Residents of Cape Town were treated to sights of a robot dog walking through the CBD as Dwyka Mining Services showcased Boston Dynamic’s Spot….
Africa saw a lot of investment activity at the close of 2021, but all the millions in funding seemed to coalesce around five trends that we expect to see carrying through into 2022.
Most are aligned to social values that demonstrate a level of corporate citizenry that include:
1. Empowerment of previously disadvantaged or marginalised communities. Opportunities for women and black African entrepreneurs to access working and growth capital have greater knock-on effects in their communities. This network of economic growth creates a safety net to guard against a deepening crisis driven by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Almost 60 percent of women-owned businesses are in sectors that were the worst affected by the economic downturn brought on by COVID-19. These include sectors such as retail, restaurants, food shops and domestic services. The impact on these businesses was so severe that two-thirds of female employers were forced to take pay cuts, and more than 80% saw revenues fall. Google Africa and Adbot were two big investors in women entrepreneurs.
Almost 60 percent of women-owned businesses are in sectors that were the worst affected by the economic downturn
2. Practical solutions to combat climate change. While EVs and battery tech have dominated the funding headlines, ground-level conservation and mitigation measures have been elevated as investment vehicles. KTN Global Alliance Africa is supporting multinational consumer goods company Unilever in achieving its goals of halving the amount of virgin plastic used in its packaging, reducing its overall plastic usage and collecting and processing more plastic packaging than sold.
Ground-level conservation and mitigation measures have been elevated as climate change investment vehicles
3. Alleviating the burden of poverty. Digitising agriculture is seen by many as the key to caring for those most affected by climate change. Improving crop yields and new growing technologies that improve farming efficiency are driving an AgriTech revolution. Tech giants like Microsoft are getting involved in opportunities that will affect meaningful change outside of its primary customer base.
Tech giants are getting involved in opportunities that will affect meaningful change outside of their primary customer base.
4. Improving digital literacy and bridging the digital divide. FinTech solutions that allow the many unbanked Africans access to the formal economy are still in a growth phase and the pace of innovation is still accelerating. A biproduct of that innovation is the digital literacy and smartphone mastery that comes from interacting with the multitudes of e-wallets and digital payments methods. One area that has emerged as an elitist space is cryptocurrency and blockchain technology.
Initiatives like the Invictus NFT Labs where a major industry player is actively involved in upskilling artists to produce, market and sell their own NFTs is only one of the ways the crypto industry is fostering inclusiveness.
One area that has emerged as an elitist space is cryptocurrency and blockchain technology.
5. Promoting access to education. The early days of the pandemic taught the world a valuable lesson about the failings within the education system. Deploying teaching solutions across poorly connected communities became a real challenge throughout 2020 and 2021 and we expect that necessity to breed innovation.
Many investors have already flooded the EdTech start-up market with funds continuously being made available to train the next generation with the skills to meet future employment demands.
Featured image by RODNAE Productions from Pexels