Cape Town is fast becoming the tech hub of Africa, Viresh Harduth, Sage’s vice president, NCA (new customer acquisition for small and medium businesses) for Africa and Middle East said on Tuesday.
Harduth spoke to Business Report at the Cape Town leg of the Sage Business Sessions at the Century City Convention Centre.
“I do think that in Africa, you have where your city centre’s are and the adoption of wifi or fibre is really stepping up, wherever there is connectivity these things are moving very quickly. I think where Africa always has an advantage sometimes is that while the technology is being adopted, something new comes in and you can step-jump. In South Africa, in pockets, it is definitely there, connectivity gives everyone level playing field so when you start seeing more and more free wifi, better connectivity – that’s how we will catch up (to the rest of the world),” said Harduth.
He said in term of innovation South Africa was on par with the rest of the world.
“We are always a better disruptive country in terms of tech,”he said.
Harduth said some of the big global companies such as Google and Facebook were looking to step-jump connectivity in order to provide connectivity from drones that circulate.
“So guys are thinking this all the time. If you look at Google and Facebook, they know that the emerging market is where the new user base is coming from. They are pretty much maxed-out in the developing areas, so I do think they will step-jump. Obviously the faster we can get infrastructure, the better it will be for everyone,” he said.
Harduth said the key message the firm wanted to get across from the business session yesterday was that even though Sage was seen as a traditional provider for accounting and payment solutions, the company was inviting disruptors to come on board.
“You can’t do it all yourself, the world is moving very fast. Rather allow them (disruptors) on to a platform, and tell them, you create what you think it should be. I think that’s the future of everything… don’t restrict your customer’s choice… You no longer have to worry about the disruptor, you invite the disruptor to be part of it,” he said.
Harduth said the tech hub start-up space was seeing phenomenal growth in the country.
“I was in Bangalore (India) about three years ago, and they’ve got the most start-ups… You’ve got to create that environment for people to create. Cape Town is being quoted as being the new tech hub. Cape Town already has that positive space which people like,” he said.