Adri Senekal de Wet, the Editor of Business Report.
AFRICA has the youngest population of all continents and is projected to have the largest working age cohort of 1.1 billion people by 2035, exceeding China and India. Africa has a middle-class population of 300 million, this inspirational demographic is projected to increase to 500 million by 2030.

This means that Africa will have the largest spending power in the world. Africa today is where Brazil and India were two decades ago, and where China was in the early 1980s.

Africa is expected to experience similar phenomenal growth over the next decade or two, with the African economy expected to reach $3.5trillion (R49.5trillion) by 2025.

Business Report has tracked the rise of Sagarmatha Technologies over the past few months. Sagarmatha is the next emerging market technology platform growth and success story with e-commerce, syndicated news and business content, digital media and technology ventures in one African-owned and managed integrated group.

Various interviews with board and management members allowed Business Report to conduct interviews with exceptional global thinkers; the likes of US ambassador Harold Doley jnr, chairperson of the global advisory board and Jim Rogers, co-founder of the Quantum Fund.

Rogers believes it is time to invest in Africa. “The continent needs a company like Sagarmatha to advance e-commerce and the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

“Just like I knew 20 years ago that China was poised to outstrip the economies of many countries, I know that Africa is ready to embrace growth,” Rogers added.

Africa has a young, educated, tech-savvy and aspirational population.But do Africans own their own technology platforms and have the scale to compete with giants such as Facebook, Google and Amazon?

Or will Africans be dependent on companies outside of Africa that will distort this new economy? Being leaders and not followers allows Africa to fully embrace the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

The time is now for a Silicon Africa. Technology allows African companies and countries to participate fully and even to lead in certain areas.

If Africans don’t build their own technology businesses they will always be controlled by others.

The chief executive of Sagarmatha, Paul Lamontagne, recently said that “Africa cannot afford to hand over control and management of information, content and commerce to the world’s most powerful technology companies. If this happens it could change the narratives of more than one billion people.”

According to Lamontagne, Sagarmatha is - through its portfolio of investments - able to launch elements of the value chain. Sagarmatha’s stakeholders have strategically and purposefully been acquiring businesses in technology that are instrumental to the value chain.

These acquisitions were replicated to become market leaders, Lamontagne said.

Having said it, the time is now to ask real questions. We are talking about the future thinking of billions of people, so-called artificial intelligence and platforms needed to convey messages of hope. Let the media be the voice, signalling the reality.

What must we as Africans do to earn our fair share of access to the universal source of intelligence?

How can we earn our place at the Silicon table? What is the price Africans need to pay to earn our seat at the round table of the technology super powers of the digital platform?

What is the price Africans need to pay to earn their seat at the universal round table of super powers to contribute to the enlightened technology enhancements that will formulate the next revolution?

Is sagarmatha the next naspers. Naspers paid $34m for its stake worth $170billion today.


- BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE