The Pains of Doing Online Business in Africa
Take it or leave it, Africa is a great continent. It is my beloved continent with an estimated population of 1.216 billion people.
There are about 7 billion people with unique skills, talents, knowledge, and experience. God bless humanity.
So, if you think of the right market to sell your goods or services, come to Africa.
This is the optimistic part of this story. It is good to begin 2017 on a positive, optimistic level.
Now, let us come down to reality. The world has gone digital. But, Africa is still slow in moving from analogue to digital age.
Corruption, illiteracy, poverty, lack of social amenities, lack of trust, lack of knowledge on what it takes to run a business online, are some of the factors militating against Africa and Africans.
Internet penetration is 28.7 percent in my beloved continent. Compared to North America with 89 percent penetration level, this is a far cry.
This means North America with an estimated population of 579 million people is more digital than Africa. But, Africa has the market. In fairness, businesses are striving in the continent.
Lots of Africans know little or nothing about online business and think that people who do businesses online are either fraudsters or criminals.
This is not true. There are genuine and fake business owners everywhere, internet inclusive.
Trust has also made it impossible to do business online. With the world becoming a global family, business owners do not need to meet physically to transact business. There are no limits in this digital age to running businesses.
Everything and anything could be sold online and money in local and foreign currencies transferred from one part of the world to the other.
But, my good friend in Lagos, Nigeria, who has masters degree from one of the oldest universities in our country know little or nothing about running an online business.
We were discussing yesterday and he told me bluntly that he knows next to nothing about online business.
So, he is comfortable moving his vehicle parts from one place to the other in search of customers.
This is the pains some of online business owners are going through in Africa with great potentials.
But, the pains of not getting enough customers from Africa for your business are a passing phase. Even as the Bible says, this will pass away.
Therefore, in 2017, I am positive that more and more business owners will gain the pains of going from analogue to digital in Africa.
I get the feeling deep down that ten years down the line, the story will change for the better and internet penetration in Africa will rise.