Is Africa home to the next Silicon Valley?
The “Future is an attitude” podcast series presented by Audi features inspirational South Africans who think differently about the future and who challenge the status quo by driving progress within the fields of design, digitalisation, performance, and sustainability to help us shape the future.
The United States might have the Silicon Valley but there is hope that Africa can do one better, not a valley per se, but a Savannah that discovers uniquely African solutions to uniquely African problems.
In this episode, podcast host, Azania Mosaka and tech entrepreneur, Rapelang Rabana unpack how an increasingly digitalised Africa has the potential to change the life trajectory of billions of people through innovation and technological development on the continent.
We’re at a pivotal point in history... an era in which we are likely to see as much progress in the next 15 years as we have in the last 150.
The digital revolution in Africa is unfolding in front of us. We're witnessing new ways of thinking, new ways of doing things and millions of new people connecting to the internet, for the first time ever.
African technology is taking centre stage – the continent is driving a new kind of technological innovation and all it takes is a mobile phone and a connection.
So, when asked whether she thinks that Africa has the potential to become the next Silicon Valley, Rapelang Rabana believes that we are sitting on an abundance of opportunities that will change the world.
When we look at the fact that we've got a real huge size of under-served markets in everything from food to healthcare to clothing, there are much more substantial problems that we can focus our attention on. We can actually do stuff that fundamentally changes the life trajectory of millions and billions of people by how we apply technology.Rapelang Rabana, Tech Entrepreneur, Thought Leader and Founder at Rekindle Learning
Rabana's faith in Africa's potential is unwavering.
She believes that Africa has what it takes to leapfrog into a better future and that leveraging entrepreneurial skills and abilities to build better businesses despite our resource constraints proves that we're well on our way.
However, there is still a bit of hard work ahead of us and before we can start the conversion about how robotics or artificial intelligence can improve our lives, Rabana thinks that we need to shift our mindsets to appreciate that technology is at the core of the solution... and it begins with getting better connectivity, cheaper data and more affordable devices.
We certainly want to be the producers and leaders of our own Fourth Industrial Revolution, there's no doubt. It starts with the basics, we’ve got to get more internet connectivity out there at more affordable rates. So, without empowering everybody to have a mobile phone that can be online… we’re not enabling people to become participants of this digital economy.Rapelang Rabana, Tech Entrepreneur, Thought Leader and Founder at Rekindle Learning
Futurist, Graeme Codrington agrees. As far as he’s concerned, there’s no better place to be in the world than here in South Africa, exploring the intersection of the past and the future.
He believes that as a first and third world country, South Africa has an opportunity to do something that other countries don't have the capacity to do and that is to come up with the future so that when we look back at history, we can say that we were the first to get it right and everyone else copied us.
The power of nature can help solve our most pressing problems
In our lifetime, we’ve already started seeing electric motorbikes and three-wheelers whizzing around across the continent, electric fishing boats are gliding across Lake Victoria and Audi’s e-tron range of electric vehicles will be available in South Africa in the coming months.
Big data has helped us get to the moon and is probably going to help get us to Mars, soon. But it can also help us solve our most pressing problems here on Earth, especially if we take some inspiration from nature.
As a certified biomimicry professional – one of only four in Africa – Gamelihle Sibanda spends his time thinking about how we can use the genius of nature to solve human problems and he thinks that leveraging the power of biomimicry, artificial intelligence, digitalisation and big data will help address some of our time's most pressing issues.
What do we need to do to survive in this new digital world?
Creative thinker and trends analyst, Dion Chang thinks that the most important thing is for us all is to develop a learning culture.
He believes that embracing new ways of learning and thinking in this ever-changing world is what will save us as a human race, and if we are going to meet the demands of the future, we’re going to need a digital-savvy workforce, constant innovation and a relentless spirit of entrepreneurship.
While computers are going to do a lot of the heavy lifting in the future, Rabana agrees that learning and critical thinking will equip us to fare better in the world.
Education and skills for me are one of those things that Africa has to solve better than any other continent if we're really going to reap the benefits of our demographic dividend.Rapelang Rabana, Tech Entrepreneur, Thought Leader and Founder at Rekindle Learning
Tomorrow’s world is presenting itself to us, today and it is an electric and connected world powered by progress.
The future of mobility is electric
Audi is intensely proud of the many automotive moments where the Four Rings has progressed premium mobility for customers – quattro all-wheel drive, innovative LED lighting design and aluminium space frame technology, to mention just a few. This progress isn’t slowing down, it’s accelerating. Audi is committed to an electric future and with the introduction of the all-electric e-tron range in South Africa in 2022, the future of mobility is here. Digitalisation, design, performance and sustainability are key characteristics which make up Audi’s e-tron range of electric vehicles and will soon progress the driving experiences for many South Africans locally.
Visit www.audi.co.za to see why Audi's new e-tron range is the next exciting step toward a progressive future.