Liquid Telecom is currently connecting the entire African continent with fibre networks and data centers. By building these networks, the company intends to benefit both businesses and the average man in the streets. The fibre optics cable linking Cape Town to Cairo was completed last year and it became Africa’s largest fiber network. The company has also recently finished the cable linking Daresalaam-Lubumbashi-Kinshasa-Luanda Port-Moanda Port (DRC Atlantic Ocean). They are currently working on the cable linking Sudan, Nigeria and Cameroon.
About liquid telecom
Liquid Telecom was founded in 1997 by Zimbabwean tech entrepreneur, Strive Masiyiwa. Africa’s largest mobile network operators, ISPs and businesses of all sizes get their supply of fibre optic, satellite and international carrier services from the company. Moreover, it provides data storage and communication solutions to businesses as well as payment solutions to financial institutions. The company is the leading provider of independent data, voice and IP services, in east, central and southern Africa.
It is time for African governments to allow the African private sector to lead infrastructural development in the continent.
Strive Masiyiwa is proof that African entrepreneurs can fill in the infrastructure deficits facing the continent if giving the opportunity. Since independence, the continent has struggled to fill the infrastructure gaps which runs to about $200 billion yearly.
Poor transport and erratic electricity supply continue to be the major infrastructure problems haunting the continent. If African governments are truly serious about building the infrastructure of the continent, then it is time for them to make way for African entrepreneurs to handle the problem. I have consistently argued that it is the African entrepreneurs who will develop the continent (as demonstrated here and here).
African governments need to provide the right policies and enabling business environment and the African entrepreneurs will take the initiative. Entrepreneurs such as Strive Masiyiwa, Aliko Dangote and others have the ability to solve the infrastructure issues facing the continent.
African governments need to create more Masiyiwas and Dangotes
These great Africans have built multibillion-dollars African companies providing employment for thousands of Africans as well as paying billions in taxes. Hence, African governments need to create more of these men in various sectors of the economy to lift the continent out of poverty. The following steps will help in achieving this goal.
Firstly, African governments need to understand that it is African entrepreneurs who will develop the continent. Borrowing funds which will then be paid to foreign contractors to build infrastructure will not develop the continent. This is a major reason why there are maintenance problems in Africa. If the companies building the infrastructure are foreign then how will the countries maintain the infrastructure built by these foreign companies?
Secondly, all foreign companies involved in infrastructure projects in the continent must collaborate with local African companies to work on these projects. This will enable the transfer of skills and technology to the local companies.
Thirdly, they should study the policies employed by China, Korea and other Asian countries which enabled these countries to emerge from the grips of poverty. The most important policies to study are the educational policies that enabled Asian entrepreneurs to emerge and create various multibillion-dollar companies such as Toyota, Samsung, Sony, Huawei, among others. These educational policies if implemented in the African continent will also result in the emergence of multibillion-dollar African firms.
Finally, the governments must have the political will and be ready to embrace change. To change the poverty narrative of Africa requires massive changes and it is doubtful if most of these African leaders are willing to embrace these changes. Most African countries have good policies but only a tiny percentage of these are implemented effectively. Hence, Africa needs bold leaders who are willing to embrace change as demonstrated by Rwanda’s president Paul Kagame who is currently bringing massive business and technology advancement in his country.
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