ASSL Tech Talk 1 – The power of Technology in Emerging Markets

NANA: Hello and welcome to ASSL Tech Talk,
a webinar series that discusses unique challenges in Africa and explores how they can be solved
with technology. My name is Nana Kwesi Opoku and I am the cofounder
and CEO of Africa Software Solutions Ltd. I am thrilled today because we are hosting
this event in partnership with Claris International Inc, a subsidiary of Apple that has been empowering
businesses globally with the award winning Claris Platform. We are also fortunate enough to have our special
guest client GEM Industrial Solutions Ltd, a Ghanaian based agtech company that has been
working with us to transform the agricultural landscape with drone service delivery. On behalf of all the parties involved, I'd
like to take this opportunity to thank you all for attending this event. The topic for today is “The Power of Technology
in Emerging Markets”, but before we go into the details of this topic, we would like to
go over some of the details of this webinar and give each speaker an opportunity to introduce

Starting with myself, each of us will give
a brief introduction – after which we will proceed to the agenda. For those of you who are now joining us, my
name is Nana Kwesi Opoku. I am one of the two cofounders of Africa Software
Solutions – also known as ASSL. We are a 100% African-owned and operated software
development and consulting firm that specializes in building software solutions for businesses,
organizations, and governments across Africa. Before I co-founded ASSL, I worked with several
C-level executives to implement custom internal and vertical market solutions using the Claris
Platform which eventually led me to start a US-based firm called N2O Software.Today
N2O software works with many many SMEs to implement solutions that streamline their
operations and processes and saves millions of dollars a year. Today, my partner and I have built a similar
ecosystem that is going to do the same for African organisations, with African talent
and in African countries.

Let's introduce him. DELA: Good afternoon once again, everybody. My name is Dela Attikesse I am the co-founder
and managing director of ASSL. I am the main leadership in Ghana as Nana
is currently situated in the States. Nana and I saw a huge gap in the African market
3 years ago and decided we wanted to be the difference we spoke about. That was the birth of ASSL. Now 3 years on and many hours of hardwork,
even though we have not reached our goal we are on the right path to achieve it. Thank you. GEORGE: Greeting everyone, my name is George
Madjitey. I am the CEO and founder of GEM Industrial
Solutions Ltd. As Nana spoke, we are an agtech enterprise
based in Ghana. A bit of background on myself, I am an American-born
Ghanaian native to Texas. I relocated to Ghana in 2017 after founding
GEM Industrial Solutions Ltd alongside my cofounder Aicon Andah. Prior to founding GEM, I served in the healthcare
industry and today I'll be speaking on the industry and region-specific challenges faced
in technology as well as delving into how we are working with ASSL and have requested
their services to seize on some of the opportunities we now see in the market.

I look forward to answering any questions
that may arise and thank you for joining us. MAKAFUI: Hello everyone, my name is Makafui
Ahorney. I am the marketing manager for ASSL. I also handle admin and manage client accounts. What this means is that it's my job to give
clients updates on progress of their projects and also guide them through reviews of each
stage of their project. Now that we're done with introductions, I'm
going to go over some logistics for this session. Today's webinar is a live broadcast with audio. You can listen in through your computer speakers
or dial in to the number on your screen. Throughout this session, you can ask questions
using the Q&A feature.

We will try to answer as many of these questions
as possible at the end of the session. We encourage you to register for the webinar
even if you're already present. Registrants will be eligible to receive $1000
worth of consulting services and you will also automatically receive a discount on services. Additionally, if we're not able to answer
your questions in full, we can follow up with you at the end of the webinar.

To register, visit And now, I'm going to hand over to Nana. NANA: Thank you Makafui for going over the
webinar objectives. I will now dive into some specific of our
topics.So the ultimate goal of this event is to identify some of the challenges and
opportunities in African emerging markets, and demonstrate how ASSL through its partnership
with Claris is uniquely positioned to tackle them. It is my sincere hope that each attendee leaves
this meeting with an idea of how to address their challenges with innovative technology. With that said, this Tech Talk will focus
on four key areas: I will start by discussing some of the new
Challenges for African Emerging Markets. Then, I will hand it over to my partner Dela
to the speak on the unique opportunities for African organisations. Once complete, he will invite George Madjitey
of GEM Industrial Solutions to talk about his experience with addressing region-specific
problems who will finally hand it over to our marketing manager Makafui to explain how
our partnership with Claris will benefit each and every one of you.

In order to approach this topic correctly,
we must first define what an emerging market is. The textbook definition of an emerging market
is a market that possesses some, but not all of the characteristics of developing markets. However I’d like to re-define this term
a little bit for the purposes of this webinar to be more accommodating to infant and undervalued
markets who I feel a lot of these topics will apply to. Some key indicators of these markets include
rapid economic growth, industrialization, low income per capita, and increased foreign
investment. It is not surprising why the IMF has upgraded
a lot of African countries that fit this description to the emerging market category. SO THE NEXT QUESTION IS, WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT? Understanding our market allows us to approach
challenges and opportunities in a very unique way and to tackle them in a way that really
makes sense for Africa. As many of you the African Free Trade Continental
Area agreement also known as AfCFTA has gone into effect. And while some countries have already started
benefiting from it, there are some key challenges that have surfaced as well.

One the key challenges is the lack Intra-continental
Cohesiveness where you have a couple of countries that are not quite on the same page on things
like tariffs, rules with intellectual property rights, import and export regulations and
a whole laundry list that I can go into later. Another challenge that we seem to be seeing
from this is the limited access to data where not only countries but businesses themselves
can't really access data to leverage the true value of this free trade area or share it
in a secure manner.

Meanwhile in the private sector level, these
emerging markets are showing a lot of growth in not just consumer purchasing power but
also general GDP and growth in businesses, which is leading to challenges such as increased
competition between companies and a need for companies to move from just building products
to serve the needs of customers. This means that business and organizations
that used to be able to operate without having to pay more attention to their consumers now
need to spend a good amount of resources tracking their costumers' activities in a more robust
manner. In addition to this, there is a rapid growth
of population due to urbanisation and migration into the cities as these emerging markets
continue to show up on our continent. And this has started introducing some gaps
in the supply chain in many industries including retail, oil & gas, agriculture, energy and
many more. This means that businesses now need to allocate
more resources to streamlining processes to increase productivity. Now the reason I'm going into all of these
details of the challenges is that it's only a matter if time where all of our businesses
in Africa and even governments need to put a little more focus on transforming their
businesses in a digital manner.

And ASSL, through its partnership with Claris
is in a very good position to help each and every one of you in this webinar to do that. I'd like to now pass it over to my partner
Dela to talk about some of the opportunities that African businesses can take advantage
of and leverage. DELA: Thank you very much. Many factors have earned Africa the notoriety
as the world’s largest emerging market and last frontier. I shall briefly touch on these opportunities. First is population, according to the UN World
Population Prospects 2019 by the end of the 21st Century the population of Africa will
be reaching 4 billion people. Not only will we be the largest population,
but also the youngest. Most populations have a steady or declining
projection. Asia is currently still the largest population
but its growth is projected to tail off by the middle of the century as Africa shows
a steady growth rate over the rest of the century. Population growth provides a huge opportunity;
as market size grows, so does demand for goods and services. The next factor is Urbanization. Now urbanization is the shift of the population
into urban areas. Africa’s unique history has been a major
catalyst for population migration into urban areas to look for better jobs, opportunities
and standards of living.

Currently about 43% of Africa’s population
lives in urbanized areas. According to OECD’s Africa's Urbanization
Dynamics 2020, Africa is projected to have the fastest urban growth rate in the world:
by 2050, Africa’s cities will be home to an additional 950 million people. Much of this growth is taking place in small
and medium-sized towns. Africa’s urban transition offers great opportunities
but it also poses significant challenges.

Urbanization has allowed African countries
including Ghana to advance their business sectors by diversifying their economies, from
focusing solely on primary sector raw input production to secondary sector industrial
and tertiary sector services provision. Urbanization positively impacts economic growth
with more than 80% of global GDP generated in cities, urbanization can contribute to
sustainable growth if managed well. Evidence shows urbanization has the potential
to expedite GDP if the culture for the creation of progressive institutions and investments
in public infrastructure, social programs, environmental conservation etc is established. But as seen in many developed and developing
economies, urbanization and GDP growth do not have a linear relationship. Urban planning and management are therefore
key development issues. Understanding urbanization, its drivers, dynamics
and impacts is essential for designing targeted, inclusive and forward-looking policies at
local, national and continental levels. With urbanization has come the growth of the
African middle class whose rapid growth equates to more disposable income for spending on
goods and services. The African Development Bank estimates that
by the year 2060, the population of Africa’s middle class is expected to grow by one billion
people; this growth has seen consumerism grow alongside it.

Consumer expenditure on the continent has
grown at a compound annual rate of 3.9 percent since 2010 and reached $1.4 trillion in 2015. This figure is expected to reach $2.1 trillion
by 2025 and $2.5 trillion by 2030. The next factor is Mobile phone/ Internet
penetration, this has also been very unique in Africa. Since there was very limited landline infrastructure
in Africa, the shift to mobile technology came with almost no resistance. This is one of the biggest opportunities in
Africa, it has had a ripple effect that touches every sector and industry from governance
& law, finance, transport & logistics, agriculture, health, education, energy, sports & entertainment
etc. According to GSMA in 2018, mobile technologies
and services generated $52 billion worth of economic value (8.7% of GDP) in West Africa
– a figure that will reach almost $70 billion (9.5% of GDP) by 2023 as countries increasingly
benefit from the improvements in productivity and efficiency brought about by increased
use of mobile services. The mobile ecosystem directly employs around
200,000 people in West Africa, supports 800,000 jobs in the informal employment sector, and
a further 600,000 jobs across the wider economy. According to GSMA, beyond basic remittances
and bill payment solutions, mobile technology is facilitating the rise of fintech start-ups
looking to plug the gaps in financial services in West Africa.

However, in Africa and other developing regions,
large amounts of the population are currently excluded from these services, providing a
blank canvass for fintech start-ups to create new systems and value chains from scratch. My final point is the recently signed Africa
Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCTFA). Heads of State and Government of the African
Union in January 2012, adopted a decision to establish a Continental Free Trade Area
(CFTA) by an indicative date of 2017 finally signed in 2018. They endorsed the Action Plan on Boosting
Intra-Africa Trade (BIAT) which identifies seven clusters: trade policy, trade facilitation,
productive capacity, trade related infrastructure, trade finance, trade information, and factor
market integration. The CFTA will bring together fifty-four African
countries with a combined population of more than one billion people and a combined GDP
of more than US $3.4 trillion. It will create a single continental market
for goods and services, with free movement of business persons and investments; enhance
competitiveness at the industry and enterprise level through exploiting opportunities for
scale production, continental market access and better reallocation of resources etc.

The combination of these factors has brought
the world's attention onto Africa as the next growth and investment frontier. We are at a very pivotal point in African
and World history, at no period in recorded time has the whole of the African continent
come together with a meeting of minds and intention to create a single continental market. This has shown the world and we ourselves
that Africans can put away our differences and work towards a common goal.

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