DJ Black Coffee understands how to create value through content. He is in the process of creating and testing an online music platform designed to enable local artists to sell their music, says the writer. Photo: Motshwari Mofokeng
The spirit behind 90 percent local music policy by the SABC, although mired in controversy, was a great move towards supporting local musicians. Africans lost the battle to own African mineral resources. There is therefore a need to be careful that the same does not happen with the intellectual capital in the form of music.

US rapper J-Zee understood this when he created Tidal, a subscription-based music streaming service that combines lossless audio and high-definition music videos with exclusive content and curated editorial celebrating the culture of music. Included in Tidal’s offerings are concert live streams, ticket giveaways and other experiential events such as listening parties and meet-and-greets with artists.

The service has more than 46million tracks and 192000 music videos. Tidal pays the highest percentage of royalties to music artists and songwriters within the music streaming market. The service was promoted as being the first artist-owned streaming service with the goal of returning the value proposition to music.

Big tech companies are eating the lunch of artists and Africans artists must do something to avoid losing out and just get crumbs for their work.

The Nigerians understand the need to protect their art.

In the film industry they created what is now known as Nollywood. The Nollywood concept is a great example of how to use technology to create value. Ordinary film-makers use basic technology to create content that is turned into commercial value for local consumers of content.

Local DJ Black Coffee understands the value of creating value through content. He is in the process of creating and testing an online music platform designed to enable local artists to sell their music. This platform can serve as a foundation of what needs to be done by African musicians.

There’s a need to realise that natural resources will not always be with us.

Africans need to start using technology to create and look beyond natural resources and music can lead the way.

The time is now to create an African online music platform to turn music into wealth creation for Africans. The time for musicians who die with nothing must come to an end though technology.

There is a need for partnership between African musicians and technologists to create the next big thing in African music.

It allows users to deposit, withdraw, transfer money and pay for goods and services easily with a mobile device.

The service allows users to deposit money into an account stored on their cellphones, to send balances using PIN-secured text messages to other users, including sellers of goods and services, and to redeem deposits for regular money.

The users are charged a small fee for sending and withdrawing money using the service.

M-Pesa customers can deposit and withdraw money from a network of agents that include airtime resellers and retail outlets acting as banking agents.

M-Pesa spread quickly, and by 2010 had become the most successful cellphone-based financial service in the developing world. By 2012, a stock of about 17million M-Pesa accounts had been registered in Kenya.

By last June, a total of 7 million M-Pesa accounts had been opened in Tanzania, giving millions of people access to the formal financial system and for reducing crime in an otherwise largely cash-based society.

A lot has happened since then. Now almost every coffee shop has a cashless ­payment system. We are now beginning to see a move towards a cashless society in Africa.

The greatest thing is that Africans are also playing a role in making this move possible.

We are not just importing technology from elsewhere. We are not forcing what works elsewhere and hope that it works on the African continent.

The following are just some of the industry players that are contributing towards cashless society in Africa:


Katlego Maphai (co-founder: Yoco) and Kobus Ehlers (co-founder SnapScan). Yoco is making it easier for entrepreneurs to get a payment device to accept payments without cash.

This has made a huge difference to people who are starting to have all they need to accept payment without going through the red tape in big banks.

SnapScan, now a Standard Bank product, has permeated various areas that require payments and enabled cashless payments. You can now use the SnapScan technology for paying for coffee, medical bills, parking and even payment for an item found online.

The future of cashless payments in Africa is bright if one considers what Uber is already doing in terms of enabling ­passengers to call a vehicle, get driven and walk out without any cash exchanging hands.

AmazonGo is another great example that gives us a sense of what the future holds. At the AmazonGo shop buyers can walk in, grab an item and walk out without issuing cash or using a device as a form of payment.

In future, it will be possible for an entire city to be a cashless city. A place where everything you do does not require cash payment. From municipal, shopping, transport, entertainment and education payments. All of these areas of our lives will be cashless.


Some countries are already experimenting with the cashless concept with Sweden leading in this regard.

Through M-Pesa, Africa pioneered the cashless revolution.

There is nothing stopping the continent from becoming cashless in the next 10 years.

This change will impact a number of areas. One that comes to mind is jobs and another is the true reflection of economic performance as most transactions will be captured. Jobs for cash handlers will be over and new jobs will be created.

We will have a better picture about the economic performance of each country.

The contribution of the informal economy will start reflecting where it should be reflected.

Wesley Diphoko is the founder and chief executive of Kaya Labs, a research and development platform that is dedicated to the development of technology leaders.