Africa has had a large impact on who I am and how I live my life, particularly Southern Africa. I was born and grew up in Zimbabwe, like my father and his father before him. Thankfully I remain connected to Africa through being a Trustee of Tree Africa UK, the UK arm of Environment Africa. Environment Africa is an African run NGO, who, over the past 20 years have been championing and enabling a sustainable Africa. African solutions for African problems. Environment Africa has taught me to dissect the different ways that we, as businesses and people, can seriously approach green initiatives and sustainability.
Having built businesses in Africa has had an effect on how I view technology and it’s role in in our business lives. In the West there is a tendency to try and replicate what is out there. There is a preoccupation on talking about the various ways in which existing platforms or networks can be best “leveraged”.
Technology solutions coming out of Africa are built with purpose, against objectives and within the boundaries of their resources. It is a solutions based approach. It is also a stripped down approach where only the relevant resources and tools are used. Simple works because less can go wrong and if it does go wrong, simple is easier to fix. There is a shift in the way tools and technologies are looked at. One thing the people of Africa understand is how to make the most of their limited resources.
People most often view Africa as the recipient of aid, the poor cousin who needs technical assistance. It is important to show the world Africa is full of capable people who can, and do create systems, technology and processes that not only work for Africa, but have global significance and application.
Last but not least Africa has instilled in me the wisdom of taking a multicultural approach to everything I do. It is only through appreciating that the end users are all individuals, each with their own history, cultural references and experiences, that we can incorporate relevance and true value into all we do.