Navigating 2024: How African Tech Leaders Are Confronting The Shifting Landscape

By  |  January 16, 2024

As the tech industry steps into 2024, a diverse group of African tech founders, funders, and operators across varied sectors share their perspectives on the challenges faced in the previous year and the strategies they’re employing to thrive in the current landscape.

From optimising business operations to embracing emerging technologies, the insights they shared with WT provide a glimpse into the evolving dynamics of the African tech ecosystem.

The responses have been edited for brevity and clarity.

Uka Eje, Co-Founder/CEO, ThriveAgric

Key objectives you are optimizing for in 2024?

Perception of the current state of the tech landscape and strategies for thriving? Focus on positive unit economics, explore USD revenue, and adapt to doing more with less.

Shifts in priorities due to challenges faced last year?

Emphasis on growth with an eye on positive unit economics and essential spending.

Trends or technologies you are bullish about in 2024?

Data-driven solutions, AI, and climate tech will shape agriculture. ThriveAgric aims to position itself as a leader in building sustainable food systems.

Emerging approaches or methods to address evolving dynamics?

Investing in proprietary software and infrastructure, like our Agricultural Operating System, to enhance productivity and scale.

Jeremy Johnson, Co-Founder/CEO, Andela

How do you perceive the current state of the tech landscape, and what strategies do you believe will be pivotal in thriving within this environment?

The push for talent to return to offices will stall. The workforce will blur into full-time, contingent, in-office, and out-of-country categories. Africa’s emergence as a tech talent hub is undeniable, and major enterprises are investing.

Any specific trends or technologies you are bullish about in 2024?

GenAI co-pilots, combining tech engineers with AI, will dominate. GenAI reduces software building costs, allowing engineers to focus on efficient builds and solving problems. AI engineers will drive integrated large language models and predictive analytics.

Deepankar Rustagi, CEO, OmniRetail

Given the subdued landscape of the tech industry in the previous year, what key objectives or areas are you primarily focusing on optimising for in 2024?

In 2024, we’re decentralizing further, building smaller clusters to deepen our reach in urban cities. Our focus is on evolving as an asset-light business and creating a network of networks to serve the growth of traditional trade.

How do you perceive the current state of the tech landscape, and what strategies do you believe will be pivotal in thriving within this environment?

Startups must master sustainable unit economics. Solving large problems is crucial, but it must create genuine value. Backers bullish about Africa now seek teams efficient in capital use while remaining innovative.

Amid the challenges faced last year, what shifts have you adopted in priorities for the upcoming year?

We’ve transitioned from manual data collection to predictive analysis for trend discovery. This optimizes pricing strategies, improves personalized recommendations, and enhances growth trajectory through better decision-making.

Any specific trends or technologies you are bullish about in 2024?

AI is more than a buzz; we’re doubling down on machine learning to solve intricate problems in traditional retail. Credit-worthiness algorithms for unbanked retailers are just the beginning.

Emerging approaches to address evolving dynamics and challenges?

Our evolution from B2B e-commerce to retail infrastructure involves digitizing the entire value chain, bringing visibility to optimize goods movement and profitability.

Patricia Rinke, Venture Capital Associate & Lavanya Anand, Senior Investment Manager – AfricInvest Group

Emerging approaches to address evolving dynamics and challenges in the tech industry this year?

Patricia: Diversification across geographies and industries is key to mitigate risk.

Lavanya: Debt funds are establishing local currency instruments, and equity funds must consider devaluation. 

Trends or technologies you are bullish about in 2024?

Lavanya: Fintech expansion is prominent, especially in cross-border payments and B2B neobanking. Fintech’s expansion goes beyond traditional financial services, influencing healthcare, e-commerce, and agribusiness. Thus, we expect to see more growth, as well as digitization of informal merchants, SME credit and BNPL.

Patricia: B2B software services and startups leveraging WhatsApp chatbots are also emerging. Recurring revenues and resiliency make B2B software an attractive investment.

Any shifts in priorities due to challenges faced last year?

Lavanya: Adapting to the changing investment landscape involves a focus on resilience and flexibility. We are placing a stronger emphasis on sustainable business models and supporting companies with robust risk mitigation strategies.

Eugene Tawiah, Founder/CEO, SecondSTAX

Objectives for 2024?

We are focusing on sustained revenue growth and business development, and exploring new opportunities for value creation. Our focus is on democratizing access to capital markets, enhancing user experience, and expanding our investor and issuer base.

Strategies for thriving in the current landscape?

We are emphasizing efficiency and doing more with less, transitioning into a customer-centric business model. And collaborating with regulatory bodies to ensure compliance and foster trust in our platform.

Shifts in priorities

Listening more to clients, advisors, and strategic partners, synthesizing feedback into product roadmap plans.

What are you bullish about in 2024?

We’re excited about Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) and the potential of chat and conversational interfaces for driving business opportunities.

Sylvia Brune, CEO & Malik Shaffy, Board Director – pawaPass

Key objectives you are optimising for in 2024?

Sylvia: With millions accessing the internet, focusing on scalable solutions for businesses while ensuring trust and security against fraud is crucial.

Malik: Enhancing security, trust in user verification, expanding market reach, and continuous innovation in digital verification are our priorities.

Your perception of the current state of the tech landscape and strategies for thriving?

Sylvia: Focus on highly scalable solutions or bespoke enterprise solutions for success in the evolving African tech landscape.

Malik: Renewed focus on strategic resilience, innovation, and customer-centric solutions for sustained growth.

Any shifts in priorities due to challenges faced last year?

Sylvia: For an early-stage company, the focus remains on building great solutions and listening to end-users.

Malik: Adapting priorities to enhance security, trust, and accessibility aligns with the broader tech landscape’s movement towards resilience and sustainable growth.

Emerging approaches or methods to address evolving dynamics?

Sylvia: Distribution deals with large businesses can reduce marketing costs while promoting growth.

Malik: Expanding mobile accessibility and upskilling employees is vital. Collaboration and partnerships are crucial in navigating tech complexities.

Kenfield Griffith, Co-Founder/CEO, Tappi

Key objectives to optimize for in 2024?

Focusing on SME business solutions, direct sales, market awareness, customer retention, and strategic partnerships.

Perception of the current state of the tech landscape and strategies for thriving?

Flexibility, adaptability, embracing technologies like AI, IoT, and Blockchain, while prioritizing data privacy.

Shifts in priorities due to challenges faced last year?

Incorporating customer feedback into product features, such as ‘tappi offers,’ and a commitment to listening to customers’ needs.

Trends or technologies you are bullish about in 2024?

AI’s automation capabilities and discussions about expanding advertising tech channels are exciting prospects.

Emerging approaches or methods to address evolving dynamics?

Prioritizing direct sales, enhancing visibility, and investing in upskilling employees are critical to navigating the complexities of the tech landscape.

Chetan Seth, CTO, Autochek Africa

Key objectives you are optimising for in 2024?

Automating operational workflows for efficiency, cost control through contract renegotiation, and talent upskilling.

Strategies for thriving in the current landscape?

Accelerating digitization, reducing reliance on SAS products, and adopting AI, especially. 

Emerging approaches or methods to address evolving dynamics?

Focus on sustainable practices, exploring opportunities in the circular economy, and leveraging data analytics for real-time decision-making.

Trends or technologies you are bullish about in 2024?

Continued advancements in AI and machine learning for data analytics, customer personalization, and enhancing the overall automotive experience.

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