Founder & Managing Director at Litarium Capital
I understand and appreciate the sacrifice my parents made of leaving the conflict-filled Democratic Republic of the Congo some years ago in hopes to offer my siblings and I a better chance at life, and until this day, I consider that to be the greatest gift they’ve given me. As time has passed, I’ve learned over the years that problems aren’t stop-signs but guidelines instead. Running away from your challenges is the equivalent of turning your back on the opportunity of finding a solution.
Although I’m undoubtedly grateful for my Canadian citizenship, the world-class education and the quality of life amongst many other benefits of growing up in the Western world, the fact remains that it’s just not where I feel I genuinely serve a purpose. Growing up in the west has granted this young African boy the ability not only to dream but to realize those dreams if I put my mind into it. With that said, it would be a blunder on my part if I didn’t utilize that advantage to do my part in helping build an Africa I’m proud of and can call home.
Thus, let’s get straight to it. But, let’s keep in my mind that this isn’t a template for all, just my honest and most conspicuous reasons.
I find this to be accurately common with entrepreneurs; the fact that our perspective when coming across something intriguing is ALWAYS to see it for what it could be and not what it is. We’re problem solvers by nature, and we understand the benefits and see value in solving some of the world’s most significant challenges. We get goosebumps thinking about hows when put in front of a problem, the challenge of problem-solving keeps us up at night pondering on the right codes, strategies, and tactics. For this reason alone, you’ll probably similarly react to this fact; “Africa’s population is the fastest growing in the world. It is expected to increase by roughly 50% over the next 18 years, growing from 1.2 billion people today to over 1.8 billion in 2035.” Some might look at this as a burden, while I can only see it as an ample amount of opportunity.
“The opportunities that everyone cannot see are the real opportunities.”Jack Ma
2. Majority Privilege
For the longest time, I thought white privilege was a thing… I was exposed to it throughout my whole life! Don’t get me wrong here, it is a thing, but it appears to be the case only in the Western world. The fact is, Asian privilege is a thing too, in Asian countries. This statement might sound extremely foolish to some readers, but black privilege is alive and thriving, in majority black countries, which all happen to be in sub-Saharan Africa. Use it to your advantage; the possibilities are endless when you have the support of your people.
3. Wakanda Forever!
Goes without being said — just a subtle yet essential reminder… Wakanda won’t build itself.
“Most African governments aren’t sta…” blah blah. “It’s hard to do business in Africa becau..” go on, let’s hear it! We’ve heard it all before. Do yourself a favour, become antifragile. Allowing myself to be challenged by the hurdles of conducting business in this continent will only make me a better entrepreneur, there’s no other way around it. If it’s too easy, believe me when I say it’s just not worth having… Rome wasn’t built in one day, neither was it easy to complete.
I don’t condone corruption in any shape or form, but I do have this to say to entrepreneurs thinking of starting up in Africa; when raising rounds of capital, always ask for slightly more than you think you need. You’ll need the extra cash because bribery is a common practice here, let’s just say it helps cut the time in half for when in need of some services.
5. It’s Home
When it’s all said and done, it’s home. I was born here, and although my parents’ sacrifice significantly impacted my life, I don’t believe removing a child from his natural habitat should be something young African kids should experience. The challenge is simple, helping economies across Africa — to allow our people to have access to jobs, education, and the quality of life they deserve. We as Africans must innovate at a rapid rate if we hope not to be left behind. It’s time we understand that home is what we make it, and it’s our duty as entrepreneurs to play our role in helping create the Africa of tomorrow.
“Time waits for no one, and it’s certainly not going to wait for us to get this right...”