July 2020. Nine months to go. That is what is left for the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) to be officially implemented. But already different business opportunities seem to be appearing on the African galaxy, as the continent prepares to enter a new economic era.
One of them is cryptocurrencies, which experts believe constitute an opportunity to develop commercial ventures.
There are many business owners who see a future for themselves in the crypto space, according to Paxful, a peer-to-peer global Bitcoin marketplace.
With nearly three million users globally and Africa being its fastest-growing customer base, Paxful has a unique insight into the development of the crypto economy across the continent as the historical intra-Africa trade deadline looms.
If implemented successfully from 1 July 2020, the AfCFTA will change the face of intra-Africa trade, increasing it from a mere 15% to 25% or $50 billion to $70 billion by 2040, according to the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA). Intra-Europe trade is estimated at 70%.
“As an African-born tech entrepreneur myself, my hope is that African governments, regulators and policymakers will create the right operating environment for the continent’s young digi-entrepreneurs to succeed,” Ray Youseff, CEO and co-founder of Paxful, said.
“While African entrepreneurs continue to face many lingering challenges, we have seen first-hand on our platform how the opportunity to use technology and innovate can achieve greater financial inclusion as well as socio-economic development and job creation,” he added.
The company said it was seeing an increase in the amount of entrepreneurial activity on its platform.
Many African users prefer to trade with each other – territories like Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, and South Africa lead intra-Africa trade activity on the Paxful platform.
Users set up side-hustles and their own full-time businesses including remittance businesses. Users from Nigeria, Ghana and South Africa have been the most active to date this year with many operating drop-shipping businesses, payment services, as well as import-export ventures amongst others, the company said this week.
Beyond the big players, there are many ambitious up and coming Bitcoin savvy business owners who focus on the African market.
Social development organisations that operate in Africa like Zam Zam Water and Grow Educare Centres have also expanded their sights to include cryptocurrency in raising funds for their projects.
Zam Zam Water has built schools and pays teacher salaries for communities in need in Rwanda with money raised in the Bitcoin industry. Bitcoin funds raised by Grow Educare Centres has bought supplies – including books, stationery, and toys – for low-fee kindergartens that support disadvantaged communities.
Fourth Industrial Revolution
Blockchain technology and the role of entrepreneurship in driving Africa’s prosperity in the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), were some of the key topics discussed at this year’s World Economic Forum (WEF) on Africa which was held in Cape Town recently.
Pic by Cointelegraph