By Rob Charles, CEO of Goldfingr
Primarily due to a lack of traditional banking access, third-world countries rely on blockchain and cryptocurrency for business transactions of all kinds now more than ever.
However, third-world governments, would-be entrepreneurs and businesses are very much struggling to keep their heads above water as the rest of the world ramps up its DeFi capabilities. In Kenya, over 70% of Kenyans have a mobile money account, however cash still accounts for 71% of Kenya’s total payments as business transactions are disproportionately paid in cash. Furthermore, in 2018 only 8% of Egyptians over 15 years of age made a digital transaction, and in 2016, only 12% of Ethiopians over 15 years of age made or received a digital payment. This data shows that countries in Africa have tremendous potential for the digitization of payments and that digital payment capabilities must be made more widespread and inclusive. These entities and individuals suffer from a severe lack of access to life-blood resources such as seed/runway funding, partners, advanced technology, training programs and so much more.
As third-world startups continue to struggle to adapt to the pace of first-world innovation, a large void has developed, making it almost impossible for startups to launch or manage a healthy business, let alone compete globally or gain real scale in most instances. There is an incredible need to democratize access to these types of core resources and bring conscious capital along with top innovations to help bring struggling countries to the next level in blockchain, cryptocurrencies, smart cities, sustainability, regenerative building and agriculture.
Advanced finance and technology businesses should be using their first-world resources and technology to assist other countries with innovation efforts and nurture the ecosystem of blockchain projects across the world instead of leaving them behind. (In the end, this is a self-serving value proposition for first-world companies anyway, who will eventually do business with these companies.) As a company, if you have the ability to effect positive change and innovation, it really is then a moral and social responsibility in today’s world.
For example, Nigeria has a strong and impressive entrepreneurial ecosystem as Nigeria was Africa’s leading startup investment destination in 2018. That said, advanced finance and technology businesses should be better at encouraging Nigeria’s substantial super-wealthy community to participate and invest in early-stage and angel investments in digital startups. There are numerous places such as Nigeria that are on the cusp of catching up to other countries, they just need a slight nudge to help get them there.
There are important and valuable opportunities in Africa when it comes to innovation and investment, and several of the world’s major economies realize this fact as Africa is closely watched as the next big growth market. The United States has put strengthening the US-Africa economic ties as a top priority as there’s a lack of American companies who have developed in-house knowledge of Africa, let alone have an established and meaningful presence in Africa.
Over the years, Africa has shown its incredible capacity to leapfrog technology to accelerate connectivity and development as Africa’s ICT and venture capital startup ecosystem are developing at a rapid pace. That said, The US government has a duty to mobilize to support incubators and startups, and strengthen ties with America’s leading venture capital funds technology companies and seeking new and encouraging markets in Africa.
Entities have a moral imperative to be the spearhead of impacting positive change and innovation in the third-world by helping bridge the African blockchain community to the major blockchain hubs across the world through its creation of a positive environment for increasing investment flow into Africa through building successful and profitable blockchain projects.
By bringing awareness of technology inspired movement in Africa and nurturing the ecosystem of blockchain projects, we can help take third-world countries to the next level in blockchain and innovation and give third-world countries the opportunity to adapt to innovation and gain access to the right tools needed to manage a successful business. As well as empower the next generation of children through education and providing jobs for them to help them go to the next level in any area they may decide to go and give them the resources needed to truly live their dreams. If we do that, the possibilities are limitless.
For companies like mine, Africa is just the beginning. Imagine what could be done worldwide if other advanced finance and technology players in a position to do so took a note from this playbook and began to think about how just a microscopic fraction of the first-world resources and technology they enjoy could be shared with other countries to foster innovation.
We are a global world as never before, and the circular economy being created by global visionaries–regardless of their geography–will, with a bit of luck, continue to inject these type of values into mainstream first-world economic thinking. But just like everything else, I recommend not “waiting until it’s cool.” The time is now.
Rob Charles Bio:
Rob Charles has demonstrated excellence as an entrepreneur for over 25 years and a sophisticated investor for over 17 years, in the following industries: technology, entertainment, real estate, Oil & Gas, commodities, heavy equipment, art, and M&A. He has the vision of finding niches early on, building top-notch teams, penetrating international markets, and creating cash flow businesses. His expertise is finding a niche, creating the concept, and building the company to a $25M to $50M market capitalization. Traditionally, he invests his own capital into his businesses, proving the concept before raising subsequent funding. His expertise is exhibited in a long track record of always executing. In 1996, during the tech bubble, he Co-Founded his first tech startup and the 1st online art gallery, Universal Artz. After running the company for over 2 ½ years, he moved to New York and became a desired 1st hire for tech companies, leading sales and marketing efforts for several startups, such as Janus and icims.com. In 2001, after the tech bubble burst, he founded a consulting company, DMG, providing enterprise solutions for document process management and content management. From 2003 to 2006, as Founder/CEO he spearheaded international projects for Global Light Foundation, a 501c3 non-profit, building schools in India and Africa for underprivileged children.
Goldfingr is an exclusive global investment club and inclusive mastermind network that connects funding to entrepreneurs in a one-stop-shop. Goldfingr is the modern paradigm of social clubs— a think tank, incubator and socially conscious business accelerator. We use technology, events and brick and mortar social clubs to keep our members connected. We’ve integrated raising capital, investing, business, the arts, entertainment and social, adding unprecedented value to our members, with a complete VIP experience.
The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.