It’s not easy starting up a business in Africa, but hopefully the internet will start to make that easier. One of the biggest problems in Africa is the lack of infrastructure both physical and intellectual. For example in the developed world, becoming an entrepreneur is not that difficult. There are agencies to help you start, grants from governments and usually plenty of sources of start up capital in the form of business or development loans. Of course the global financial crisis has affected this in most countries, but it’s still way simpler to get start up capital from a European bank than an African one.
However individuals are starting to see the huge potential in Africa where the Internet penetration is around 12%. This figure although low by developed standards still works out at roughly 120 million Africans who have access to the internet. However this is growing and fast, even now fiber optic cables are being laid across the continent, which will soon make fast broadband access available to all sorts of people including low income groups.
Of course with people come markets, when you’re talking about a potential market of hundreds of millions of users then the growth is going to be huge. The possibilities for mirroring sites that have been successful in Europe, Asia and North America is obvious. Starting an online business based in Africa is looking to be a seriously good move, Amazon Africa for example!
Of course there are still problems, until the broadband infrastructure is complete then some African entrepreneurs will have problems online. But there’s no doubt that Africa is going to benefit hugely from the internet revolution and hopefully many millions of Africans will be given the chance to earn their living online.
There are still tools needed of course in order to succeed online in somewhere like Africa. Access to blocked sites either by corporations or government is essential but these are easily access using proxies and VPNs like these – http://thenewproxies.com/. But we are already starting to see some successful online companies there like Dealfish and Dealdey in Nigeria which are African based classified and sales sites.