Africa is capable of producing scale startups,if the education curriculum's which are been taught in our schools are changed to suit the era we are.
Scale takes investment and investment is given based on trust. Fix the trust challenge (which is huge in Africa) and then, and only then, can you scale. This requirement holds true at all stages of business development, whether scaling from 1 to 10 customers or scaling from Africa to the world.
Yes, I absolutely believe Africa can (and is in the process of producing) global scale startups. They may have a mix of local and foreign talent, but companies like Andela, Branch, Tala and Flutterwave are building market leading companies that are now expanding across the continent or in Branch & Tala's case, across the world.
Financial services and education are sectors where African-based or African-focused companies are leapfrogging startups from other geographies because they are building services and applications that obviate the legacy ways of doing things.
If you have mobile money you don't need a magstripe card.
If you have personalized learning you don't need a classroom.
If you have pan-African bank APIs (like Flutterwave) you don't need traditional ACH.
Just as China was poorly understood 20 years ago and India was poorly understood 10 years ago, Africa is poorly understood and underestimated today.
Yes, there are many challenges, and 53 different governments, lots of corruption, poor physical infrastructure and thin financial markets. But as the person who wrote the question stated, there are a billion people, over 100M online and rapidly increasing smartphone usage.
The smart money bets on the future and Africa is the future, not only for traditional PE investors but also for tech in specialized categories where Africa's lack of legacy solutions leaves opportunity for better, faster, cheaper ways of doing things.
And what works in Africa can translate to India, the Philippines, Indonesia and even part of Latin America.
At Smile Identity, we're helping to solve the trust gap by building identity solutions that reduce friction in KYC collection and increase confidence in user identity for banks, telecoms, financial services and shared economy startups. We look forward to helping build the Africa of 10 years from now with a number of exciting global scale startups.
I strongly believe Africa can and will produce global scale startups. The reason why it might not look so possible right now is because Africans are still focused on producing solutions to the various problems which are unique and prevalent in Africa.
However, some of these same solutions will eventually (very soon, I hope) find relevance on the global stage