peer-to-peer business models.
In this powerful talk from Chika Ezeanya-Esibou, she shares examples of untapped, traditional Africa knowledge in agriculture and policy-making, pushing Africans to make even more progress.